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Harry and Meghan hopeful talks on future roles end ‘sooner rather than later’

It is understood meetings are ‘progressing well’, with UK and Canadian governments consulted.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex plan to step back as senior royals (Andrew Milligan/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex plan to step back as senior royals (Andrew Milligan/PA)

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are “hopeful” discussions to find workable solutions for their future roles in the royal family can be concluded “sooner rather than later”, a source has said.

Harry and Meghan’s plans to step back as senior royals, become financially independent and split their time between the UK and North America are the subject of urgent meetings begun in earnest on Friday after directions from the Queen and other senior royals.

It is understood the meetings are “progressing well” with UK and Canadian governments consulted.

Speaking about the duke and duchess, the source told PA news agency: “They, like everyone, are hopeful this can all be worked out, sooner rather than later.

“It is in everyone’s interest for this to be figured out, and figured out quickly, but not at the expense of the outcome.”

Harry and Meghan’s plans were announced in a bombshell statement on Wednesday that rocked the royal family and were said to have left the Queen and other senior royals “hurt”.

The royal family are in the midst of a crisis that overshadows the recent difficulties they faced with the Duke of York’s disastrous television interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

But it appears that the head of state, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge have moved quickly to resolve what some commentators have dubbed the monarchy’s new Wallis Simpson moment – a reference to Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936 to be with American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

It is understood that a day-long series of meetings and phones calls were held by officials and royal aides trying to work up proposals for the Sussexes’ future roles.

The timetable for finding workable solutions remains days rather than weeks.

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Meghan has returned to Canada (Chris Jackson/PA)

In another development Harry and Meghan appeared to signal their intentions to forge ahead with building a life in Canada after Meghan returned to the country and reports indicated Harry will join her soon.

The couple had only recently arrived in the UK after spending an extended festive break in the Commonwealth country but the duchess is now back with baby son Archie who remained behind, reportedly looked after by a nanny and friends of Meghan.

It is understood Meghan was always due to go back to Canada after a brief return trip to the UK.

The couples may be creating a second home for themselves away from Britain but a source said it was “business as usual” and it is understood a normal programme of UK royals events are planned for the coming months.

Harry and Meghan’s Instagram account returned to publicising their appearances, with pictures released showing the couple during a private visit on Tuesday to the Hubb Community Kitchen in North Kensington.

It is run by a group of Grenfell supporting women whose recipes were featured in a cookbook backed by Meghan and the images were the first official releases on the online platform since the Sussexes’ announcement.

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Harry is expected to join his wife after attending a Buckingham Palace event at the end of next week, the Telegraph reported, but he is likely to be in the country when a way forward for the couple’s future role is announced.

Speaking about Harry and Meghan’s future public engagements a source said “We’re operating under business as usual, we’ve got a programme and a schedule”.

The couple attended a diary meeting with their team earlier this week, where they chatted through their engagements up until June.

The future role for the duke and duchess has been described as royal “disruptors”, according to the Evening Standard, with the newspaper reporting sources as saying they see themselves along the lines of tech innovators who have shaken up their industry.

Broadcaster Tom Bradby, a friend of Harry and Meghan, claimed the couple were made aware, while away in Canada for six weeks, that the monarchy’s focus in the future would be on those at the top of the line of succession.

The ITV News At Ten anchor, appearing on a news programme on his channel, said: “It had been made clear to them in their absence there was going to be a slimmed-down monarchy and they weren’t really a part of it.”

But the Times reported the royal family has moved to reassure the couple about their position, to counter the claims of the broadcaster.

US President Donald Trump told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that it was “sad” for the Queen.

In a clip posted by Fox News on Friday Mr Trump, who has lavished praise on the Queen before, said: “I think it’s sad. She is a great woman.

“She has never made a mistake. If you look she has had like a flawless time.

“I just have such respect for the Queen, I don’t think this should be happening to her.”

PA

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