Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s announcement to step back from their royal duties reportedly came as a shock to the rest of the Royal Family.
Prince William and Kate Middleton were reportedly “blindsided” by the Sussexes’ decision and statement, a source told Us Weekly.
It was also news to Queen Elizabeth II, royal analyst Victoria Arbiter said on TODAY Thursday.
Buckingham Palace released a statement from Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, January 13, marking the first time she has directly addressed grandson Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s recent decision to step back from their duties as senior members of the royal family.
“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the monarch, 93, said in her statement.. “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 as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.” “Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives. It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK. These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”
A statement from the Queen: pic.twitter.com/OH83vneXvQ
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) January 13, 2020
She was asked by Savannah Guthrie if the queen was “blindsided” by Wednesday’s announcement, which also included the royal couple rolling out a slick new website outlining their vision for the future.
“I think she was,” Arbiter said. “When Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan got back (from Christmas in Canada), they did have a discussion with the queen, Prince Charles, Prince William, saying, ‘Look, we want to do something different here,’ but I don’t think any of this information certainly that’s been listed on their website was shared with the senior members of the royal family, and that’s where they were blindsided.
“What makes it incredibly difficult now is that all of these details have to be ironed out on the public platform.”
As previously reported, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced Wednesday that their royal duties in 2020 would look different from years prior and that they’d be splitting their time between the U.K. and North America.
Buckingham Palace, headed by Harry’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, released a statement in response to his and Markle’s announcement, saying that they were still in “early stage” discussions with the pair. “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through,” the palace statement read.