While there were talks of the couple’s desire to embark on a different path, Wednesday's statement came without prior warning to the Queen

By Stephanie Petit
January 09, 2020 05:07 PM
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s bombshell announcement that they intend to “step back as senior members of the Royal Family” was released despite warnings from Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles to hold off, according to a new report in the Evening Standard.

While there had been “early” talks of the couple’s desire to embark on a different path amongst the royal family, Wednesday’s statement — released on Meghan and Harry’s Instagram page and newly launched website — came without prior notice.

Prince Harry approached his father about spending more time in North America ahead of Christmas, which was met with the need to come up with a thorough plan,” reports the Evening Standard. The 35-year-old royal drafted a proposal for Prince Charles in early January, however, he was told that they needed time to figure out details such as funding.

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Prince Harry then asked to meet with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth upon his return from Canada, according to the outlet. While she agreed to meet, she explained that plans for his role should be handled by Prince Charles. The meeting between the Queen and Harry was blocked by courtiers, but the 93-year-old monarch maintained that Prince Harry and Meghan should not make any announcement regarding their future plans.

Prince Charles and Prince William were reportedly given a copy of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s statement “10 minutes” before it was released to the public.

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Just hours after Harry and Meghan shared their plan, Queen Elizabeth reacted by saying the conversation is still in “early” stages.

There is a lot of hurt about this,” one royal source tells PEOPLE.

Prince Harry, Prince Charles, Camilla and Meghan Markle
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The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William have united to tell their offices to work “at pace” to find a solution to Meghan and Harry’s desire to step away from frontline royal work. They have asked their teams to work with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s office and governments on both sides of the Atlantic on the issue.

“The Queen, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke of Cambridge have directed their teams to work at pace with governments and the Sussexes’s office to find workable solutions and this is expected to take days, not weeks,” a royal source tells PEOPLE.

It’s clear that the monarch wants to reach a conclusion quickly.

“This has moved from shock and a range of emotions to something more constructive,” the source adds. “It is complicated. This is happening very quickly. And the proof in that is the fact that this will take days and not weeks.”

On Wednesday, Harry and Meghan revealed their plans to “carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” they wrote in a statement on Instagram.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment,” they wrote.

“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”