Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finally decided to pull the plug on their senior royal roles once a certain heir photo was released by Buckingham Palace.
The New York Post reports that according to author Andrew Morton, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were taken aback when a 2020 photo of the late Queen Elizabeth II — and her heirs, the now King Charles, Prince William and Prince George — made its debut.
“The royal couple suspected that the entire institution was conspiring against them. As they saw it, the evidence was all around them. The unspoken code was straightforward: the future of the monarchy was assured, with or without Meghan and Harry,” Morton claimed in his unauthorised biography, Meghan: A Hollywood Princess.
The photograph was taken in the Throne Room at the palace. Two days after its release, Harry and Meghan revealed that they would be officially leaving The Firm.
“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. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment,” their statement, which was released on Jan. 8, 2020, read at the time.
“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. 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,” they continued. “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 couple currently reside in Montecito, California, with son Archie, 4, and daughter Lilibet, 2. Their choice to exit the UK launched an even deeper feud between Harry and William — not to mention, the release of Harry’s book Spare and the couple’s Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan.
In the doc, Harry claimed that William yelled at him over his decision.
“It was terrifying to have my brother screaming and shouting at me, and my father say things that simply weren’t true, and my grandmother quietly sit there and take it all in,” he said.
He added: “The saddest part of it was this wedge created between me and my brother, so that he’s now on the institution side. And part of that I get — I understand that’s his inheritance and its already engrained in him that part of his responsibility is the survival of this institution.”
He also alleged that there was “institutional gaslighting” and that Meghan was “being fed to the wolves.”
“They’re happy to lie to protect my brother, but they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us,” he said. In his autobiography, released just months after Queen Elizabeth died, Harry also accused William of physically attacking him and pushing him into a dog bowl over an argument about Meghan.
The brothers would go on to reunite for the first time publicly to pay tribute to the queen at a memorial in September 2022.
However, they appeared to not speak or even cross paths when Harry — who did not join for the festivities — returned to the UK for dad King Charles’ coronation in May.
He sat three rows behind William, Kate Middleton and their three children. After the service, Harry immediately flew back to California.
This article originally appeared in New York Post and was reproduced with permission