The Queen knew her grandson Prince Harry wasn’t happy in his royal role, and that the Duke and his wife Meghan Markle were struggling with their path.
But she had no idea just how unhappy they were, and she certainly wasn’t expecting them to quit, insiders have claimed.
A new book about the royals, Battle of Brothers, suggests the couple had tried to speak to Prince Charles and the Monarch before releasing their bombshell statement, but didn’t have much luck.
In their life-changing Instagram post, they said they wished to “carve out a progressive new role within [the royal family]” – and become financially independent.
But what exactly triggered their decision, which they said they had been dwelling on for months?
In his new biography, royal expert and author Robert Lacey suggests there were three main reasons why Meghan and Harry decided to call it quits.
Lacey explains the points were highlighted during Harry’s hoax call with Russian pranksters pretending to be environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
In what he believed was a private call, Harry spoke of his desire for the freedom to try and make change, his hatred of the media and making the “right decision” for Archie.
Lacey writes: “‘To try and encourage real change…’ Here was Reason One for Harry and Meghan having surrendered their not-so-treasured royal status – to enjoy the freedom to speak out and to agitate for change more easily, without royal constitutional constraints.
“The couple wanted to change and ‘try and make more of a difference without being criticised’.”
The second reason he quotes is Harry’s hate for the media, saying the publicity around them had been “a dreadful ordeal”.
The third and final point Harry discussed with the tricksters was Archie.
According to the book, Harry said: “Sometimes the right decision isn’t always the easiest one, and the decision certainly wasn’t the easy one.
“But it was the right decision for our family – the right decision to be able to protect my son.”
Never miss a Royal moment
Keep up to date with all the latest news from the Queen, Charles, Wiliaml, Kate, Harry, Meghan, George, Charlotte, Louis and the rest of the family.
We’ll send the best Royal news directly to your inbox so you never have to miss a thing. Sign up to our newsletter here.
Meghan Markle Meghan Markle profile – age to net worth CV from days as struggling actress How Meghan has changed Harry Why Meghan wears shoes which are too big
The final point is something Meghan has also spoken about, most recently during a virtual chat for the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit.
She appeared to defend her and Prince Harry’s decision to quit royal life saying that “sometimes making the best decision for you and your family might not be the popular one”.
Speaking from her home in Santa Barbra, California, she said: “My faith is greater than my fear”.
Robert Lacey’s Battle of Brothers is out now.