Harry and Meghan’s ‘horribly disrespectful’ post-Brexit parting shot decreeing ‘service is universal’ was taken out of context, a close friend of the Duke has claimed.
Buckingham Palace announced in a dramatic statement yesterday that Harry and Meghan could not continue with ‘the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service’ as non-working members of the royal family.
Minutes later, the apparently furious Sussexes issued a stinging rebuke to the Queen, insisting they would still ‘live a life of service’ outside the royal fold. They added: ‘Service is universal.’
Many officials are said to feel the ‘barbed’ statement was ‘horribly disrespectful’ to the Queen – whose husband Philip is in hospital.
But Dean Stott, who has been friends with Harry for 12 years since they served in the army together, said the line should be ‘taken in context’ of the couple’s charity work – which they will be able to do more of post-Megxit.
He also said bringing clarity to their post-Megxit roles could help heal the rift between the Sussexes and the ‘suits’, palace officials who disliked their breaks from royal family tradition.
Harry and Meghan’s ‘horribly disrespectful’ post-Brexit parting shot decreeing ‘service is universal’ was taken out of context, the Duke’s close friend Dean Stott (pictured together) said
Buckingham Palace announced in a dramatic statement yesterday that Harry and Meghan could not continue with ‘the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service’ as non-working members of the royal family
Pictured: The statement from Buckingham Palace that The Sussexes had been stripped of their remaining roles
Minutes later, the apparently furious Sussexes issued a stinging rebuke to the Queen, insisting they would still ‘live a life of service’ outside the royal fold. They added: ‘Service is universal.’
Mr Stott, who is originally from Aberdeen but now lives in California where he sees the couple, was asked on Radio 4’s Today Programme whether their statement was a push back at the palace.
He said Harry and Meghan no longer being working royals allows them to pursue their ‘love for philanthropy’ without the ‘protocol and red tape’ that comes with the Firm.
Therefore, their statement that ‘service is universal’ reflects their commitment to continuing working with charities, and should be ‘taken in context’ of that – rather than as a dig at the palace.
He added: ‘There’s various ways to do service.
‘Obviously that’s been the protocol and what we’ve known up until now. But they’re very much a modern couple and like to do things differently.
‘So they see that they can still do a service but in their own way.’
Mr Stott said there are ‘a lot of positives’ that come with the couple stepping back, one of which being they’ve found a ‘middle ground’ with palace officials the pair have clashed with in the past.
He said: ‘It keeps one end of the party happy and Harry and Meghan in the position that they can still be in that public limelight but obviously always giving back.
‘What the couple is extremely passionate about is philanthropy.
‘We’ve seen it in some of the work that they’ve done already. And I’m very excited about what their Archewell foundation is going to be getting involved with.’
Prince Harry, (left) speaks with England rugby player James Haskell during a visit to an England Rugby Squad training session at Twickenham Stadium on February 17, 2017
Harry and Meghan were cast out as working royals last night, with Buckingham Palace announcing they had been stripped of their remaining roles following their move to California
Also interviewed this morning was royal biographer Robert Lacey who called Harry and Meghan stepping down as working family members ‘a great positive step forward’.
He also said it was the ‘beginning of us seeing William and Harry getting back together again’.
When asked about the ‘rift’ between Sussexes and palace officials, Mr Lacey said: ‘Well Diana used to talk about the suits didn’t she?
‘It’s certainly true that great animosity developed between the suits and Meghan in the brief time that she spent in the Palace.
‘She brought in her American advisers, they didn’t like it.
‘The private secretaries concerned have made no secret off the record of their unhappiness about Meghan.
‘But lets not dwell on the negatives. This is a great positive step forward.
‘Prince Charles has always been a great believer in Meghan. I think now this is the beginning of us seeing William and Harry getting back together again.’
He said he would ‘like to think’ the couple will return for public – but not royal – service in the UK at some point.
Buckingham Palace’s statement yesterday also revealed the couple had been stripped of their remaining roles following their move to California.
Their patronages will be returned to the Queen before being re-distributed among remaining working royals – including Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Anne.
But concerns have been raised about who will take on Prince Harry’s Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League patronages, with former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter saying ‘there aren’t many options in terms of the royals’.
Prince William is already the patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, while Princess Anne holds the same role for the Scottish organisation. Prince Andrew is a non-starter due to his links to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Mr Arbiter told The Times: ‘There’s not a lot to choose from. You might well hold fire, and stay in abeyance.’
He asked whether the roles ‘actually need a royal patron’, adding that there ‘aren’t many options in terms of the royals’.
Prince Harry is also being forced to relinquish his role in the Royal Marines – with his aunt Princess Anne poised to take over and become its first ever female Captain General.
Prince William had initially been mooted to succeed the patronage from his brother – but growing tensions between the pair following Megxit means making such a move would be seen as unnecessarily provocative, reports suggest.
The two blistering statements: Buckingham Palace announced in a dramatic statement that Harry and Meghan had been stripped of their remaining roles following their move to California. Minutes later, the apparently furious Sussexes issued a stinging rebuke to the Queen, insisting they would still ‘live a life of service’ outside the royal fold
As a result, a military source said the Princess Royal has now emerged as the ‘least controversial choice’ for the role, which was previously held by her father, the Duke of Edinburgh.
‘She’s not going to cause any problems or scandals…it wouldn’t be fair to take it off one brother and give it to the other,’ it was claimed last night.
The source insisted that Anne was ‘well liked’ by those in the Marines and added: ‘They would obviously like to keep Harry but we will be told who we get.’
The hard-working Princess Royal, 69, who lives at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, is already associated with 65 military organisations and currently Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy.
She is Royal Colonel of the 6th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Commodore-in-Chief of the naval force of Canada and Royal Honorary Colonel of the City of Edinburgh Universities Officers Training Corps, to name but a few.
She is also Patron of The Battle of the Atlantic Memorial project in Liverpool, the Camp Hill Veterans’ Services, aiding Canadian veterans in recognition of their services to their country, and the National Museum of The Royal Navy.
Reacting to Harry and Meghan’s statement last night, one insider said: ‘They have made a roaring success of what they set out to do in the US, this independent life. And good luck to them. But you can’t have your cake and eat it.
Princess Anne is poised to take over Prince Harry’s role in the Royal Marines and become its first ever female Captain General after the Duke of Sussex was stripped of his military role, sources claim
‘If your primary role is to serve the head of state and the monarchy, then it’s very hard to do that if you are earning millions on the side. That’s philanthropy, not public service. The couple are working with some deserving charities and causes, which is great.
‘It’s just that the model of how they are doing it is different from how the Royal Family do it.’
The source stressed that the split from the Royal Family had been Harry and Meghan’s decision entirely. ‘They have chosen to live in America, they have not been exiled to America,’ they said.
Another insider said: ‘Let’s be clear, the Sussexes instigated this. They jumped. But the Queen is firm: either you are a public servant or you aren’t.
But concerns have been raised about who will take on Prince Harry’s Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League patronages, with former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter (pictured) saying ‘there aren’t many options in terms of the royals’
‘You can’t line your pockets while undertaking official duties.’
Although Palace officials were at pains to stress how ‘saddened’ the monarch and senior royals were by the split – insisting that Harry and Meghan were still ‘much loved’ members of the family – the rift between the two sides is now wider than ever.
Relations are so acrimonious that despite weeks of discussions, they couldn’t even agree a joint statement on the issue. ‘It’s actually all very sad,’ a source said.
Another insider said: ‘The direction of travel has been clear for a while. The Queen has been very clear from the start that this ‘half in, half out’ model demanded by the Sussexes wouldn’t work and hasn’t deviated from that. Not once. Their original idea was to have a ‘third way’ of being a royal. And the Queen has said quite simply ‘no, you can’t’.’
The Mail has been told that it was Harry who pushed to restart talks over his and Meghan’s position early this year.
According to insiders, there was a ‘puzzling sense of urgency’ to his requests that perplexed palace officials. When news of Meghan’s deal for a ‘tell all’ interview with Oprah Winfrey broke earlier this week ‘all became clear’.
Harry and Meghan’s patronages will be returned to the Queen before being re-distributed among remaining working royals – including Prince William (left), the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William (right)
This was seen as ‘shocking’ by the royal household, which had hoped to make an amicable joint announcement about the couple’s future earlier this week.
The Daily Mail revealed exclusively earlier this week that the couple were set to lose their remaining royal patronages.
They will now be forced to relinquish a series of high profile roles connected to causes close to their hearts and, most devastatingly for Harry, his three honorary military positions. The pair have also had to relinquish their roles with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, although they are set to retain their official titles, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The above graphic shows how royal experts and commentators have analysed the statement from Harry and Meghan (pictured)
The above graphic shows how royal experts and commentators have analysed the statement from Buckingham Palace
Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, first announced their desire to quit as working royals in January last year without even informing the Queen beforehand, a move which deeply hurt the 94-year-old monarch.
The ensuing ‘Sandringham Summit’ saw the Queen, backed by the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge, stand firm against her grandson and his wife, who were demanding they be allowed to move to North America in pursuit of their fortunes while continuing to serve her as ‘quasi-working royals’.
In the end the couple were forced to agree not to use their royal titles for commercial gain. However the Queen did agree to hold over some of their official patronages – most notably Harry’s military positions – while a 12-month review of their new arrangements was concluded.
It can now be revealed that over the past year a ‘battle royale’ over these official roles has raged behind the scenes, with neither side willing to concede.
Harry and Meghan have categorically refused to accept their loss of standing and insisted they wanted to continue with limited royal duties while landing contacts with firms such as Spotify and Netflix.
The Queen, however, has told the couple that their commercial careers were completely incompatible with the impartiality required of those in public service.
The Duchess of Sussex keeps her two private patronages: Smart Works and animal charity Mayhew
According to one official, she made it ‘abundantly clear’ to her grandson that when it comes to being a working royal you are either in, or you are out, telling him: ‘You work for the monarchy, the monarchy doesn’t work for you.’
With negotiations already tense, the revelation of the Oprah interview sent matters into free fall.
Harry and Meghan had kept this secret from the Palace, hoping to announce their interview bombshell once the ‘divorce deal’ was done. This angered officials, who had hoped to make a final announcement on the so-called ‘Megxit deal’ at the beginning of the week.
The couple, who announced on Sunday they were expecting their second child, were said to have ‘hit the roof’ when they saw the Palace’s draft statement, which said that in stepping away as full-time working royals they could not be of ‘public service’.
All lines of communication subsequently broke down.
With a deep but unyielding sadness, the Queen had no choice but to formally write to her grandson confirming that ‘Megxit’ was final.
In its statement yesterday, Buckingham Palace said: ‘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.
‘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.’
They added: ‘While all are saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.’
Four minutes later a spokesman for the Sussexes retorted: ‘As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role.
‘We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.’
Harry and Meghan will still be invited to family events such as Trooping the Colour and the prince is expected to join his brother, Prince William, to unveil a statue in memory of their late mother Princess Diana at Kensington Palace on July 1.
But no one was pretending last night that relations are likely to be anything other than uncomfortable in future.
‘There is absolutely nothing wrong with what Harry and Meghan have chosen to do, but they cannot do it as royals and as public servants,’ said one insider.
‘The only hope is that perhaps now that the business side of things have been removed, they can start to repair their personal relationships.’
The Queen pushed to breaking point: Her Majesty has showered Harry with affection and indulgence in a bid for harmony. Yesterday, that was thrown back in her face with outrageous peevishness. And, writes RICHARD KAY, the worst may yet lie ahead
- Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, called The Queen at Windsor Castle from his hideaway in faraway California
- The hour-long conversion took him one step further outside the Royal Family, and to a sad conclusion
- Queen said to be saddened that her ‘affection and indulgence’ shown to him has been ignored by Harry
Evening shadows were falling across the Long Walk at Windsor Castle when the call came through.
From her desk at the window of her private sitting room, the Queen could look up the broad avenue towards Frogmore where, less than two years ago, she had chuckled at the stream of lorries bringing the paraphernalia of Prince Harry’s life to his new home in her back garden.
Now Harry was calling from his hideaway in faraway California. For an hour, the monarch and her grandson talked on the phone, and by the time it was over the Duke of Sussex was one step further outside the Royal Family.
Over the past year, Harry has had more private conversations with the Queen than at any other time in his life. But none was more difficult than the one this week.
Both were said to be saddened at its conclusion. For the Queen the sadness was, perhaps, even deeper. It was not just that so much promise was unfulfilled, but that all the affection and indulgence shown to Harry had been so spectacularly ignored — or even thrown back in her face.
No wonder the talk inside Windsor Castle all week has been about winding the clock back 25 years.
RICHARD KAY: ‘By choosing to sit down with Oprah Winfrey, Harry and Meghan have detonated a bombshell of their own by placing themselves in the hands of probably the most famous broadcaster on the planet’ (Queen pictured looking on as Meghan joins Royal Family)
Prince Philip, 99, will stay in hospital into NEXT WEEK but ‘remains in good spirits’
He today had his fourth day in the private facility in London, but is understood to have been aware the announcement on Harry and Meghan was to be released.
The Duke of Edinburgh is having ‘observation and rest’ after being admitted earlier this week after feeling unwell.
Philip, 99, was described as being in ‘good spirits’ after he walked unaided into King Edward VII Hospital on Tuesday evening on the advice of his doctor.
A Royal source said: ‘Following consultation with his doctor he is likely to remain in hospital for observation and rest over the weekend and into next week. As we have said previously the doctor is acting with an abundance of caution. The Duke remains in good spirits.’
The Queen had told him of Meghan and Harry’s decision to not return as working members of the Royal Family and the statement she was going to release on the development.
The Duke of Edinburgh (left) and the Duke of Sussex (right) laugh together following the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston at Windsor Castle in May 2019
Police stand outside King Edward VII Hospital in London this morning as a nurse walks past
Philip and Harry had always shared a close bond but a recent book suggested he had been left bewildered by his decision to walk away from the Royal Family.
Ingrid Seward, author of Prince Philip Revealed, said the Duke of Edinburgh ‘walked away’ from the situation after feeling that his advice was being ignored.
Seward’s book said: ‘For Philip, whose entire existence has been based on a devotion to doing his duty, it appeared that his grandson had abdicated his for the sake of his marriage to an American divorcee in much the same way as Edward VIII gave up his crown to marry Wallis Simpson in 1936.’
It had been claimed today Harry was self-isolating at home in Montecito, California, so he can fly back to Britain at short notice if Philip’s condition worsens, but the Palace’s announcement appears to have thrown this into some doubt.
Harry, who lives in a £11million mansion with his pregnant wife Meghan and son Archie, was also said to have arranged to fly by private jet at short notice if needed.
He would be tested for coronavirus before leaving the US and upon arriving in Britain – and it is not clear if Meghan would travel, reported the Daily Mirror.
The Duke of Edinburgh remained at King Edward VII Hospital this morning (pictured today)
Police stand on the steps of King Edward VII Hospital today where Philip is being treated
Harry would also be exempt from having to quarantine in a hotel for ten days after arriving, if the UK adds the US to its ‘red list’ of countries as is being discussed.
Members of the Royal Family do not have to isolate in a hotel upon arriving from ‘red list’ countries because due to special dispensation, similar to diplomatic immunity.
A spokesman for Harry was contacted for comment by MailOnline. On Wednesday, Buckingham Palace said admitting Philip to hospital was a ‘precautionary measure’.
There were no reports yesterday of visitors arriving at the exclusive hospital which is on a quiet street in Marylebone, but Philip is known for his ‘no fuss’ attitude.
Philip, who turns 100 on June 10, is in hospital for an undisclosed reason, although it is not coronavirus-related and it was a non-emergency admission..
It is understood a doctor was called after Philip felt unwell for a short period and he was taken to hospital by car, where he walked in unaided.
Philip has been spending the latest lockdown with the Queen, 94, at Windsor Castle and last month they both received Covid vaccinations.
Prince Harry and Meghan at their £11million home in Montecito, California, last September
The Queen and Prince Philip look at a wedding anniversary card given to them by their great grandchildren George, Charlotte and Louis, in the Oak Room at Windsor Castle last November
Philip was reported last year to be unconcerned about becoming a centenarian.
But sources say his view has modified and he is rather reluctantly looking forward to reaching the milestone.
As the nation hoped for his swift recovery, royal author Penny Junor joked yesterday that hospital staff probably would not want Philip on their shift due to his aversion to people making a fuss.
She told BBC Breakfast: ‘He can be quite blunt and I think if he felt people were fussing over him he could be quite outspoken about that.
‘This is a man who doesn’t want any fuss made of his 100th birthday, so the fact he’s in hospital and getting some fuss made of him will really irritate him.’
Buckingham Palace said on Wednesday: ‘His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London on Tuesday evening.
‘The Duke’s admission is a precautionary measure, on the advice of His Royal Highness’s doctor, after feeling unwell. The Duke is expected to remain in hospital for a few days of observation and rest.’
It is understood the decision to admit Philip was taken with an ‘abundance’ of caution.
Philip was last in hospital in December 2019, when he spent four nights at King Edward VII being treated for a ‘pre-existing condition’ before being discharged on Christmas Eve.
He retired from public duties in 2017 but made a rare public appearance at Windsor last July 2020 for the official handover of his role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to his daughter-in-law Camilla.
Then, the drama was about Princess Diana. This time it was about her younger son. And in both cases it concerned a television programme.
Diana’s choice of medium was the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme, Panorama, which was epic enough.
By choosing to sit down with Oprah Winfrey, Harry and Meghan have detonated a bombshell of their own by placing themselves in the hands of probably the most famous broadcaster on the planet.
To the royals and their advisers, TV confessionals of the kind presided over by Ms Winfrey are not compatible with royal life and the privileges that go with it.
Yet that was not the worst of it. The peevish disrespect Harry and Meghan showed the Queen yesterday — in a statement in which they appeared to lecture on the meaning of duty and service — sent shock waves throughout the Palace and beyond.
‘Outrageous,’ said one source.
To another, it was ‘unconscionable’ of the couple to have had the last word. ‘It showed such disrespect,’ he said.
Adding to this sense of anger and exasperation is Prince Philip’s absence as he remains in hospital in London.
For almost a year there had been a gloomy sense of inevitability inside Buckingham Palace about the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, whom courtiers have increasingly come to see as tone deaf in their public utterances.
First, there was the Netflix mega-deal announced last September, followed by those stage-managed photographs of the couple laying flowers at a Los Angeles cemetery to mark Remembrance Sunday — after Harry’s request to have a wreath laid at the Cenotaph on his behalf was refused. Both sent shudders through the Royal Household.
‘Even after almost a year’s absence there was a sense they had not grasped the central issue that they could not be part-time royals, with one foot in and one foot out,’ says a long-time Palace adviser.
Even so, the Queen was determined her offer of a year ago — that the door should not be closed to the couple until there had been a review of the first 12 months — should stand.
The Sussex view was that they could still contribute in a meaningful way, despite moving their lives to southern California.
But if the door remained ajar — just — it clanged shut when news of Oprah broke.
Weeks before Harry made that call to his grandmother to tell her about the forthcoming interview, the Queen’s views about what it means to be a working royal had not changed. The costumes and privileges that go with it — such as laying a Cenotaph wreath, even remotely — can be available only to those who do the job on a full-time basis.
She fervently hoped that the pull of those patronages he held, particularly the military ones, such as his figurehead role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, would be a compellingly strong draw for Harry to reconsider.
In the end, he still thought he could have it both ways. Yesterday, the decisiveness of the Palace showed, finally, that he cannot.
Stripping him — and Meghan — of their remaining honorary patronages would have happened anyway when the so-called ‘Megxit’ deadline expired next month.
If moving it forward suggests a royal ruthlessness, I understand it was a decision reached more in sorrow than anger. It also showed that the Queen’s legendary patience has a breaking point. And that her sense of duty is more important even than her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In short, she loves to keep them all close as a family — but there is a limit.
All the same, the speed with which organisations such as the National Theatre (of which the duchess was royal patron) and the Rugby Football Union (for which Harry had been a tireless champion) issued statements yesterday demonstrated that they had been prepared for the changes. Pointedly, the Palace statement referred only to Harry — indicating perhaps that the duchess had no formal role in the talks that have been ongoing. No wonder, when many inside royal circles refer icily to Meghan as ‘The American’.
When news of the Oprah interview emerged, it meant negotiations between the two sides, involving officials as well as the royals, had to be completed in a more tense atmosphere than they’d anticipated.
Even so, there was still room for discord.
The haste of Harry and Meghan’s own statement — issued at 4.30am Los Angeles time yesterday, in response to the one that had been released on behalf of the Queen — illustrated an astonishing lack of awareness by someone who is sixth in line to the throne and steeped in the royal tradition of service.
What had seemingly infuriated the Sussexes the most was this line in the middle of the pre-prepared Palace statement: ‘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.’
Unspoken in all of this, and perhaps the hidden message behind the words, was that the exemplary life of public service that the Queen and the 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh have led.
Over at Sussex headquarters, however, they hit the roof.
Harry and Meghan believe they are committed to public service, but they simply want to do it from outside the Royal Family and from outside Britain.
And given Harry’s closeness to his grandmother, he will have been angered at the way he felt he was being treated by the Queen’s most senior aides.
That is what triggered the couple’s extraordinary sharp response: ‘We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.’
Whatever pretence there had been until this point — that both sides were happy with the outcome — went up in a puff of smoke.
Last night aides spoke of their shock at the tone of the couple’s response, viewing it as a rebuke to the Queen, even an insult.
‘They didn’t think to let the Queen have the last word,’ says one insider. ‘They didn’t think that with Prince Philip in hospital, she might have enough on her plate.
‘And they didn’t think that there is a difference between charity and philanthropy and commitment to public duty. There is a world of difference: one is playing at it and one is doing it day after day, come rain or shine.
‘By responding as they did, the duke and duchess are thumbing their noses. I think it could turn out to be a strategic mistake.’
Palace aides had concluded that a non-working royal living in California couldn’t give the level of commitment to the military, the Commonwealth and charitable organisations, which all mean so much to the Queen, that might reasonably be expected.
The patronages will be ‘redistributed’ among those members of the Queen’s family who remain full-time working royals.
Buckingham Palace did try to hold out an olive branch at the end of their statement by saying that Harry and Meghan remained ‘much loved members of the family’. It echoed the statement they made in January 2020 when Harry and Meghan first announced they wanted out. But that is not how they see it in California.
The Sussexes believe other members of the Royal Family with HRH titles have the freedom to earn a private income — a thinly veiled reference to Harry’s first cousins, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
Anxious not to alienate the couple further, aides are at pains to insist there is little prospect of further attempts to downgrade them by removing their HRH style or even the Sussex title, as some commentators have suggested.
The removal of Princess Diana’s HRH after her divorce from Prince Charles rebounded on the royals with the public, who viewed it as an act of spite.
There is also the fact that however dismayed they are by Harry, he remains a uniquely important figure to the future of the monarchy.
In the event of Charles and William both losing their lives — and, remember, they have both contracted Covid-19 — Harry would become regent to a young Prince George.
Throughout the saga, Palace officials have been playing close attention to public reaction.
A recent poll about royal popularity, still on the YouGov site, has been monitored. It shows Meghan languishing below both the Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex, while Harry was outpolled by both Prince Charles and his non-royal cousin Zara Tindall.
There will be more twists and turns to come in this unedifying domestic drama.
The date of March 7, when Harry and Meghan genuflect before TV queen Oprah, is likely to be engraved in the royal memory just like Diana’s Panorama appearance on November 20, 1995.
The very real concern is that it will reopen other wounds, such as the rift between Harry and his brother — and between their wives. There is the fear of a repeat of the froideur that once existed between two other royal sisters-in-law — the Queen Mother and the Duchess of Windsor.
By striking as she has, the Queen hopes she will mitigate the need for further action. Only time will tell if that has been successful.