Queen Elizabeth Attends Church Ahead of Royal Family Meeting About Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
The 93-year-old monarch ordered a family summit regarding the royal couple's wish to step down from senior royal roles
Queen Elizabeth was seen attending church on Sunday, one day before the highly-anticipated royal family summit set to discuss Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wish to step down from their senior roles.
The 93-year-old monarch arrived at St. Mary Magdalene wearing a tan hat and matching wool coat, accessorized with a broach, black purse and black gloves.
Her outing comes as the royal family prepares to meet at her country home of Sandringham, Norfolk, on Monday. The Queen has ordered Harry, his brother Prince William and their father Prince Charles to come together in a high-level meeting to “talk things through,” a source told PEOPLE.
The Prince of Wales will be traveling back from Oman to attend the summit. He arrived at the Middle Eastern country on Sunday morning to attend the “first of three days of official condolences” following the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.
The source recently told PEOPLE it is likely the Duchess of Sussex will participate in the discussion on Monday via phone, as she recently returned to Vancouver Island, Canada, where she and Harry spent the holidays together with their son Archie.
The unprecedented family summit follows a series of emergency discussions across the last few days and raises the prospect that a solution is in sight that will work for the Sussexes and the royal family.
“There is a range of possibilities for the family to review which take into account the thinking the Sussexes outlined earlier in the week,” the source said.
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“As we have said previously, making a change to the working life and role of the monarchy for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex requires complex and thoughtful discussions. Next steps will be agreed at the meeting,” the source shared. “The request for this to be resolved ‘at pace’ is still Her Majesty’s wish. The aim remains days not weeks. There is genuine agreement and understanding that any decision will take time to be implemented.”
Their meeting will be the first time they’ve all been together since Remembrance Day weekend in November.
The previous discussions that have been taking place between the households of the Queen, Charles, William and Harry and Meghan have also involved the U.K. and Canadian governments. The source did not reveal the timing of Monday’s meeting or whether it was in order to conclude the talks and come to a final agreement.
“There is a range of possibilities for the family to review,” the source reiterated.
Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, shocked the world with their decision to “step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family” on Wednesday. They 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,” they said. ”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.”
The Duke of Sussex‘s close friend JJ Chalmers has said the royal made the decision in order to “protect his family.”
“He’s less the captain in the army I knew, and he’s more a father,” JJ Chalmers, who met Harry while they were both serving in the military, said during an appearance on the UK show The One Show on Friday.
“And I think the decision that he has made, at the forefront of that is to protect his family, because that’s the number one rule is to be a father and to be a husband,” Chalmers added, noting that tensions with the media also played a role.