Royal Family to hold emergency summit over Prince Harry’s future
Buckingham Palace is aiming to outline new roles for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex within the next few days, after the couple announced plans to give up their positions as senior members of the royal family and seek “financial independence”.
The Queen has summoned Prince Charles and his sons Prince William and Prince Harry to her Norfolk estate for an emergency summit on Monday to discuss proposals that would allow the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to give up most of their royal duties while developing a private income stream.
The abrupt announcement by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle last Wednesday appeared to have taken the Queen by surprise and has sparked intense public debate over the role of the royal family in the 21st century.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman, referring to the Monday meeting at Sandringham, said there was “a range of possibilities for the family to review which takes into account the thinking the Sussexes outlined”. The aim was to set out plans in “days, not weeks”.
Any change to the couple’s roles required “complex and thoughtful discussions”, added the spokesman.
The meeting would attempt to set out the “next steps” towards devising new roles for the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex, who is expected to join the summit by telephone from Canada.
The couple have said they intend to divide their time between the UK and Canada. “There is genuine agreement and understanding that any decision will take time to be implemented,” said the Buckingham Palace spokesman.
Among the questions to be considered are the couple’s security status, with protection currently paid for by the state; their future titles; and how much money they might receive from the Queen and Prince Charles, according to the Sunday Times.
Buckingham Palace is likely to seek some control over any business deals struck by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, said one person familiar with the royal family.
“There would have to be oversight and approval of anything that relies on their royal associations,” said the person. “That could be an issue. People will be interested in [Prince Harry] because of who he is. They will be able to raise lots of money for charity but his private income will be the issue.”
Prince Harry is currently supported by trustees and family grants to run his household, while his wife had to give up her career as a successful actress when she married him in 2018.
In December, it emerged that the couple had applied to trademark the brand Sussex Royal across a range of items including books, calendars, clothing, charitable fundraising, education and social care services, according to the BBC.
But any need for palace approval of commercial projects could be difficult for the couple.
Prince Harry had long been frustrated with the constraints of being a member of the royal family and this had intensified since his marriage, said one person with knowledge of the situation.
However, the couple have said they would continue to honour their duties to the Queen and the Commonwealth.