Queen Elizabeth II's 2019 Christmas message broadcast is said to have left Prince Harry and Meghan Markle "furious." Although the pair spent the holiday with Doria Ragland in California, a key detail missing from the late monarch's desk is credited as being one of many tipping points that led the couple to "step back" from the monarchy two weeks later.
The Queen recorded her speech from a desk at Buckingham Palace, which characteristically included framed photographs of her family members, both present and departed. Among the images of Prince William, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and their children, Harry and Meghan's newborn son, Archie, was nowhere to be seen.
"One didn't have to look further than the family photos displayed during the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day. In the Green Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, where the Queen delivered her address, viewers glimpsed photos of the [Waleses] and their children, Charles and Camilla, Prince Philip, and a black-and-white image of George VI. Noticeably absent was a photo of Harry, Meghan, and their new baby, Archie," Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote in their 2020 Sussex "lovefest" bestseller, Finding Freedom.
The scribes went on to reveal that Elizabeth II's courtiers tried to play with this alleged snub as a means to focus on the "direct line of succession."
Numerous royal analysts have poked holes in this theory since the then-Prince Charles was the Queen's direct heir, and only Princes William and George could also be classified in such a way since no future birth will ever replace them. This does not explain Charlotte and Louis' images on the monarch's desk as well, and both are not "direct heirs."
The authors claimed that this was "yet another sign that [Harry and Meghan] needed to consider their own path."
On January 8, 2020, "Megxit" was officially launched when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a statement stressing their need to appear less as "working royals." Harry has since claimed that it was always his and Meghan's wish to remain "part-time" senior royals to represent the late Queen in the Commonwealth.
In a recent statement to London's High Court, the Duke of Sussex stated: "It was with great sadness for the both of us that my wife and I felt forced to step back from this role and leave the country in 2020. "The U.K. is my home. The U.K. is central to the heritage of my children and a place [where] I want them to feel at home as much as where they live at the moment in the United States. That cannot happen if it is not possible to keep them safe when they are on U.K. soil. I cannot put my wife in danger like that, and, given my experiences in life, I am reluctant to unnecessarily put myself in harm’s way too."