Royal News

Queen ‘wanted Harry and Meghan to live in a Commonwealth country’ after Malta experience

The 94-year-old monarch was drawing on her own experiences in Malta, where she and the Duke of Edinburgh lived before her father King George VI’s death in 1952. Her Majesty and Prince Philip loved their time in Malta because it was a relief from the royal scene, a place where they could be themselves, raise their family, and it was also good preparation for their future. They still look back fondly on that time and the Queen felt maybe Harry and Meghan could enjoy the same thing somewhere in the Commonwealth, away from the glare of the media.

Therefore, the “Commonwealth strategy” was devised in 2019 by the Queen’s former Private Secretary Christopher Geidt along with Sir David Manning, who had been a mentor to the two princes.

It was on this backdrop that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex went on their tour of Africa, after which they took some time off in Canada before dropping their bombshell news that they were leaving the Royal Family.

Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.

Last week, Ms Gripper interviewed Robert Lacey, author of the new book ‘Battle of Brothers’ about William and Harry’s relationship, and he described this so-called “Commonwealth strategy”.

He said: “Harry and Meghan were actually planning to sit down with the Queen and the rest of the family and sort out their wish to be different sorts of royals and to take up the idea, which came from the Queen herself, that they should live in a Commonwealth country.

“So far as we know, here we are towards the end of 2020, these events we’re talking about happened at the beginning of 2020, and it would seem that a year before that or so, the Queen realised that things were going wrong.

“She brought in her former private secretary Christoher Geidt, a trusted and experienced figure to help Meghan and Harry and the whole situation.

“They devised this plan, along with Sir David Manning who, until then, had been a sort of mentor to the two princes.

“And they came up with this idea that I call in the book the ‘Commonwealth strategy’, which seems to have derived a lot from the Queen’s own experience in Malta, when Prince Philip was serving in Malta after the war and before the Queen so unexpectedly came to the throne.

“She ‒ I don’t know if it was her idea ‒ but she is certainly credited with saying she thought that the experience she had in Malta served both for her and Prince Philip ‒ then the Duke of Edinburgh ‒ as a very good preparation and a sort of relief from the royal scene, and perhaps Harry and Meghan would benefit from the same.

“With that suggestion in mind, they went on their tour to Africa last year.

“That was the tour on which, of course, at the end they gave the interviews that revealed to the world what some had suspected, but couldn’t quite imagine was true, that there had been a diversion of aths between William and Harry.”

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The fact that the Queen had made such an effort to help Harry and Meghan forge new roles for themselves is probably why it was such a shock to her and the rest of the Royal Family when they unilaterally decided that was not what they wanted after all.

Instead of going to live in a Commonwealth country, they wanted to step back from duties altogether, live in the US and forge their own independent path away from the monarchy.

Meghan and Harry now live in a £11.4million mansion in Montecito, Santa Barbara.

They have said they want to be financially independent, and as such have signed up to the prestigious Harry Walker Agency for public speaking and signed a multi-million dollar deal with Netflix to produce programmes.

During the coronavirus lockdown, they have done numerous video calls, interviews and speeches from the comfort of their home.

They have also stirred controversy by wading into political matters, encouraging Americans to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

While they have not explicitly supported any candidate, it is widely believed that they support Democratic nominee Joe Biden over President Donald Trump.

It is understood that they will stay in the US for Christmas, but will return to the UK for an extended period in 2021.

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Battle of Brothers: William, Harry and the Inside Story of a Family in Tumult’ was written by Robert Lacey and published by William Collins on October 15, 2020. It is available here.

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