Buckingham Palace may have been caught “off guard” by the recent announcements of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as independent royalty.
On February 15, CBS announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in a special titled “Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special.” The interview will air on Sunday, March 7. It will also be the couple’s first meeting since their engagement.
Then, on February 19, Buckingham Palace confirmed that they will not return to their royal duties and Harry will renounce his honorary military titles. Soon after, a spokesperson for the couple responded to suggestions that they were not on duty by releasing their own statement.
“As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the United Kingdom and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of their role. official”. the spokesperson said in a statement. “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
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Royal author and Vanity Fair correspondent Katie Nicholl recently appeared on True Royalty TV’s “The Royal Beat” and described how the palace did not expect the couple to reject their statement or announce a televised reunion.
During his appearance, Nicholl noted that it was originally reported that Buckingham Palace was supposed to make a decision on the royal status of Markle and Harry on March 31. However, his decision came much earlier than expected.
“You know, the moment was interesting,” he explained. “It came right after Oprah’s ad. I think the palace was caught off guard by … Oprah’s ad. It was clear the Sussexes were working like a machine in their own right. They weren’t working with the palace. They had their own. team and had made a decision. “
“They didn’t need until March 31 to make that announcement,” Nicholl continued. “Based on my understanding from the sources I’ve spoken to, the palace said to me, ‘Well, why not make the announcement earlier? We tied up these loose ends. Let’s put an end to all this speculation if this was their decision and they had succeeded. “.
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Nicholl claimed that the palace already knew that Markle and Harry were expecting their second child. That announcement was made to the public on Valentine’s Day, the day before the interview was revealed. However, she alleged that the palace had no idea of the upcoming meeting with Winfrey, 67.
He also claimed that the Sussexes were forced to respond after the palace issued its statement to debunk any misconceptions that they did not want to live a life of service.
“I think the point that really stuck for the Sussexes was that suggestion, that they weren’t going to be able to continue with public service,” he explained. “Now when they moved to America and established this foundation and vowed to dedicate their new lives to philanthropy, although on their terms, that’s what got them. And that infuriated them. And that’s why that statement got deliberately sent without that preface… And I don’t know about you, but that statement reads as if it came directly from the couple. “
When Harry and Markle walked away from real life full time in March 2020, unhappy with media scrutiny and restrictions on their roles, it was agreed that the situation would be reviewed after a year.
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Now yes, and the palace said in a statement that the couple has verified that “they will not return as active members of the Royal Family.”
He said Queen Elizabeth II had spoken to Harry, 36, and confirmed: “that by moving away from Royal Family work, it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.” “
The palace said Harry’s appointment as captain general of the Royal Marines and titles with other military groups would go back to the queen before being distributed to other family members.
Harry served in the British Army for a decade, including on the front lines in Afghanistan, and maintains a close relationship with the Army. He founded the Invictus Games competition for wounded troops, which was first held in 2014 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
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The Invictus Games Foundation said that Harry would remain its sponsor. But he is resigning his positions as a sponsor of the Rugby Football Union, the Rugby Football League and the London Marathon Charitable Trust.
Meghan, 39, will be stripped of her role as patron of the National Theater of Great Britain and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
“Although everyone is saddened by his decision, the Duke and Duchess remain very dear members of the family,” the palace statement said.
Markle, a former star of the television legal drama “Suits,” married the queen’s grandson, Harry, at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born a year later.
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In early 2020, Markle and Harry announced that they would be leaving their royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes by British media towards the Duchess, who identifies as biracial.
The couple agreed to no longer use the title of “royal highness” or receive public funding for their work, although it was unclear at the time whether those decisions would stand.
They retain their titles of Duke and Duchess, and Harry remains sixth in line to the British throne. Harry and Meghan now live in Santa Barbara, California.
‘The Royal Beat’ is currently available to stream on True Royalty TV. Associated Press contributed to this report.