Once Meghan Markle and Prince Harry decided that they were ready to leave the royal family, it was all systems go — but they still wanted to work with the royal family to make things run smoothly. Unfortunately, the royal family wasn’t quite as eager, and the Sussexes’ insistent calls to set up a meeting and agree on terms were met with less-than-timely replies. In fact, Meghan and Harry were stood up by the Queen’s office so many times, royal bio Finding Freedom reveals they hatched a desperate plan to get her attention, contemplating getting straight in a car from Heathrow Airport and driving up to the monarch’s front door unannounced. In case you’re a little behind on The Crown and are wondering how big an offense that would be: huge. Walking in on the Queen unannounced is like walking in on regular people in the shower. But desperate times called for desperate measures, and Meghan and Harry seriously considered incurring her wrath.
While spending Christmas in Canada, Meghan and Harry had come to the firm conclusion that their role in the royal family would look different going forward, and Harry sent an email to that effect to his father Prince Charles and grandmother Queen Elizabeth II before the year was through. He requested an appointment with the Queen upon their January 6 return to England to discuss the terms of their exit, but found himself facing a chilly reception.
“The monarch, he was told, would not be available until January 29,” Finding Freedom authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand reveal. “‘He felt like he was being blocked,’ a source close to the prince said.”
“As their Air Canada flight made its early morning touchdown at Heathrow Airport, and still with no appointment to see Her Majesty, Harry and Meghan toyed with the idea of driving straight from the terminal to see the Queen,” they continue.
From the start, Harry and Meghan’s looser approach to royal decorum had never extended to the Queen, with Meghan putting her greatest efforts into the gestures she knew would mean most to Her Majesty. But Harry was determined to be free of the royal family by the end of the week, and it seems the promise of this freedom made him willing to consider further breaches of conduct than ever before.
We’ll never know whether Meghan or Harry backed down first, but the couple ultimately decided this dramatic arrival would create more trouble than it was worth.
“Not wanting to cause problems for themselves (arriving unannounced would have ruffled feathers), the couple instead called for a team meeting at Frogmore Cottage,” the book notes. “Whether their speedy approach was right or not, Harry and Meghan were more determined than ever.”
The Queen ultimately offered the couple her support, though the rollout of the royal exit announcement was rocky, and indicated turbulence like this behind the scenes. If Harry and Meghan’s impromptu drop-in had caused friction with the Queen, things may well have gone even less smoothly — and more importantly, Harry would have put his close relationship with his grandmother on the line. We’re glad that didn’t happen.
Click here for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s complete relationship timeline.