A picture of Prince George played a pivotal role in signalling to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle the future of the Royal Family was safe without them, author Andrew Morton claimed. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had hoped they would be able to get the late Queen to agree to a half-in, half-out system wherein they could work on her behalf when called upon. But Mr Morton suggested a Christmas photo set released weeks before their departure was announced in 2020 served as the “unspoken” death knell for the Sussexes. It featured Her Late Majesty and her heirs, then-Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George.
Mr Morton said: “The royal couple suspected that the entire institution was conspiring against them. As they saw it, the evidence was all around them.
“The unspoken code was straightforward: the future of the monarchy was assured, with or without Meghan and Harry.”
The author said in his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess the Duke of Sussex’s concerns about being pushed out were further exacerbated when he was refused a meeting with his grandmother
He continued: “This sense that, despite their international popularity, they were low down the royal totem pole was confirmed when Harry arranged to meet the Queen for a grandson-to-grandmother chat in early January.
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“At the last minute, the meeting was postponed. Harry suspected classic internal politics, his family was concerned that anything the Queen agreed during informal conversations would be used by Harry as a negotiating tactic.”
Royal author Valentine Low reported several sources suggested the Duke of Sussex was “fixated” on having “a shelf life” within the Royal Family.
Quoted in his book Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind The Crown, an unnamed insider said of Harry: “He had this thing that he had a shelf life.
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Royal expert Eric Schiffer said: “Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s importance in the Royal Family as they grow up will clobber the UK fame of Harry and Meghan, and they have a high probability of doing the same outside Great Britain.”
Mr Schiffer noted the Queen’s funeral in September marked a further change for Prince Harry, as remaining working members of the Royal Family had their status elevated whilst his was “further reduced”.
Mr Schiffer added: “The funeral was a difficult day for Harry. He faced a grisly moment. The death of someone he cares about is always difficult but [he is now] also facing a new order of power and of the crown
“He has now been further reduced in terms of his influence.”