Queen Elizabeth tried to put on a brave face when her grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan Markle, announced they would be stepping down from the royal family in 2020, but deep down, she was less than thrilled with the decision.
“Elizabeth was hurt and disappointed,” royal expert Matthew Dennison wrote in his new book, The Queen, once the couple shared the news.
“Elizabeth’s official statement expressed loving finality: ‘It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.’ It was an attempt to reassert control in the interests of damage limitation, and a decisive but dark beginning to a new decade,” the author shared. “Elizabeth had never been a sentimental woman; she had acted in the only way she understood.”
He continued, “As throughout a life in which she had consistently honoured her father’s belief that ‘the highest of distinctions is the service of others’, she had placed the monarchy first, safeguarding its mission of service and duty that could never, she was certain, be a part-time calling.”
Once Harry, 36, and Meghan, 40, made up their minds, the 95-year-old monarch decided they could no longer use their titles.
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of The Royal Family. Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service," a statement said at the time.
The message continued, "The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family. While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much-loved members of the family."
Despite Harry giving damaging interviews about the royal family, it seems like the Queen will always have a soft spot for him.
"My view is that Harry's family in London are very worried about his mental health and think slamming the royal door in his face could have devastating consequences," expert Angela Levin shared.