ROYALS

What Prince Philip really thought about Megxit

The duke made his feelings on the royal rift crystal clear

Just before Christmas 2019, the Prince of Wales confided in the Queen and Philip about Prince Harry and his wife Meghan wanting to live abroad and thus reduce their roles to part-time royals.

WATCH: Prince Philip leaves Sandringham after Harry and Meghan outburst

The Queen, at first, deferred to Charles on the matter and hoped he could resolve it without her having to become embroiled in the embryonic “Megxit” controversy.

In truth, Philip had not got off to the best start with Meghan Markle.

It had been reported, when it became clear the couple’s whirlwind romance was serious, that Philip had advised his grandson Harry against marrying her and allegedly told him, “One steps out with actresses, one doesn’t marry them.”

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Prince Philip advised Prince Harry not to marry Meghan. (Credit: Getty)

The comments were reported in The Sunday Times in a magazine article by Sophia Money-Coutts about the “rift” between Harry and Meghan and Kate and William.

The journalist, formerly a writer at society magazine Tatler, and daughter of retired private banker Crispin Money-Coutts, 9th Baron Latymer, stuck by her story, and Buckingham Palace decided not to comment on the matter any further.

While he occasionally flouted royal protocol, the Queen had a soft spot for her grandson Harry.

She helped him promote the Invictus Games, the sporting event he produced in 2014 to encourage wounded veterans to compete and challenge themselves.

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Prince Harry presents medals at the Invictus Games. (Credit: Getty)

He invited his grandmother to take part in a promotional video featuring the then-US president Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in 2016, when the Queen feigned surprise that the president was keen to win.                      

Harry told writer Angela Levin, “You could almost see her thinking, ‘Why the hell does nobody ask me to do these things more often?’ She is so incredibly skilled she only needed one take. Meanwhile, I was like a gibbering wreck.

“I was more nervous than anyone else.”

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Queen Elizabeth met with the Obamas many times across their term in office. (Credit: Getty)

Angela said afterwards, “It also showed the Queen would do almost anything for her grandson. The feeling is mutual.”

Harry said he absolutely adored his grandmother.

What he did next shocked the entire royal family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced on January 8, 2020, that they would step back as “senior” royals and work to become financially independent, planning to divide their time between the UK and the US.

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back as senior royals in 2020. (Credit: Getty)

Philip struggled greatly with what he saw as a lack of respect shown to the Queen by Harry, whose behaviour, he felt, had been unbecoming of a prince.

Both Her Majesty and the duke had a soft spot for Prince Harry, but on this matter they both felt he and his new wife had behaved recklessly and without proper consideration to the consequences to the institution they had both signed up to serve, the crown.

Yes, they thought their behaviour was unpredictable and showed a total lack of respect, said a senior member of the royal household.

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Prince Philip felt Harry’s behaviour was ‘unbecoming’. (Credit: Getty)

The Queen and Prince Charles then had to deal with “Megxit”.

Last October, Meghan launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday newspaper for “unlawfully” publishing a private letter, and Harry publicly condemned the tabloids for behaviour that he said “destroys lives”.

Referring to his late mother Princess Diana, Harry said, “I lost my mother, and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”

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A young Harry with his mother, Princess Diana. (Credit: Getty)

In an emotional interview that aired soon afterwards, Meghan spoke about the toll of being a new mother under the glare of the tabloid newspapers.

“It’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes,” she said.

When asked whether the experience had “really been a struggle”, she replied with a subdued: “Yes.”

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Harry and Meghan with their firstborn, Archie. (Credit: Getty)

The dramatic sequence of events led to the sixth-in-line to the British throne effectively resigning from his frontline role.

After many months of reflection and internal discussions, Harry and Meghan genuinely believe they are helping to deliver a slimmed-down monarchy and have the ability to reach out to a younger and more diverse audience than other members of the royal family.

Harry originally contacted his father about the possibility of him and his wife spending more time in Canada and America just before Christmas, but was told he needed to come up with a thought-out plan.

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Prince Charles told his son to come up with a plan. (Credit: Getty)

Harry sent a draft proposal about his future role to his father early in the New Year but was again informed that more time was needed to think through the complex implications, particularly regarding funding.

Harry asked to have a private meeting with the Queen at Sandringham as soon as he, Meghan and their son Archie arrived back from their long Christmas break in Canada.

He was told bluntly that while the Queen was happy to meet him, she would not under any circumstances be drawn into discussions on his wish list until he had first talked them over in detail with his father.

Indeed, any talk of a meeting was subsequently blocked by courtiers.

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The Queen was happy to meet Harry but would not discuss funding. (Credit: Getty)

That said, the Queen gave explicit instructions to Harry that neither he nor his wife should go public about their future plans at this time, and until it had been agreed on and signed off by her and the Prince of Wales.

Within days the situation had deteriorated further, when Prince Charles and Prince William, the next two direct heirs in line of succession, were only sent a copy of Prince Harry and Meghan’s statement 10 minutes before it was released, and without any further consultation.

It was a complete mess and Harry and Meghan were acting like loose cannons.

Philip was then spotted leaving Sandringham in the morning, after he was reportedly made furious by Meghan and Harry’s intention to step back as senior royals.

The Duke of Edinburgh, who was seen sitting in the passenger seat of his Land Rover, wearing a seatbelt, is understood to have said, “What on Earth are they playing at?” after the Sussexes issued their statement.

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Prince Philip was reportedly furious at the Megxit announcement. (Credit: Getty)

One senior member of the royal household told me that the duke’s fit of pique was due to seeing his wife unsettled and upset by the couple’s behaviour.

“To say that the duke feels they let the side down would be a considerable understatement.

“He was furious and felt that the Queen and, indeed, his son the Prince of Wales had always given Prince Harry plenty of scope to live the life that he wanted.

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Prince Philip felt Harry and Meghan had been given plenty of scope to live the life they wanted. (Credit: Getty)

“Yes, he was extremely disappointed by their behaviour and the way they tried to back both the Prince of Wales and Her Majesty into a corner by releasing that statement.

“It was that Instagram post and the statement released on the couple’s newly launched and unsanctioned website SussexRoyal.com that did the most damage and created what became quite an awkward atmosphere.

“It was a question of trust. There was a feeling that Harry and Meghan had knowingly breached that trust. It showed a total lack of respect.”

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