LONDON (AP) – Ensconced with aides at her royal retreat, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II prepared Sunday for a crisis family meeting today to work out a future for Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, after their dramatic decision to walk away from royal roles.
Well-wishers cheered the monarch as she made her weekly trip to a church at her Sandringham estate in eastern England. Meanwhile, supporters of the royal family’s feuding factions used the British media to paint conflicting pictures of who was to blame for the rift.
Royal officials said the queen had summoned her grandson Harry, his elder brother Prince William and their father Prince Charles to Sandringham, 100 miles north of London, for a meeting on Monday.
The summit reflects the queen’s desire to contain the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s decision to “step back” as senior royals, work to become financially independent and split their time between Britain and North America. The couple, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, made the announcement Wednesday without telling the queen or other senior royals first.
William is expected to travel to Sandringham from London and Harry from his home in Windsor, west of the British capital. Charles will fly back from the Gulf nation of Oman, where he was attending a condolence ceremony Sunday following the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
Meghan, who is in Canada with the couple’s baby son, Archie, is likely to join the meeting by phone.
Buckingham Palace said “a range of possibilities” would be discussed, but the queen was determined to resolve the situation within “days, not weeks.” The palace said the goal was to agree on next steps at todays’ gathering, which follows days of talks among royal courtiers and officials from the U.K. and Canada. Buckingham Palace stressed, however, that “any decision will take time to be implemented.”
Among the details that need to be worked out are who will pay for the couple’s currently taxpayer-funded security, what money-making activities they can undertake and what the tax consequences would be of moving to Canada or the United States.
“The queen has said she wants it done really fast, and that is because she doesn’t want Harry to go off in a huff, I am sure, and not come back,” royal biographer Angela Levin told Sky News. “They want to maintain the link of the family. It would be an absolute tragedy if it was done with a very bad feeling.”