Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 June 2020

British royals in crisis meeting over Prince Harry and Meghan

Meeting comes after couple announce plans to step back from frontline roles

(FILES) In this file photo Britain's Prince Harry stands with his fiancée US actress Meghan Markle as she shows off her engagement ring whilst they pose for a photograph in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace in west London on November 27, 2017, following the announcement of their engagement. Queen Elizabeth II and other senior British royals were gathering for a meeting Monday with Prince Harry in an attempt to solve the crisis triggered by his bombshell announcement that he and wife Meghan were stepping back from the royal frontline. Harry's father Prince Charles and brother Prince William, with whom he has strained relations, will join the monarch at her private Sandringham estate in eastern England, according to British media. / AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS
(FILES) In this file photo Britain's Prince Harry stands with his fiancée US actress Meghan Markle as she shows off her engagement ring whilst they pose for a photograph in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace in west London on November 27, 2017, following the announcement of their engagement. Queen Elizabeth II and other senior British royals were gathering for a meeting Monday with Prince Harry in an attempt to solve the crisis triggered by his bombshell announcement that he and wife Meghan were stepping back from the royal frontline. Harry's father Prince Charles and brother Prince William, with whom he has strained relations, will join the monarch at her private Sandringham estate in eastern England, according to British media. / AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS

Queen Elizabeth and her heirs will meet Prince Harry on Monday to thrash out a plan for Harry and Meghan after the couple triggered a royal crisis by announcing they would be stepping back from their duties and spending more time in North America.

Prince Charles, heir to the British throne and Harry's father, and Prince William, Harry's elder brother, will attend the meeting at the queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England.

Harry and Meghan's shock announcement that they would step away from royal duties and spend part of their time in North America has tipped the Windsor family into crisis by exposing divisions among senior royals and triggering a discussion about just what it means to be a royal in the 21st Century.

The couple consulted neither the queen nor Charles on the announcement, made on Instagram and their own website, a step seen as impertinent and premature by a family which traces its roots back through a thousand years of European history.

Harry and Meghan said they wanted to carve out a progressive new role for themselves and work to become "financially independent."

But it was unclear how the couple will become what royal biographers said was akin to being a "half royal" - and who will pay for their transatlantic lifestyles. Meghan has returned to Canada to be with their son Archie after the couple spent six weeks in the country in late 2019.

In a sign of just how tense royal relations have become, British newspapers said that Harry and Meghan could threaten to give an extensive interview to a major US network.

Princes William and Harry deny 'bullying claims'

On Sunday, January 12 it was reported by the Sunday Times that Prince William had told a friend of his relationship with his brother: “I've put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can't do that any more, we're separate entities.” UK papers also reported that Prince Harry had felt forced out by William's "bullying attitude".

However, the brothers have since released a joint statement denying "bullying claims".

The statement, released on behalf of the brothers, reads: "Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge.

"For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful."

Updated: January 13, 2020 04:35 PM

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