The Queen Played an Upsetting Role in Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Decision to Leave

The Queen's 2019 Christmas Day speech reportedly pushed Meghan Markle and Prince Harry further towards stepping down as senior royals.

london, united kingdom july 10 embargoed for publication in uk newspapers until 24 hours after create date and time queen elizabeth ii, meghan, duchess of sussex and prince harry, duke of sussex watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the royal air force from the balcony of buckingham palace on july 10, 2018 in london, england the 100th birthday of the raf, which was founded on on 1 april 1918, was marked with a centenary parade with the presentation of a new queens colour and flypast of 100 aircraft over buckingham palace photo by max mumbyindigogetty images
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  • The Queen's 2019 Christmas Day speech reportedly pushed Meghan Markle and Prince Harry further towards stepping down as senior royals.
  • The monarch displayed photos of Kate Middleton, Prince William, and their children; Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles; and her father, King George VI. Not featured? Meghan, Harry, or baby Archie.
  • According to Finding Freedom authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, the snub served as "yet another sign that they needed to consider their own path." 

Yet another revelation from Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand's Sussex biography, Finding Freedom—the Queen's 2019 Christmas Day speech played a significant role in Meghan and Harry's decision to step down as senior royals. More specifically, Meghan and Harry were (understandably!) hurt by the family photos displayed on the Queen's desk during the speech. Kate Middleton, Prince William, and their children were all pictured; as were Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, as well as the Queen's father, King George VI. Not included? Meghan, Harry, or their son Archie Harrison. Which would hurt my feelings too!

"Harry felt as though he and Meghan had long been sidelined by the institution and were not a fundamental part of its future," Scobie and Durand write, as quoted in the Mirror. "One didn't have to look further than the family photos displayed during the Queen's Speech on Christmas Day."

"In the Green Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, where the Queen delivered her address, viewers glimpsed photos of the Cambridges and their children, Charles and Camilla, Prince Philip and a black and white image of the sovereign's father, King George VI," the royal biographers continue."Noticeably absent was a photo of Harry, Meghan and their new baby, Archie."

"Palace sources insisted that the photos were chosen to represent the direct line of succession," Scobie and Durand continue. "But for Harry and Meghan, it was yet another sign that they needed to consider their own path."

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Emily Dixon
Emily Dixon

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.