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Inside the Megxit summit: Harry talked to the Queen alone before crunch Sandringham talks, Meghan's conference call was BARRED over eavesdropping fears - and Charles made clear his son won't have 'unlimited resources'

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 13/01/2020 Richard Kay Editor At Large and Rebecca English Royal Correspondent For The Daily Mail and Jack Elsom and Danyal Hussain For Mailonline
Prince Harry and Meghan during their visit to Canada House last week. © Getty Prince Harry and Meghan during their visit to Canada House last week.

The Queen allowed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to quit as senior Royals following a private heart-to-heart with her grandson at yesterday's crisis summit, it was revealed last night.

After a Family meeting at Sandringham, Her Majesty released a historic and emotionally-charged statement regretting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's decision to split their time between Canada and the UK as they wind down their Royal duties.

According to Daily Mail editor-at-large Richard Kay's inside account of the Norfolk showdown:

a car covered in snow: Prince Harry (pictured leaving yesterday), Prince William and Prince Charles left Sandringham in separate cars after more than two hours of crunch talks with the Queen © Provided by Daily Mail Prince Harry (pictured leaving yesterday), Prince William and Prince Charles left Sandringham in separate cars after more than two hours of crunch talks with the Queen According to friends, Harry arrived ahead of schedule to square things with his grandmother, who came into the crunch talks deeply disappointed with him and Meghan for wanting to step back from their official duties.

In last night's statement, her sincere regret was made clear, saying she 'would have preferred them to remain full-time working members'.

But after her one-to-one with Harry - followed by two hours of 'calm' discussions with him, Charles and William - Her Majesty agreed to a 'transition period' where the Duke and Duchess would step away from Royal engagements as they spend more time in Canada.

a person driving a car: The Duke of Sussex faced the Queen, his brother and his father (pictured leaving last night) for the first time since quitting as a senior royal with Meghan 'dialling in' to support her husband from Canada © Provided by Daily Mail The Duke of Sussex faced the Queen, his brother and his father (pictured leaving last night) for the first time since quitting as a senior royal with Meghan 'dialling in' to support her husband from Canada After Princes Charles, William and Harry left the meeting in three separate cars, the Daily Mail's editor-at-large Richard Kay revealed Meghan was barred from dialling in on the meeting from Vancouver.

Palace officials said such an idea was rejected because no one knew for sure who else might have been listening in.

An insider said: 'This was a highly confidential family discussion, not a conference call.'  

The Queen has said that hammering out a viable blueprint for Harry and Meghan's financially independent future was proving 'complex' and indicated more details need to be ironed out in the coming days.

Prince William pictured leaving Sandringham after yesterday's crunch talks with Harry, Prince Charles and the Queen © Provided by Daily Mail Prince William pictured leaving Sandringham after yesterday's crunch talks with Harry, Prince Charles and the Queen And sources revealed that Prince Charles also views the matter far from concluded as he knows Harry will rely on his Duchy of Cornwall to meet family bills. 

He has already lavished a small fortune on his younger son, from his wedding to the fitting out Frogmore cottage – the Windsor house he is now largely going to vacate when he uproots to North America.

A friend says: 'He doesn't have unlimited resources. Harry needs to know that.'  

a screenshot of a cell phone: The Queen's statement in full Monday evening after a day of showdown talks to decide the futures of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle © Provided by Daily Mail The Queen's statement in full Monday evening after a day of showdown talks to decide the futures of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

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What does the Queen's statement reveal? 

Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family. 

The fact that the Queen issued the statement in her name and makes reference to 'my family' and 'my grandson and his family' is both deliberate and significant. 

The monarch has been deeply hurt by the events of the past week – but has also been taken aback by the backlash against Harry after he issued his statement without letting her know first. The Queen wants the world to know she's not just boss of 'The Firm' but also a grandmother. 

My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family.  

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by Daily Mail The Queen, as well as other senior members of the Royal Family, make clear their hurt at recent events. There's also bewilderment that Harry, in particular, feels that he has been frozen out of plans for a future slimmed-down monarchy.

At the time of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, when the Queen, Charles and his two sons stood on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, sources say it was made crystal clear to Harry that he was a 'key component' of any future royal line-up.

Royal Family members believe Harry brings a welcome joie de vivre, and without him and Meghan senior royals will be lacking.

The Queen does, however, understand his desire to break away and his refusal to bow to convention. 

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.

The Queen is deeply disappointed with Harry and Meghan shirking their Royal duties. 

Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives. 

The lack of detail on this speaks volumes: there is much to be sorted here.

Harry and Meghan are predicted to make millions as a global 'brand'.

Gallery: Royals who gave up their titles (Lovemoney)

But it will not be cheap to maintain a transatlantic lifestyle for their family with at least two homes. The statement does not address whether Charles will continue to fund his son to the tune of £2million a year. It also avoids the issue of taxpayer-funded security and consular help.

The royals fear any sense of 'cashing in' could devalue their own brand.

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.

The royal stop-gap. In moving their son, their dogs and their household over to Canada, Harry and Meghan have already signalled to the Queen that, for the immediate future at least, there is no intention of coming back.

In this the Queen has had very little choice. She can't order them to return, so she might as well capitulate in order to keep the peace while trying to formalise the new arrangements. 

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.

This is an unprecedented crisis for the Family which is far from over. The Queen is desperate for the storm to pass and has asked her courtiers to double down on efforts to reach a solution. 

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The Queen has ordered staff to find a solution 'within days' to the remaining sticking points, including the couple's future funding, which is expected to impose rigid rules on their commercial activities. 

One figure said: 'There will be strict instructions on branding, for example. No one wants to see the Sussexes' name on a tub of margarine.'

Gallery: Stars react to Harry and Meghan’s decision to ‘step back’ (US Weekly)

This was a deliberate nod to what happened in the aftermath of Diana's death when her memorial fund began endorsing cash-raising schemes that appalled the public. 

Yesterday's unprecedented Royal parley culminated with a 5pm statement from the Palace, in which the Queen gave Harry and Meghan the green light to press ahead with plans to become 'financially independent'. 

The monarch said: 'Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.

'My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family. 

Prince William is seen driving his Land Rover through the back gate of Sandringham to return to his Amer House after the Royal summit yesterday © Provided by Daily Mail Prince William is seen driving his Land Rover through the back gate of Sandringham to return to his Amer House after the Royal summit yesterday '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.'  

The Queen, who is desperate to chart a way out of the crisis raging through the Family ranks, has ordered courtiers to double down efforts to develops blueprint for the Sussexes future, to be completed within days.  

In the statement, the head of state broke with protocol to refer to the couple by their first names rather than the 'Duke and Duchesss of Sussex'.

a car parked in a parking lot: Charles drives his silver Audi A6, believed to be heading to RAF Marham where a helicopter was waiting for him © Provided by Daily Mail Charles drives his silver Audi A6, believed to be heading to RAF Marham where a helicopter was waiting for him Some experts have decoded this to mean Harry and Meghan could be stripped of their titles, while others have played it down as the grandmother, 93, simply striking a soft tone. 

Royal commentator Victoria Arbiter said the move was likely to be telling, tweeting : 'I do think it was very striking, particularly in a statement from the Queen. Are they having to give up their titles? This would be an indication they are...'

Reacting to the statement, Queen Elizabeth biographer and royal historian Robert Lacey said the language was an immensely personal intervention uncharacteristic of typical Palace communiqués.

He told BBC Radio 4: 'It is remarkably hands-on. I mean it may have been processed through officials but this is the Queen, speaking to her people and speaking about her family, and I think coming right through it is the concern she feels.' 

Speaking to the Times, royal author Ingrid Seward said: 'The first round has gone to the Sussexes. It feels that the royal family are bending over backwards to try and help.' 

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry standing next to a person in a suit and tie: Prince Harry was warned there are formidable obstacles to overcome before he can stand down as a senior royal (Prince pictured with Meghan Markle at Canada House in London on Tuesday, the last time they were pictured in public) © Provided by Daily Mail Prince Harry was warned there are formidable obstacles to overcome before he can stand down as a senior royal (Prince pictured with Meghan Markle at Canada House in London on Tuesday, the last time they were pictured in public) Yesterday's unprecedented meeting represented the first time that Harry, 35, had met with his closest relatives since early November, with the prince and his wife having taken a six-week break in Canada over the Christmas period. Although they arrived back only last week, Meghan, 38, has already returned to the country. 

Aides have now been set to work to try to come up with a workable solution to the crisis preferably by Friday.

This includes enabling the couple to find a way to become 'financially independent' and not rely on taxpayer funds in the future, as well as acceding to their wish to live partly in Canada for the foreseeable future.

Other issues left on the table for further discussion are the cost and provision of the couple's security, particularly while they are spending large swathes of time out of the country.

There is also the matter of Frogmore Cottage, the couple's Windsor home lent to them by the Queen, and refurbished with £2.4million of public money. The couple have insisted that they want to keep the property as a base in the UK.

It is clear that despite the Queen's emphasis on the meeting being 'constructive and supportive', the schism between Harry and his family runs deep.  

Elizabeth II wearing a black hat: The Queen (pictured attending church at Sandringham on Sunday), made clear her deep disappointment at Harry and Meghan's decision to quit in a statement released yesterday © Provided by Daily Mail The Queen (pictured attending church at Sandringham on Sunday), made clear her deep disappointment at Harry and Meghan's decision to quit in a statement released yesterday

The statement failed to hide the sadness of the elderly monarch who has made no secret of the hurt her grandson has caused her in wanting to break away from the institution and choosing to tell the world of his intentions last Wednesday without informing her first.

Harry is expected to leave the country to rejoin his family by the end of the week, after conducting what will likely be an awkward engagement at Buckingham Palace on Thursday in front of the media.

Yesterday's 'Sandringham summit' saw Harry arrive at 11.20am, with his grandmother and father already waiting for him.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge posing for the camera: Kate looked serious as she left Kensington Palace this morning as her husband comes face to face with his want-away brother yesterday. © Provided by Daily Mail Kate looked serious as she left Kensington Palace this morning as her husband comes face to face with his want-away brother yesterday. At his side was his newly-appointed private secretary, Fiona Mcilwham. His frail grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, was earlier seen driving out of the estate and it is not known if the pair, once so close, even met.

Intriguingly, his brother William, whose relationship with his brother has become so toxic that many insiders describe it as 'irreparable', did not pull through the gates of the Queen's Norfolk estate until 1.45pm, just 15 minutes before the start of the summit. 

a person sitting in a car: The Duchess was far more casually dressed as she left on the school run this afternoon © Provided by Daily Mail The Duchess was far more casually dressed as she left on the school run this afternoon It is understood that Meghan, who flew back to Canada just 24 hours after the couple's bombshell statement last week announcing they were to stand down as senior royals, was planning to dial in on speaker phone. She is staying at the couple's borrowed mansion on Vancouver Island with their eight-month-old son Archie.

Some in royal circles suggested last night that Harry and Meghan had left the Queen little option but to capitulate to most of their demands to prevent a 'royal war'.

The statement's talk of a 'transition period' for the couple between the UK and Canada was said by one aide to be simply a chance for the family to gain breathing space while 'this mess of Harry and Meghan's own making is sorted out'.

a truck driving down a dirt road: Yesterday a Range Rover believed to be carrying Prince Harry entered Sandringham via an back entrance as the royal summit over his and Meghan's future began this afternoon © Provided by Daily Mail Yesterday a Range Rover believed to be carrying Prince Harry entered Sandringham via an back entrance as the royal summit over his and Meghan's future began this afternoon

The acknowledgement that they will hand over their public funding in order to become 'financially independent' appears to give them the licence to strike commercial deals as part of their 'Sussex Royal' brand, which some experts predict could be worth at least £400million.

But senior royals are said to be aghast at this idea of monetising the monarchy and want an assurance from Harry and US-born Meghan that they will treat their positions with respect.

The Queen's decision to refer in her statement to the couple by their first names, an unusually intimate reference, particularly for the monarch, has also sparked speculation that the couple are set to lose their titles.

a car parked on the side of a road: A grim-faced Prince Philip leaves Sandringham yesterday with a female companion driving where his wife the Queen, who has been using him as a sounding board, will try to avert crisis and keep Prince Harry in the royal family © Provided by Daily Mail A grim-faced Prince Philip leaves Sandringham yesterday with a female companion driving where his wife the Queen, who has been using him as a sounding board, will try to avert crisis and keep Prince Harry in the royal family Aides say that this is unlikely as the family is acutely aware of the public backlash when Harry's mother Diana, Princess of Wales, was stripped of her own HRH. 

Asked if they could remember a time that the Queen has ever issued such an official personal statement about a member of her family, aides both past and present were at a loss to remember one.

The Queen has referred with warmth and affection to her husband, Philip, and the Prince of Wales in speeches and other tributes, and addressed other issues such as her famous 'annus horribilis' in the Christmas speech.

a group of people playing instruments and performing on a stage: Since making their bombshell announcement on Wednesday to quit, Harry and Meghan have grabbed headlines all across the world, with reporters camped outside Sandringham yesterday © Provided by Daily Mail Since making their bombshell announcement on Wednesday to quit, Harry and Meghan have grabbed headlines all across the world, with reporters camped outside Sandringham yesterday Other statements about family affairs have been issued by Buckingham Palace on her behalf, but always by a spokesman.

Royal insiders have told the Mail it is clear that she fears for the future of the institution.

Although she and Charles are agreed on the importance of a slimmed-down monarchy in the future, Harry and his family were always considered an important part of the line-up. 

A timeline of Harry and Meghan's romance (Photos)

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