The Duke and Duchess of Sussex hope talks over 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 were the subject of urgent meetings begun in earnest on Friday after directions from the Queen and other senior royals.
It is understood the meetings were “progressing well” with the 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”.
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.”
He said there had been a lot of arguments, adding: “Certainly the rest of the family find Harry and Meghan very difficult and, from Harry and Meghan’s point of view, they’re just being driven out as they see it.”
But the Times reported that palace officials had stressed Harry and Meghan had always been central to the monarchy’s plans, with one aide quoted as saying: “It is strongly disputed that the Sussexes are not at the centre of any future slimmed-down monarchy.”
An opinion poll for the Daily Mail found 76% of people said Harry and Meghan should sacrifice their Metropolitan Police protection after they “step back” from their senior royal roles, and 73% said the same for taxpayer funded security measures.
A total of 60% of people questioned said the monarch was treated badly, while in his first comments on the crisis, 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.”
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.
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.
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 royal events is 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, west London, run by a group of Grenfell supporting women whose recipes were featured in a cookbook backed by Meghan.
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.