As most fans presumably already know, a shocking announcement has come from the royal family: Harry and Meghan – the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – are stepping away from some of their royal duties. Unsurprisingly, too, the news is making headlines across the globe. But one aspect of the unfolding drama that hasn’t been made clear is exactly what the Queen thinks about all of this. Is her majesty happy that her grandson is moving on? Or simply disappointed? Well, we can now reveal that the Queen’s response is extraordinarily interesting – to say the least.
Yet Harry and Meghan’s decision has not come completely out of the blue. After all, press intrusion has seemingly been hard on the duke and duchess throughout their relationship. Soon after Harry first began dating Meghan Markle, in fact, he released an unprecedented statement condemning the British media for their treatment of her.
And while no one knew it at the time, the statement was very much a portent of things to come. It declared that Meghan had experienced “a wave of abuse and harassment.” It also stated, “Some of this has been very public – the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”
There had undoubtedly been nasty headlines about Meghan, of course. In November 2016, for instance, the Daily Mail released a story titled, “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed – so will he be dropping by for tea?” And at about the same time, The Guardian highlighted the adverse press coverage by claiming that the British media seemed to disapprove of Meghan’s “visibly black” mom.
Despite the sometimes negative press, though, Harry and Meghan got engaged in November 2017. And there seemed to be nothing but delight from other members of the royal family. In fact, Prince William and Kate Middleton – Harry’s brother and sister-in-law, respectively – released a statement saying, “We are very excited for Harry and Meghan. It has been wonderful getting to know Meghan and to see how happy she and Harry are together.”
As for Harry’s extremely famous grandmother, the statement from her and her husband read, “The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness.” In the post-engagement interview with the BBC, too, Meghan said she had met the Queen and described her as “an incredible woman.”
But some elements of the British media were seemingly not very impressed. In The Spectator, for instance, Melanie McDonagh wrote, “It may be churlish to be unkind about a young couple who have just announced their engagement but needs must… 70 years ago, Meghan Markle would have been the kind of woman the Prince would have had for a mistress, not a wife.”
Still, Harry and Meghan tied the knot in May 2018. Apart from Meghan’s father not being present – Prince Charles eventually walked her down the aisle – the ceremony went off without a hitch. And as a nod towards her new role, Meghan wore a spectacular veil that featured a flower from every country in the Commonwealth.
Then, in October 2018, Meghan and Harry announced that they would soon become parents. That was happy news, of course – yet the pregnancy seemed to provide Meghan’s haters with more ammunition with which to express annoyance. In fact, some journalists criticized Meghan for the simple act of touching her baby bump, saying she was doing it too much. And people on Twitter even tried to start a conspiracy theory that she wasn’t really pregnant.
Putting that last theory to bed, though, Harry and Meghan’s baby – a boy named Archie – came along in May 2019. But the couple opted out of the royal photo call that traditionally takes place outside of the hospital, instead arranging an official photography session for later on. And, perhaps tellingly, the pair didn’t give Archie a royal title; he is simply called Master Archie.
As time went on, however, rumors began to spread that there was tension in the relationship between Harry and his brother. After Archie was born, though, William had declared at London’s first King’s Cup Regatta that he was “very pleased and glad to welcome [his] own brother into the sleep-deprivation society that is parenting.” Yet the papers insisted that a fight had gone on behind closed doors.
In June 2019, for instance, a royal expert called Katie Nicholl told TV program Entertainment Tonight, “It’s absolutely the case that the brothers did fall out. I was told by a very senior royal source that actually they weren’t talking to each other at one point. I certainly think now that Archie is here, it has probably really helped to improve the relationship.”
These apparent problems within the royal family came to the fore when Harry and Meghan did an interview for ITV in October 2019. During the documentary Harry and Meghan: An African Journey, journalist Tom Bradby asked Harry, “There’s been a lot of news in the press about rifts with your brother. How much of that is true?”
And the prince answered, “Part of this role, part of this job, this family, being under the pressure which it’s under, inevitably stuff happens. But we are brothers. We will always be brothers.” He added, “We are certainly on different paths at the moment, but I will always be there for him, and as I know he will always be there for me.”
More concerning than that, though, was an admission from Meghan about her own mental health. At one point in the show, you see, Bradby brought up Harry’s mother, Diana, who died in a car crash while fleeing paparazzi in 1997. He told Meghan that her husband was “obviously very concerned about protecting [her], and protecting [her] from what he felt his mother went through.”
Bradby then asked Meghan if she was okay mental-health wise, and the duchess answered, “Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging.” And about the media intrusion, she said, “When people are saying things that are just untrue – they’ve been told they’re untrue but they’re still allowed to say them… I don’t know anyone in the world that would feel like that’s okay.”
Not long after the documentary aired, too, Harry released an official statement saying that Meghan was “suffering” due to the media. He declared, “There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been.”
After that, though, the media began to speculate about whether Harry and Meghan might start to divide their time between Britain and the U.S. This seemed to come about as Harry and Meghan visited Meghan’s mother in the States during the Thanksgiving and Christmas periods. Then unnamed “insiders” apparently began speaking to the media about what they knew.
At the end of October, for example, a supposedly anonymous source reportedly told The Sun, “There’s an acceptance that things haven’t worked out with the Sussexes full-time in Windsor, so they could have a second base in America.” Yet a spokesman for the duke and duchess declined to comment on the matter to the newspaper.
So when Harry and Meghan announced in January 2020 that they were stepping down from some aspects of royal life, to many it may not have been surprising. The statement came in the evening of January 8, just hours after rumors about the duke and duchess moving to Canada had started to spread.
Using their official Instagram account, Harry and Meghan declared, “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty the Queen.”
The statement continued, “It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honor our duty to the Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.”
Archie, it seemed, had been a factor in the couple’s decision. The statement went on, “This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”
At the end of their statement, Harry and Meghan said, “We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” The media, of course, went wild.
There were a lot of issues to resolve, after all. Would Harry and Meghan keep the various titles the Queen had granted them, or drop them altogether? Would they really be able to become financially independent? And what did the rest of the royal family, especially Prince William and the Queen, make of the shock announcement?
Well, initial reports about the family’s reactions were not promising. A couple of hours after Harry and Meghan dropped their statement, for instance, BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond tweeted, “BBC understands that no other member of the royal family was consulted before Harry and Meghan issued their personal statement tonight. The Palace is understood to be ‘disappointed.’”
It was likely a very busy day for the royals’ press officers – as not long after Harry and Meghan’s statement, Buckingham Palace made an announcement too. It was surprisingly terse and read, “Discussion[s] with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand the desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
Those anonymous “sources” seemingly quickly started speaking to the media as well. The day after it all went down, in fact, an “insider” supposedly told The Sun, “The Queen is deeply upset. The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are incandescent with rage. Courtiers can’t believe it. There are so many unanswered questions, but they’ve just up and done it without a thought for anyone else. The plan was there to discuss it and work out a way that works for everyone in the family.”
Later on January 9, too, the Evening Standard reported that Harry actually had tried to tell the Queen about his plan beforehand – but hadn’t been given the opportunity. It claimed, “Harry originally contacted Prince Charles about spending more time in Canada and America just before Christmas but was told he needed to come up with a thought-out plan.”
The Evening Standard went on, “The planned meeting [with the Queen] was blocked by courtiers, but the Queen made it clear to Harry that he should not go public about his future plans at this time… Prince Charles and Prince William, the next two in the line of succession, were only sent a copy of Harry and Meghan’s statement ‘ten minutes’ before it was released and without any further consultation.”
And to make things just a little bit worse, January 9 happened to be Kate’s birthday. Harry and Meghan naturally wished their sister-in-law a good day via Instagram – but Us Weekly reported that this hadn’t been enough. The magazine quoted a source as saying, “Harry and Meghan rubbed salt into the wounds by making the huge announcement a day before Kate’s birthday. It hasn’t gone down well with William.”
Yet William might not have been as furious as previously thought. On January 12, you see, The Sunday Times reported that he had told a friend, “I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives, and I can’t do that any more; we’re separate entities. All we can do, and all I can do, is try and support them and hope that the time comes when we’re all singing from the same page. I want everyone to play on the team.”
Then it seemed that the Queen decided that a major family meeting would have to be called. According to reports, Harry would be there, William would be there, Charles would be there – but Meghan would only be calling in via phone, as she was in Canada at the time. And, of course, the duchess had received more criticism from the British press for heading off to another country.
Regarding the meeting, though, “palace sources” reportedly announced to People magazine, “Making a change to the working life and role of the monarchy for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex requires complex and thoughtful discussions. Next steps will be agreed at the meeting. The request for this to be resolved ‘at pace’ is still Her Majesty’s wish. The aim remains days, not weeks.”
Then, on January 13, the Queen announced that a meeting had taken place and a “period of transition” had been agreed upon. The monarch said in a statement, “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.”
So far, so good. The statement continued, “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.”
The Queen’s statement concluded, “It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the U.K. 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 Daily Mail’s Rebecca English subsequently analyzed the Queen’s statement for the publication. She concluded, “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.”
English went on, “Ultimately it is the Queen who has the final say on the Sussexes’ future. It was unlikely that Her Majesty – whose recent public outings were designed to show royal life was continuing as normal – would describe the meeting as anything other than ‘constructive’ as she looks to steady the ship and chart a way out of the crisis.”
So what might happen next? Well, it’s likely that Harry and Meghan – tellingly not referenced by their titles in the Queen’s statement – don’t even know themselves. And while the Queen is trying to contain the situation, the woman who wears the crown has ultimately little control over what her grandson and his wife choose to do with their lives. Like everyone else, then, she might just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, though, there’s another story that has sent shockwaves through the royal family. And this time, it involves William and Kate. Although the couple appear to have the perfect relationship, then, an unpleasant rumor has nonetheless emerged: the magazine In Touch alleged that the prince had cheated on his wife with another woman. So, what exactly is the truth?
We’ll discover the roots of the affair claim a little later, but let’s first learn more about William and Kate themselves. The couple married in 2011 and it was a truly spectacular royal affair; millions of people worldwide tuned in to watch the soon-to-be Duchess walk down the aisle. Later, William and Kate stood on the palace balcony and kissed for the cheering crowds.
But the road that led William and Kate to marriage hadn’t always been an easy one. Indeed, the early days of their relationship were marked with strife. The pair first met at St. Andrew’s university – where they happened to share the same halls of residence. And the shy, pretty Kate immediately caught the eye of the young prince.
William got along very well with Kate; but she wasn’t the only woman getting his attention at the time. There was also Carley Massy-Birch, a creative writing and English language student. Although Kate had been crowned the prettiest girl in her dorm, Carley had the honor of winning a “finest first-year bottom” competition at St. Andrews. William liked her very much, and his friends knew, although the tabloids didn’t.
Yet the William-Carley relationship came to an end, allegedly, when it transpired William still had feelings for an ex, Arabella Musgrave. She is a woman of high social standing and is the daughter of Major Nicholas Musgrave. William had known her when they were children, but they had met again as young adults.
William and Arabella had dated before the prince left for university, but they had then decided to take a break. The feeling between them, reportedly, was that Arabella didn’t expect him to wait around for her while they were apart. William missed her, though it seems he wasn’t at all averse to meeting and romancing other women.
And in the middle of all these complicated romantic emotions, William suddenly began seeing Kate in an entirely different light. As the oft-repeated story goes, she was modeling in a fashion show and the prince happened to be there. Apparently, he was awestruck after seeing her walking the catwalk in a sheer dress and underwear.
Right after the show, William began to romance Kate. At the afterparty, the two sat together and chatted for a long time while the alcohol flowed. Then, suddenly, William went to kiss her. She pulled away in surprise; Kate herself was taken at the time, as she was dating another university student named Rupert Finch.
Obviously, things between Kate and Rupert didn’t last, and the future Duchess of Cambridge began properly dating William. The pair moved into new accommodation, the romantically named 13a Hope Street. They kept their relationship as quiet as possible – even leaving the house at separate times – so that the tabloids wouldn’t get wind of it.
And yet, William didn’t exactly seem ready to commit. Come the prince’s 21st birthday in 2003, many noted that he seemed to be getting close to a woman called Jecca Craig – despite Kate apparently still being his girlfriend. And this relationship the newspapers very much did pick up on.
The media reported that William and Jecca had performed an engagement ceremony of sorts, where they declared their love for each other. And despite the royal family very rarely commenting regarding news stories about them, William got his people to deny such an event had ever taken place.
William also spoke to the Press Association to mark his 21st birthday, and unsurprisingly he was asked about romance. Despite Kate being in his life, the prince said at the time, “I don’t have a steady girlfriend. If I fancy a girl and I really like her and she fancies me back, which is rare, I ask her out.”
“But, at the same time, I don’t want to put [prospective girlfriends] in an awkward situation because a lot of people don’t quite understand what comes with knowing me,” William continued. “There’s been a lot of speculation about every single girl I’m with and it actually does quite irritate me after a while, more so because it’s a complete pain for the girls.”
Yet Kate definitely seemed to be being shunted aside in favour of Jecca, attendees of William’s 21st birthday party noticed. Both women were present, but while the latter woman sat at the main table with William, Kate did not. Furthermore, the celebration’s theme was “Out of Africa” – an appropriate choice, given William had first met Jecca in Kenya.
Yet despite that unfortunate blip, Kate and William stayed together – for a little longer at least. They were still keen to maintain their privacy, but news of their relationship got out in the end. In April 2004, after Kate had been spotted with William on a skiing trip, The Sun ran the headline “Finally… Wills gets a girl.”
But William didn’t have Kate for much longer. By the summer of that year allegedly the duchess had tired of William’s immature behavior, which may have included flirting and worse with other women. She had also apparently noticed him getting close with yet another female friend – this time it was Anna Sloan, a rich American girl.
Kate was apparently very upset when William went on holiday with Anna and her friends, but that wasn’t the end of it. There was also his friendship with heiress Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe to consider. Reportedly, neither woman had been interested in William romantically, though that didn’t change Kate’s feelings.
Kate apparently banned William from seeing Isabella again, but things still weren’t looking great. The pair decided to do a trial separation, although once again they tried to keep their personal business out of the tabloids. Reportedly, William’s plans to go and see Jecca in Kenya didn’t remotely help matters.
The trial separation ended with the pair getting back together, and in 2005 Kate went on holiday with William, Harry and Charles. After that, more holidays and parties followed, plus the pair both graduated from St. Andrews University. But then, as William joined the British Army, things started to go wrong again.
Although the media constantly speculated that William was about to pop the question to Kate, it seemed that the prince himself wasn’t so sure. The pressure for the two to announce an engagement mounted until neither could take it anymore. That was one problem; William being photographed with other women was another.
By 2007 William was increasingly being seen out with other ladies. At one point, the prince was spotted dancing at a nightclub with a blonde girl, Tess Shepherd. At another nightclub in Bournemouth, he was seen with his arm around a pretty young woman and reportedly took another one out for a drink. For Kate, this was the final straw; she apparently told William that she would leave him if he refused to commit fully to her.
During Easter of that year Kate and William split up, and at the time it appeared to be for good. As a result, the former donned a revenge dress and hit the party circuit. She was determined to show the media that she wasn’t missing her former royal boyfriend; but in reality, Kate was deeply hurt.
The British media subsequently made plenty of the sudden split, and in April 2007 an unnamed “friend of the prince” told The Evening Standard that a marriage was “never on the cards.” They added, “Kate did everything she could to make him stay – playing a waiting game one minute and then hard-to-get the next.”
The royal insider also said, notably, “Just the other week, she said she intended to be photographed at as many places as she could without William to punish him for all those pictures that appeared of him clubbing with other girls. But William’s heart just wasn’t in it anymore. As she was planning the wedding, he was working out how to extricate himself.”
Other alleged insiders had worse things to say about William’s behavior. Another source told the Evening Standard, “He has always had a roving eye, far more so than Harry, who is meant to be the family playboy. That’s something Kate has always known and accepted – it was part of the deal, if you like.”
The source continued, “What has changed in recent months, however, is the way in which the public was starting to view Kate as a future princess. William’s visit to that nightclub in Bournemouth the other week was all rather harmless but he knew it made him look a cad.” Elsewhere, the paper also noted that the palace was not commenting on the situation.
Of course, as we all know, Kate and William ended up getting back together. And in 2010 they finally did the thing so many people had asked them about in the years prior; they got engaged. But there were a few naysayers, and some magazines claimed that it was pretty common for a royal man to cheat on his wife.
There was a grain of truth to the claim of infidelity among royal men, perhaps, because William’s father had famously strayed from his mother. Charles was married to Diana when he had romanced his ex-girlfriend and future wife Camilla Parker Bowles. And there have long been rumors that Prince Philip, William’s grandfather, allegedly cheated on the Queen.
Certainly, the first years of William and Kate’s marriage appeared to go by without incident. In 2013 the pair had their first child, George, who is third in line to the British throne. And by all accounts, William seems to be a good and attentive father.
However, in March 2017 the prince was spotted and videotaped in a comprising position at – once again – a nightclub. While on a skiing holiday with friends in Switzerland, he was observed dancing with a young woman there. Vanity Fair, meanwhile, reported that Kate was “less than pleased” to hear about it.
And in 2019 another apparent – but unconfirmed – issue with William made it to the media. This one was quite shocking; allegedly, the prince had cheated on Kate while she was pregnant with Louis. And the other woman was supposedly their neighbor Rose Hanbury, Marchioness of Cholmondeley.
At first, the story began with tabloid reports that Kate and Rose, once friends, had fallen out. Richard Eden of the Daily Mail claimed that Kate “seems to see Rose as a rival.” Following that, The Sun quoted a source who said, “Things are tense between them… Over the years, Rose and Kate’s lives have been entwined in many ways.”
In April the magazine In Touch then published an infidelity claim – complete with quotes from alleged insiders. Apparently, Kate had confronted William upon hearing rumors, but according to the source he “just laughed it off saying there was nothing to it.” Yet she reportedly ordered him to stop seeing Rose immediately, as she “[saw] their friendship in an entirely different light now.”
To make matters worse, journalist Giles Coren of The Times tweeted out a post seemingly “confirming” that William had indeed cheated on Kate. It was removed, reportedly due to pressure from the palace. And other publications who passed along the rumors were apparently handed legal warnings.
Cosmopolitan magazine, for its part, revealed one of the letters from lawyers representing the royals. It stated, “In addition to being false and highly damaging, the publication of false speculation in respect of our clients’ private life also constitutes a breach of his privacy pursuant to Article 8 of the European Convention to Human Rights.” Of course, having legal letters sent out this way was quite an unusual move for the royals.
Unfortunately, the best way to get everyone talking about an incident is to try and stop them talking about it. The rumors grew; but the palace unsurprisingly refused to comment. However, in April some anonymous courtiers told The Daily Beast that the affair story was “totally wrong and false.” Furthermore, they questioned the reliability of In Touch as a source, adding that it had in the past claimed that “[Barack] Obama was having an affair and Britney [Spears] was having triplets.”
Then, come June Kate and Rose were seen in a room together. They were both present and on diplomatic duty when U.S. President Donald Trump came to visit the palace early that month. Rose was with her husband, director David Rocksavage, and there didn’t appear to be any bad blood between the two women.
That same month, Us Weekly published an article about the whole incident – complete with quotes from more insiders. One of them said, “Kate finds the rumors hurtful, obviously, and hates the thought that one day her children will be able to read about them online.”
However, there was apparently a silver lining to the affair allegations. The insider claimed that Kate hearing the rumors “forced her and William to sit back and examine their relationship, which they realized they should have been doing more often.” A second source who spoke to Us was less positive, however, and they argued that the headlines “didn’t go down well with Kate.” Nevertheless, the source added that the couple were “determined to pull through it and are doing a great job at getting their marriage back on track again.”
The anonymous person informed Us, “It’s not unusual to have a few hiccups in a marriage, especially after eight years, and Kate and William are no different. They’re still going strong. Regardless of their ups and downs, they love each other dearly and their kids are the most important thing in their lives.” And that would appear to be that, at least for now.