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Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Didn’t Receive ‘Official Blessing’ From Queen Elizabeth Before Stepping Down From Royal Family (Exclusive)

Not following protocol? Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan announced that they are stepping back as senior members of the British royal family on Wednesday, January 8, but they didn’t inform the most important member — Queen Elizabeth II.

Related: Stars React to Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Stepping Back

“Harry and Meghan made their statement without the official blessing of the queen,” a source tells Us Weekly exclusively. “It’s not that they didn’t care — it was a miscommunication.”

The Duke, 35, and Duchess of Sussex, 38, issued a statement on Wednesday detailing their wish to restructure their roles in the royal family.

“We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the joint statement read. “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.”

Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex Shutterstock

Related: Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan’s Complex Relationship: Everything We Know

The statement continued on that the royal couple plans to “balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America” while still “continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.”

The queen, 93, issued her own statement via Buckingham Palace hours later. “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage,” the statement read. “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”

The news came just one day before Prince William‘s wife, Duchess Kate, celebrated her 38th birthday. A source told Us on Thursday, January 9, that the timing wasn’t the best for William, 37.

“Harry and Meghan rubbed salt into the wounds by making the huge announcement a day before Kate’s birthday,” the insider revealed. “It hasn’t gone down well with William.”

Related: Inside Prince William and Prince Harry’s Complicated Relationship Over the Years

A second source told Us that William was “blindsided by Harry and Meghan’s decision and statement” adding that the Duke of Cambridge is “incredibly hurt, but at the same time he has his own family to focus on and is trying to move forward with his life.”

Harry and Meghan sent their best wishes to Kate for her birthday on Thursday via a comment left on Kensington Palace’s Instagram page. “Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Cambridge today!” the comment, which included emojis of a cake and heart, read.

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