The Queen’s decision to allow Harry and Meghan a ‘transition period’ to step away from royal life shows that ‘the crisis is being managed,’ according to the duke’s biographer.
After an urgent summit, the monarch agreed to let the Duke and Duchess of Sussex split their time between Canada and the UK and quit life as ‘senior’ members of The Firm.
Penny Junor said Harry’s recent actions have been ‘entirely out of character’ and he was probably torn between supporting his unhappy wife and love for his 93-year-old grandmother.
The writer said the duke and Meghan were both in a ‘fragile state’ and hoped yesterday’s show of family support would ‘take the pressure off.’
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘The outcome of the meeting sounds very optimistic.
‘No bridges have been burnt.
‘I imagine it was a pretty difficult day and a day that needed to be handled with kid-gloves.
‘I do think Harry and Meghan need to be handled with kid-gloves at the moment because they are in a very fragile state.
‘That could have catastrophic consequences for the monarch because they could go off and make mischief.’
The Queen has now tasked courtiers to come back with a solution ‘within days’ as issues surrounding their titles, taxes, visas, security and funding still need to be ironed out.
There are concerns about how they will achieve ‘financial independence’ as they are reliant on an annual £2.3 million handout from Prince Charles, who has reportedly made clear he doesn’t have ‘unlimited resources.’
The pair have trademarked the Sussex Royal brand for use on more than 100 items but worries loom large of questionable business deals or the threat of an explosive TV interview.
One senior figure said there would have to be ‘strict instructions’ on branding adding: ‘No one wants to see the Sussex name on a tub of margarine’ – a nod to when Princess Diana’s Memorial Fund logo appeared on millions of Flora boxes a year after her death.
Meghan is currently in Canada with eight-month Archie and there are no signs she intends to return to the UK.
She did not dial in to the meeting between Charles, William, Harry and the Queen in the Long Library on the Sandringham estate as it was not deemed ‘necessary.’
The monarch issued a rare, candid statement saying that the family ‘had very constructive discussions.’
She notably referred to Harry and Meghan by their first names and in a sentence tinged with sadness, she revealed that she ‘would have preferred’ the Sussexes remained ‘full-time working royals.’
Ms Junor said the statement read not like the head of state but ‘like a grandmother talking about the family.’
‘By letting them go, I would hope that the family is relieving the pressure off the Sussexes,’ she added.
‘If they are under no pressure may be they might decide that they could come back and work and rejoin the family again.’
The royal biographer said the decision by Harry and Meghan not to spend Christmas with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh was ‘inexplicable.’
They were the first royals to meet baby Archie and are currently neighbours on the Windsor estate.
Ms Junor added: ‘The Queen has a fantastically good relationship with Harry; she adores him and he certainly adores her.
‘His grandparents were there for him and William when their mother died and the relationship is very close and very important to him.
She said the monarch has always ‘tolerated’ Harry’s misdemeanours and the duke would always be very anxious not to upset the Queen.
She added: ‘I imagine this has left her all feeling very hurt and angry at the way this has turned out.
‘That no-one has managed to control it or no-one spotted that Harry and Meghan were so unhappy that they were going to do something nuclear.’
Harry and Meghan’s made the bombshell announcement last week that they were going to ‘carve out a new, progressive role’ and divide their time between the UK and North America.
Ms Junor said there appeared to be no strategy behind it and the duke and duchess probably had different reasons for the shock decision.
The writer added that the Harry the nation had fallen in love with – the ‘charming, cheerful, self-deprecating Jack the Lad’ – has been missing for months.
‘Harry has probably found life outside the Army quite difficult as he did not come out to a proper job,’ she said.
‘He was fine for the first couple of years when he was setting up the Invictus Games but he now does not have that structured life that he once did.
‘I think Meghan has probably found life within the Royal Family a real culture shock.
‘The British monarchy is a very curious institution and we expect them to behave in a certain way.
‘It is hard to fathom for someone from the outside and Meghan hasn’t grown up with it.
‘She may have thought that coming in to the family as Harry’s wife would have her a platform to further all the causes that she cares about – women’s empowerment and racial equality.
‘Good on her but the monarchy is the wrong vehicle for that.
‘The royal family has subtly evolved as society evolves but the idea is that they do not lead change, they follow.’
After less than 20 months as part of royal life, Meghan is reported to have told Harry over Christmas in Vancouver that ‘it’s not working for me.’
Harry has always been a slightly reluctant royal but was a ‘team player’ who wanted to help his grandmother and saw how he was able to use his elevated position for good.
Ms Junor added: ‘Harry, I think, will have been very torn.
‘He has fought for Queen and country.
‘He might be a bit of a loose cannon but there is no doubt he loves his family.
‘However, he also loves his wife and if she is unhappy it’s natural as her husband to try and make her happy.
‘It looks as if he is being forced to choose between his blood family or his new one.
‘It’s a difficult choice and one no-one would want to have to make in an ideal world.’
Princess Diana was at pains for her two boys to be treated equally despite their different destinies and the plan was for Harry to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with William when he takes the throne.
However, relations between the brothers are at an all-time low with William reportedly advising Harry to slow down his relationship with Meghan.
In turn, the Duke of Sussex is said to believe the Cambridges never gave his wife a chance.
Ms Junor said if the Duke of Edinburgh, 98, were in better health he would have been the one who could try to reconcile the two.
Failing that, she said, their former nanny Tiggy Legge-Burke or ex private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton could bridge the widening gap.
Harry’s biographer added: ‘The problem is Harry seems to have turned his back on many of his old and trusted friends.
‘I think he is quite isolated at the moment, which makes [a reconciliation] more difficult.’
The Queen has called for a ‘transition period’ and acknowledged that there are still complex issues to arrange for Harry and Meghan’s new life.
Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau said the costs, and what role they will play in Canadian life, would be the subject of future discussions.
Ms Junor concluded: ‘I don’t think it’s possible to be half royal and half not.
‘In an ideal solution they would be persuaded to change their minds after spending some time away.
‘A lot has happened to Meghan in a small space of time and she has no friends or family here.
‘But she hasn’t given it all terribly long.
‘I would hope she, and Harry, can be persuaded to give it another go because they are loved.’