“I think Harry was both surprised and very disappointed to have had all of his military titles and the royal patronages taken away from him,” royal expert Katie Nicholl tells ET. “This was the end result after many days of discussion and my understanding of the Sussexes’ camp is that both the couple were hoping they would be able to retain those royal patronages. Behind the scenes they tried very hard to convince Palace courtiers that even though they are living private lives out of the royal family that they are still committed philanthropists, who remained committed to the charities and the patronages that they’ve represented for the past couple of years.”
Shortly following Buckingham Palace’s statement, the couple released a statement of their own, seemingly contradicting the word of Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and noting that they planned to continue working with the charities they’d been supporting in their official duties.
“As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role,” a spokesperson for the duke and duchess said in a statement.
According to Nicholl, this statement did not sit well with Harry’s older brother, Prince William.
“He feels that this statement that the Sussexes put out just moments after Buckingham Palace made the announcement was disrespectful,” Nicholl says of William. “Certainly the feeling at the Palace is that the tone of the email was disrespectful to the monarch. It’s very unusual to hear anyone answer back to the queen, which is essentially, I suppose, what the Sussexes did in that responsive email.”
Following the Meghan and Harry’s statement, several of their royal patronages, including The Invictus Games, Smart Works, and Mayhew, also publicly announced that they plan to continue working with the couple.
“I think also the fact that the queen is very preoccupied at the moment with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, unwell in hospital, suddenly Prince William was feeling very protective,” Nicholl adds.
The 99-year-old royal has been hospitalized for the past week at the request of his doctor.
For more on the royal drama, watch the clip below.
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren’t pleased with the terms of their exit as senior members of the royal family, and their response has upset some of Harry’s family members. Last week, Buckingham Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had officially stepped down as working members of the royal family after the year-long trial period. In doing so, the Palace shared that the couple would be losing their royal patronages and Harry his honorary military titles.