Making a choice. According to royal expert Matthew Dennison, Queen Elizabeth II decided to stick by the monarchy’s side when it came to tension with her grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan Markle.
In Us Weekly’s exclusive excerpt from his new book, The Queen, Dennison recalled the days that followed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s announcement they were stepping back as working members of the royal family in January 2020.
“Elizabeth was hurt and disappointed,” the author wrote, noting that the ruler, 95, made up her mind about the situation quickly, deciding that — based on her grandson’s decision — Meghan, 40, and Harry, 36, would no longer be able to use their “royal highness” titles.
“Elizabeth’s official statement expressed loving finality: ‘It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.’ It was an attempt to reassert control in the interests of damage limitation, and a decisive but dark beginning to a new decade,” the U.K. native writes in the book, which is set to be released September 1. “Elizabeth had never been a sentimental woman; she had acted in the only way she understood.”
The Behind the Mask author continued: “As throughout a life in which she had consistently honoured her father’s belief that ‘the highest of distinctions is the service of others’, she had placed the monarchy first, safeguarding its mission of service and duty that could never, she was certain, be a part-time calling.”
Following the Suits alum and Harry’s decision, the couple moved to North America with their 2-year-old son, Archie — but the drama didn’t stop. In February, they announced they were making their leave of absence from royal life permanent, a decision that “saddened” the queen, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace.
Weeks later, the couple took part in a tell-all CBS interview. During the broadcast, they revealed they were expecting a baby girl (their daughter, Lilibet, was born in June) and spoke up about the mental health issues that had arisen during Meghan’s time in the palace.
Soon after, a source told Us exclusively that the queen had been in “constant crisis meetings” since the interview aired.
“She has barely had any time to herself since the interview,” the insider said. “The queen has always had a soft spot for Harry and looked out for him, so [she] is incredibly hurt and shocked that it has come to this.”
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!