Queen ‘forced to make call to Harry to see if he was coming for Christmas’

The Queen was reportedly forced to call Prince Harry herself to ask if he and Meghan would be joining the other royals for Christmas.

Her Majesty's grandson had been silent on what his plans were and on receiving the unheard of phone call in early November he still waited two days before responding to decline the offer of festivities at Sandringham, it is claimed.

Instead the Sussexes opted to shoot off to Canada with little Archie in tow for a seven week hiatus, which was soon followed by the latest announcement that they would be quitting a senior royals.

The Queen allowed the Duke to announce publicly that the decision to go on the trip had her blessing, but that didn't give the full picture, with rift rumours rife in the royal 'Firm', reports the Daily Mail .

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With Meghan having spoken openly about her struggles in the public spotlight, particularly while she was pregnant, it comes as no surprise to certain royal insiders that the couple would look to pull away from their duties. 

Reports of Harry no longer seeing eye to eye with brother Prince William have been circling for months and now the Sussexes have revealed they will split their time between Britain and America.

Allegedly they have been in discussions with Hollywood crisis management company Sunshine Sachs, which represented Meghan while she was starring in hit TV show Suits.

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And they have even registered their website sussexroyal.com, hiring a small creative firm in the Duchess's home town of Toronto to build it.

Some reports suggest Harry and Meghan have been planning to remove themselves from the centre of the royal family since May last year.

All while keeping their Buckingham Palace advisers out of the loop.

A source told the Mail they spent Christmas "in a vacuum, thinking and plotting" before making their announcement this week to step back and aim to become financially independent.

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It is understood they told senior family members via phone just days before making their announcement.

And while there was surprise, none of the royals, not even the Queen, told them they couldn't.

However, the Mail reports that Her Majesty did want them to come back home and discuss the move and allow the family to sort things out.

But, instead, the announcement was hastily made public before this could fully happen.

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Buckingham Palace made their own statement the same day, apparently without consulting with the Sussexes' team, who were said to be desperately trying to get Harry and Meghan to reconsider anyway.

There have been some calls for the couple to relinquish any public money immediately, with some suggestion they will continue to receive funds for security and travel.

The Queen failed to include a photo of Harry, Meghan or Archie at her desk during her pre-recorded Christmas Day speech.

She also did not include Harry or Archie in an official portrait with her three heirs – Charles, William and George.

All potentially hinting at a severe rift with the Sussexes and their role in the royal family.

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However, one royal insider has said the couple are "not being frozen out" but others say they are annoyed at being rolled out by the royals when it suits due to their star appeal.

Senior editor of The Economist, Anne McElvoy, has said she thinks Prince Charles' is right that a stripping back of the monarchy is happening "by necessity not by choice".

Speaking on Thursday's episode of Question Time on BBC One, Ms McElvoy questioned what exactly is the future role for "those in the outer core" like Harry and Meghan.

She said their "amazing" work could continue away from the spotlight but did question whether a move to America would work and whether it would add to the apparent royal rift.

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Royal author Penny Junor has said the decision echoes that of Princess Diana who stepped aside after splitting from Prince Charles, labelling it "impetuous". 

"It has echoes of Diana when she suddenly announced after her separation [from Charles] that she was stepping back from 50 of her charities without consulting anybody," Ms Junor said.

"All those charities were absolutely devastated. It's the same kind of impetuous behaviour."

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She continued: "The problem is that they are not working for themselves, they are working for a family firm and to be making announcements of this sort without consulting is beyond bizarre."

Following the couple's announcement, US public relations guru Ronn Torossian said they could get “any endorsement deals in the world they may want”.

The CEO of New York-based PR firm 5WPR told the Mirror: “This news, while surprising to many, should not come as such a shock given that the clues were there for months."

He said many people will see this as them "abandoning the family" as well as "increased irritation" by taxpayers, echoing Ms Junor's comments.

While it could further damage the reputation of the royals in light of the ongoing Prince Andrew scandal, he continued.

"The Royal Family is scarred right now, but not out for the count. Their legacy is much larger than just Meghan and Harry."

Mr Torossian said he believed Meghan will remain a "huge superstar" regardless, but is unsure if the decision will afford the Sussexes the "lower profile they seem to crave".

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