LONDON: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is set to hold talks Monday with Prince Harry for the first time since he and his wife, Meghan, unveiled their controversial plan to walk away from royal roles — a dramatic family summit meant to chart a future course for the couple.
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.
The meeting at the monarch’s private Sandringham estate in eastern England will also include Harry’s father Prince Charles and his brother Prince William. It comes after days of intense news coverage, in which supporters of the royal family’s feuding factions used the British media to paint conflicting pictures of who was to blame for the rift.
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 goal was to agree on next steps at Monday’s gathering, which follows days of talks among royal courtiers and officials from the UK 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.
Home Secretary Priti Patel refused to comment on future security arrangements for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
“I’m not going to provide any detailed information on the security arrangements for either them or any members of the royal family or for any protected individuals — that’s thoroughly inappropriate for me to do so,” she told the BBC.
“At this moment in time, right now, the royal family themselves need some time and space for them to work through the current issues that they’re dealing with.”