Prince Harry and Meghan Markle feel they are being driven out by other members of the Royal Family after the couple learned they wouldn’t have major roles in a slimmed-down monarchy, claimed Tom Bradby, an ITV reporter and a friend of the Sussexes. Bradby’s statement comes after the couple made a shock announcement on 8 January that they plan to step down from senior roles in the Royal family.
Bradby, with whom Meghan Markle and Prince Harry spoke about the problems they face – intense media scrutiny, fake news, and mental issues – in an ITV documentary, claimed that the Sussexes were made aware during their six-week break in Canada that those at the top line of succession would become a priority in the Royal Family. Prince Harry is sixth in line to the throne.
"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", Bradby said in an ITV news programme.
Buckingham Palace has dismissed suggestions that the Sussexes were sidelined. The Times reported citing palace officials that the couple was always part of the trusted circle. "The future of the monarchy always had the Sussexes very much at the heart of it, and perhaps still will, depending on what structures they arrive at. I don’t think you could point to any evidence of them being forced out, or made to feel unwelcome", the source told The Times.
Reports of a slimmed-down monarchy emerged after Prince Andrew found himself at the heart of a sex scandal, involving US billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The Duke of York came under harsh criticism from the public for his ties to the convicted sex offender and allegations that he had sex with an underage girl.
British media reported that Prince Charles, next in line to the throne, wants to reform the monarchy to focus on members of the immediate family, his sons and wives – Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles have instructed top aides to find a solution over the royal crisis and the Sussexes’ future roles in the family. In their statement on Wednesday, the couple said it wants to become "financially independent", but stressed they would continue to honour their duty to the Queen as they would split their time between the United Kingdom and North America (Canada and the United States).
This statement caused strong backlash among the public as hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on protection and travel of royals from taxpayers' wallets. The fact that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle plan to spend a lot of time abroad means that the bill will significantly increase.
A poll for the Daily Mail found that 76 percent of Brits believe the couple should no longer be protected by the Metropolitan Police, while 60 percent of respondents think that the couple should be stripped off financial privileges and repay taxpayers for the $3 million renovation of their Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.