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Harry and Meghan's royal exit: from summit talks to their 'permanent' roots in Canada

Everything you need to know about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's plans to 'step back' three days on

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, leave Canada House in London on Tuesday, January 7, 2020. Reuters 
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, leave Canada House in London on Tuesday, January 7, 2020. Reuters 

It's been three days since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world, and seemingly the Royal Family, with news that they planned to "step back" from their roles as senior royals.

In the days since, as The Firm works to forge a solution as "quickly as possible", here is everything you need to know about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's decision to "quit" royal life:

Meghan will be dialling into the 'Sandringham Summit'

The "Sandringham Summit", as it's been dubbed, is set to take place on Monday, January 13. It has been reported that Queen Elizabeth II is meeting Prince Harry and Prince William at her home in the east of England, to devise a “workable solution”. It is also expected that their private secretaries will also be in attendance.

It is not thought that the results of the talks will be too harsh for Prince Harry. According to a royal insider, the queen wants a "swift" resolution.

FILE - In this Tuesday, July 10, 2018 file photo Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew, Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry stand on a balcony to watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace in London. As part of a surprise announcement distancing themselves from the British royal family, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan declared they will "work to become financially independent" _ a move that has not been clearly spelled out and could be fraught with obstacles. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew, Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry stand on a balcony to watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace in London in July 2018. AP

“'There is no suggestion that they will be punished or stripped of their Royal titles or HRH status,” they told the Daily Mail. “Everyone wants to find a solution to this as quickly as possible.”

The Duchess of Sussex is understood to be “dialling in” to talks, having returned to Canada. Prince Harry is expected to remain in the UK until after Thursday, January 16, when he is hosting the draw for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup draw, according to PA.

In an early statement, Buckingham Palace said that discussions with the couple are “at an early stage”.

"We understand their desire to take a different approach but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through," it said.

Prince Charles may not be at the talks

A picture taken on March 17, 2013, shows Oman's then Minister of Culture and Heritage Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said (R) receiving Britain's Prince Charles in the Omani capital Muscat. Oman's new royal ruler Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said pledged to follow the non-interference policy that made the kingdom a vital regional mediator under his late cousin Sultan Qaboos who reigned for half a century. / AFP / Mohammed MAHJOUB
Britain's Prince Charles and Oman's new ruler Sultan Haitham and in the Omani capital Muscat on March 17, 2013. AFP

It was originally reported that Prince Charles would be at the "Sandringham Summit", but the Prince of Wales travelled to Oman on Sunday, January 12 to meet Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said following the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

“The Prince of Wales has travelled overnight to Oman, following the death of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said,” the Daily Mail’s Rebecca English reported. “The Prince will attend the first of three days of official condolences. He will also meet with new Sultan, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said”.

Why are the talks taking place in Sandringham?

When the majority of the royals are based in, or at least have, London homes, why are the talks taking place in Sandringham? The answer is simple: the queen always spends January there.

She arrives annually for her Christmas break in the days before Christmas, around December 20, and stays in Norfolk until after February 6 each year, to mark the anniversary of her father’s death.

Hello magazine reports that "Her Majesty usually remains at her Norfolk estate until 6 February – a date which is of poignant significance for her. The Queen's father, King George VI, passed away in Sandringham on February 6, 1952.

"The then Princess Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, were in Kenya at the time of the King's death and following the sad news, they immediately returned to the UK."

The location of their dogs gives away their plans

Meghan Markle at home in Toronto with her pet dogs. Instagram / The Tig
Meghan Markle at home in Toronto with her pet dogs, Guy and Bogart. Instagram / The Tig

When considering where they are planning on putting down roots, the location of the couple’s pet dogs could be the biggest clue. When the duchess moved to London following the couple’s 2017 engagement, her rescue beagle, Guy, moved with her, but her senior Labrador-shepherd, Bogart, stayed in Canada. As newlyweds, the couple adopted a black Labrador in London.

When the family flew to Canada for six weeks over Christmas, their two UK-based dogs went with them, implying that it wasn’t a short-term location.

"Both the duke and duchess adore their dogs and Guy has already been relocated from Canada to London once when Meghan moved over," the source told the Daily Mail. "She wouldn't have considered a move again for him if it wasn't going to be at least semi-permanent."

Prince William’s disappointment in his brother

epa08116537 (FILE) - Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, (R) walk through a sea of red poppies inside the moat at the Tower of London in London, Britain, 05 August 2014 (reissued 10 January 2020). Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have announced in a statement on 08 January that they will step back as 'senior' royal family members and work to become financially independent. EPA/WILL OLIVER *** Local Caption *** 54290092
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, are thought not to be as close as they once were. EPA

After initial reports that like Prince Charles, Prince William was "incandescent with rage", sources are now speaking about the Duke of Cambridge's "sadness" about the break down of their once close relationship.

While the quotes don’t come directly from him, according to the Sunday Times, the Duke of Cambridge has been reported as telling 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.”

He is said to have added: “I’m sad about that. 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.”

In the Sussexes original statement on Instagram and their newly launched website, they specify that they plan to “continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge”; Prince William’s wife, the Duchess of Cambridge was notably missing.

Battle of the brand: why they may face a fight to protect Sussex Royal

epa08116981 Royal souvenirs depicting Britain's Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex (L) with his wife Catherine the Duchess of Sussex, and Queen Elizabteh II (R) at a souvenir shop in London, Britain, 10 January 2020. Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have announced in a statement on 08 January that they will step back as 'senior' royal family members and work to become financially independent. EPA/ANDY RAIN
Royal souvenirs depicting Britain's Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex with his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Queen Elizabeth II at a souvenir shop in London. EPA

At the end of 2019, it was revealed that the couple had trademarked hundreds of items under their ‘Sussex Royal’ brand, including teaching materials, magazines and clothing.

While they have the branding wrapped up in English, they are yet to register their brand outside of the UK, and a third party has applied to patent Sussex Royal in German with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. If the third party application is successful, it will be registered in 23 EU languages, according to reports.

Has Meghan already got work in Hollywood?

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (L) chats with Disney CEO Robert Iger as Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (2nd R) embraces US singer-songwriter Beyoncé (R) as they attend the European premiere of the film The Lion King in London on July 14, 2019. / AFP / POOL / Niklas HALLE'N
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, left, chats with Disney CEO Robert Iger as Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex embraces US singer-songwriter Beyonce as they attend the European premiere of the film 'The Lion King' in London on July 14, 2019. AFP

It has been reported that the former Suits star’s return to Hollywood is already well under way. The Times has reported that the duchess did voiceover work for a Disney project before leaving the UK for Canada at the end of last year. As royals, they are not permitted to earn “any income in any form”. She is not said to have received a direct payment, instead the fee is thought to have been a donation to Elephants Without Borders.

In a video that has surfaced in the last two days, Prince Harry can be seen talking to Disney chief executive Bob Iger at the July premiere of the Lion King.

“You do know she does voiceovers?” Prince Harry is thought to have said in the clip, while pointing at his wife. Iger then replies, “Ah, I did not know that.”

According to a lip reading expert, the Duke of Sussex then responds: “You seem surprised. She's really interested.” And Disney’s Iger says: “We'd love to try. That's a great idea.”

Updated: January 12, 2020 04:50 PM

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