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Queen Elizabeth: Her Majesty’s heartbreaking response to Harry and Meghan leaving the royal family

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Queen Elizabeth was “very hurt” by Harry and Meghan’s decision to step down as working royals, according to a new book.

In The New Royals by Katie Nicholl, out now, she claims Her Majesty “confided to a close friend that she was exhausted by the turmoil of it all.”

Nicholl writes a close friend of the Queen told her at the time: “She was very hurt and told me, ‘I don’t know, I don’t care, I don’t want to think about it anymore.”

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Nicholl claims the Queen was left ‘exhausted’ by Harry and Meghan’s exit from the monarchy. (Getty)

The Queen’s cousin Lady Elizabeth Anson told Nicholl the Queen never “truly understood Harry’s decision to leave” as “turning one’s back on duty is completely alien to the Queen and she’s been very hurt by it all.”

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Katie Nicholl book The New Royals out now
Katie Nicholl’s new book is out now. (Hachette)

Nicholl writes the Queen didn’t want Harry and Meghan to leave and the so-called Sandringham Summit between Her Majesty, King Charles, Prince William and Harry, called by the Queen, was meant to ease tensions.

Her attempt to garner peace was unsuccessful and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex left the UK and began new lives in the US, operating as private entities separate from the royal family.

Queen Elizabeth Harry Meghan new book
Nicholl writes the Queen didn’t want Harry and Meghan to leave. (Getty)

She did, however, compel the couple to make a definitive choice, they were either in or they were out,” the book explains. When the couple made it clear they preferred out, she “forbade them from leveraging their royal status in their commercial lives” causing the couple to cease using the brand Sussex Royal and launch their own enterprise, Archewell.

The Queen’s statement on the matter, released on January 13, 2020, was described as “loving and conciliatory.”

Members of the royal family attend the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony in London, Saturday, June 9, 2018.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Harry and Meghan resigned in January 2020 and are now based in the US. (AP)

It read: “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life… while remaining a valued part of my family.”

Charles Anson, who served Her Majesty from 1990 until 1997 as one of the Queen’s official representatives in East Sussex, told Nicholl the Queen “has high standards but is also tolerant by nature.”

“The Queen has a strong sense of family and values her family, but she can be firm when necessary,” he added.

Historian Hugo Vickers told Nicholl: “It was Harry and Meghan’s decision to leave and it was deeply disappointing for the queen but I think she handled the situation well. As always she took the long view. She couldn’t have been fairer.

queen elizabeth funeral prince george blue suit
‘It was Harry and Meghan’s decision to leave and it was deeply disappointing for the queen.’ (Getty)

“In the UK the general feeling was that the Sussexes had behaved very badly but the Queen came out of the whole thing very well.”

Although her distance from her great-grandchildren was exacerbated by the pandemic which restricted travel and prevented Prince Harry from returning to the UK, although it is unclear if he would have chosen to do that amidst his family turmoil.

The Duke of Sussex did return to the UK to attend his grandfather, Prince Philip’s, funeral and to unveil a commemorative statue of his mother alongside his brother Prince William, both in 2021.

Queen Elizabeth II's death: How the line of succession for the British royal family has changed.
Prince Harry is 6th in line to the British throne following his grandmother’s death. (9Honey/Tara Blancato)

When Queen Elizabeth died on September 8, Harry and Meghan were already in the UK for a number of engagements including the Wellchild Awards, however cancelled their attendance when Her Majesty passed away.

They joined the royal family to mourn her loss and are believed to have returned to the US, reuniting with their children Archie, three, and Lilibet, one, from whom they have been separated for three weeks.

It is hoped the Queen’s death and the time spent with family will go some way to easing the tension between the couple and the royals.

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