When Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex made the bombshell announcement that they wanted to step back from their royal duties, Queen Elizabeth acted swiftly to finalize the details. She also quickly released a statement after being caught in a “war of words” on Twitter, with one royal expert believing she was able to take back control of the situation.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wanted to step back from royal duties
In January, Prince Harry and Meghan released a statement that shared their plan to step back from their royal duties while splitting their time between North America and the UK.
“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,” their statement said in part.
They added, “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.”
Queen Elizabeth handled the details quickly
Queen Elizabeth pulled together a meeting with Prince Harry, Prince Charles, and Prince William to discuss the Sussexes’ plan and determined that they would exit their royal duties on March 31. As part of the agreement, Prince Harry and Meghan would give up their HRH titles and public funding.
In the documentary, The Queen: Duty Before Family?, royal author Tom Quinn shared the reason why the queen acted so quickly. “The queen would have been aware that this was a storm, that if it wasn’t dealt with quickly it could blow up into something really damaging.”
The queen handled the resulting Twitterstorm
After Prince Harry and Meghan made their announcement, Twitter blew up with comments from royal fans and critics. The queen was able to control the situation, however, by releasing a brief statement.
In the documentary The Queen: In Her Own Words, narrator Andrew Scarborough explained (via Express), “In 2020 she beat Harry and Meghan in a war of words and proved herself to be the queen of social media.”
Royal Expert Wesley Kerr OBE explained, “it was a situation like a kettle which had been coming up to boil and it boiled over.”
“They issued that sudden statement saying that they would be stepping back from their role as senior royals and that they had laid out what their terms would be,” Kerr added.
As a result, Scarborough explained, “#Megxit trended all over the world and dragged the queen into a Twitterstorm.”
The queen was able to quash some of the chatter. “Although the queen had been caught off guard, a brief and concise tweet posted just hours later revealed that discussions were at an early stage,” Scarborough noted. “In just 34 friendly words, the queen had taken back control of the situation.”
“Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex 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,” the queen shared at the time.