Meghan and Harry aghast when stripped of Commonwealth roles as Whitehall plans ruined

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Meghan and Harry’s 12-month “Megxit” review is coming up, and the couple may attempt to re-negotiate elements of their post-royal life. While they did get the freedom they desired and the opportunity to pursue financial independence away from the Firm, the Sussexes’ final deal with the Royal Family was far from what they had hoped for. The couple had wanted to establish a “half-in half-out” future, which would enable them to step away from the royal frontline while still “fully supporting the Queen”.

Yet, they had to agree to spend the majority of their time in North America and only have a few tenuous links back to the Firm.

Meghan and Harry were particularly “shocked” when they had to renounce their titles as Commonwealth Youth Ambassadors after the Sandringham Summit, where the senior royals decided to take a firm stance towards the Sussexes’ royal exit, otherwise known as Megxit.

TMZ reported: “The Queen drew a hard line in the sand and they had to surrender the role.”

Yet, the couple were not aware the position was even on the negotiating table, according to insiders.

They were both awarded the roles around the time of their May 2018 wedding — Harry shortly before the nuptials and Meghan afterwards.

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It was a highly prestigious and influential title, especially as more than 60 percent of the Commonwealth is made up of people under 30.

It was also evident from the beginning of the Sussexes’ relationship that the Commonwealth had a special meaning for the couple, as it was reportedly during a holiday in Botswana when their romance really blossomed.

Meghan also had the flowers of all the Commonwealth nations embroidered onto her wedding veil, and Harry has considered moving to one of the Commonwealth states in the past.

Speaking to ITV in 2019, Meghan also explained why it meant so much to her.

She said: “Well, the Commonwealth is a very diverse place, right, with 53 countries.

“And so being a part of this family and the platform that comes with that is an incredible responsibility that I take really seriously.”

Following their royal exit, they were predicted to move to Canada and step sideways into advanced roles within the Commonwealth.

Royal commentator Camilla Tominey explained: “Sir Mark Sedwill, head of the Civil Service, has been drawing up plans to offer Harry and Meghan a high profile Commonwealth role, which would allow them to live in Canada and travel abroad on a certain number of official trips each year — allowing them to be ‘quasi’ royals.”

Yet, even at the time a source warned this was “very difficult to pull off”, as the Sussexes would be caught between promoting their commercial interests along with their charitable work.

Writing in The Telegraph, Ms Tominey noted that the Commonwealth “is a cause close to the Queen’s heart” — many have subsequently concluded that the monarch was showing her fury towards the rebellious pair by removing their ambassador roles.

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Not long after the Megxit deal had been settled, the couple also hightailed out of Canada and set up camp in the Duchess’ former stomping ground of California, US — perhaps reflecting that they now had fewer ties to the Commonwealth by moving to a non-member state nation.

However, the Queen did allow the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to hold onto their titles as the President and Vice-President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

This is a position the couple have continued to prioritise despite their royal departure as seen in the series of virtual conferences they have held over the past months.

However, the videos were then dissected for seemingly disrespecting the Queen and the work she has built up in the Commonwealth.

Harry was criticised for advising the Commonwealth to acknowledge its “uncomfortable” past in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Such words seemed at odds with the Sussexes’ promise to continue to “uphold the monarchy’s values”, as they did this time last year upon announcing their exit.

As Daily Express royal correspondent Richard Palmer tweeted: “Harry’s criticism of the Commonwealth has gone down like a lead balloon.”

Following the backlash, the couple then appeared to backpedal in their next video call with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

Meghan made a point of showing her appreciation for the organisation when she said, “I’m incredibly proud to be able to work with the QCT” and acknowledged the “legacy” left by the Queen, Harry’s grandmother.

It remains to be seen whether the couple will attempt to win these roles back in the upcoming review of their royal exit.

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