Showdown at Sandringham: Royals to thrash out split deal…with Meghan on the phone

During the historic crisis talks Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, could be listening in Canada by conference call as the four meet for the first time since the couple’s shock announcement last week that they were stepping down as senior royals.

They will attempt to thrash out a deal over the future role of the couple after the Queen has said she wants to sort out the rift in her family within “days, not weeks”.

A royal source said that before the meeting they will all have read proposals put together jointly by their staff after crisis talks this weekend.

The source confirmed: “The family will gather at Sandringham on Monday to talk things through. 

“Following a series of meetings and consultations in the past few days, there are a range of possibilities for the family to review.

“As we have said, making a change to their working life and role in the monarchy requires complex, thoughtful discussions.

“The next steps will be agreed at the meeting. The request for this to be resolved at pace is still Her Majesty’s wish. The aim remains days, not weeks. However there is a genuine understanding that any agreement will take time to be implemented.” 

Less than two years after their fairytale wedding in Windsor, Harry and Meghan revealed their “nuclear” plan to step down in an announcement last Wednesday. 

It left the Queen “deeply disappointed” and hurt.

The couple said they plan to divide their time between the UK and North America, working to become “financially independent”.

Charles and William only got a copy of the statement 10 minutes before it went live on the couple’s new website,

Meghan has since flown to Can­­ada, where the couple’s nanny and her friend Jessica Mulroney had been looking after son Archie.

The source said: “It is likely that the Duchess will be on the phone for the meeting if she can but there is a considerable time zone difference.”

Harry has remained in the UK and will honour a commitment at Buckingham Palace on Thursday to draw the countries for the next Rugby League World Cup.

This is the only engagement in his diary this week but he does still have future public engagements and has not cancelled them.

It is not known when Meghan is planning to return to the UK.

Friends of the couple say their decision to branch out was prompted by a feeling that they are being excluded from plans for a more modern, slimmed-down monarchy. They claim a photograph taken at Buckingham Palace before Christmas convinced them to push ahead with plans they had been considering for some time.

The photo showed the Queen, 93, alongside the next three in line for the throne – Charles, William and Prince George. Her Majesty also did not have any photos of Harry and Meghan, or baby Archie, on display when giving her Christmas message. However, there was a photo of William and Kate and their children.

At the time, the Sussexes were spending six weeks at a mansion in British Columbia, Canada, with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland.

It has also been claimed that Meghan had suffered racism from within royal circles. US commentator Omid Scobie, who is understood to have close links with the couple, said details of the alleged abuse would emerge as talks between the Sussexes and Buckingham Palace continued.

Sources last night also revealed that the couple had faced losing £1million a year from Charles. Slimming down the Royal Family would have meant Harry’s income from the Duchy of Cornwall estate would have been halved, with a big slice given to William.

This came as a blow as Meghan is facing a US tax bill in April after IRS officials spent months studying the Sussexes’ accounts, assets and even baby Archie’s presents.

As an American citizen, Meghan is liable for taxes on all her earnings, gifts, job perks and even on funds she could be entitled to draw from Harry’s finances.

As a result, friends say Meghan and Harry plan to become a global money-making brand that could turn them into billionaires as the world’s best-paid celebrity couple.

Their Sussex Royal firm has already trademarked more than 100 potential products and the couple is said to be investigating everything from becoming brand ambassadors to social media brand endorsements.

Harry also has a burgeoning TV career ahead of him, working on an Apple TV+ series with US superstar Oprah Winfrey. Meghan has also signed a voiceover deal with Disney in exchange for a donation to an elephant charity and has reportedly begun negotiations with French label Givenchy.

Last week’s bombshell announ­­cement also plunged the future of Harry’s Invictus Games in doubt.

Sources within the organisation last night revealed they have been inundated with calls from worried investors and sponsors. One said: “They want to know if May’s event is still going ahead, and there is concern over the couple’s lack of popularity. It’s worrying.”

Last night a poll for the Sunday Express found 57 percent of the public think Harry and Meghan’s move has threatened the future of the Royal Family. And 52 percent felt they should be stripped of their HRH titles. The survey, by OnePoll, found that 78 percent believed they had “insulted” the Queen by not telling her their decision before going public.

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