The Queen was ‘hurt and exhausted’ by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step down as senior royals, book claims

Queen Elizabeth II was left “very hurt” and “exhausted” by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to step down as senior royals, a royal book has claimed.

In the forthcoming book The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown, a source close to the Queen has revealed that the late monarch “was exhausted by the turmoil” of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to leave the royal family.

“She was very hurt and told me, ‘I don’t know, I don’t care, and I don’t want to think about it anymore,’” the source said, according to an extract of the book which was published in Vanity Fair.

The book, which is written byVanity Fair’s royal correspondent Katie Nicholl, also claims that the Queen was disappointed when Harry and Meghan didn’t return to the UK in August with their two children – Archie Harrison, three, and Lilibet “Lili” Diana, one – for a sleepover at Balmoral Castle.

“It was a source of sadness to the Queen that she got to see so little of Archie and Lilibet and that Harry and Meghan were not able to join her for a weekend at Balmoral in August, when the Queen used to host a ‘sleepover’ for all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” the book said.

Queen Elizabeth II passed away at age 96 in her home at Balmoral on 8 September. Now that Harry’s father – King Charles III – has succeeded the throne, the book claims the king is eager to mend the relationship between the Sussexes and the royal family.

“He is hurt and disappointed but he has always said his love for Harry is unconditional,” said a source close to the family, adding that Charles also wants to have a role as a grandparent to Archie and Lilibet.

In his first public address to the nation after the death of the Queen, King Charles briefly mentioned his youngest son and daughter-in-law, who relocated to California after stepping down from the royal family in 2020.

“I also want to express my love for Harry and Meghan, as they continue to build their lives overseas,” he told viewers.

Despite rumours of an ongoing rift between the Sussexes and the rest of the family, there were a number of moments leading up to the Queen’s funeral that many people considered to be positive signs of a mending relationship.

On 10 September, the Prince and Princess of Wales reunited with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they viewed floral tributes left for the Queen outside Windsor Castle. According to a royal source, Prince William extended the invitation to Prince Harry to appear publicly together as he believed it was “an important show of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family”.

Four days later, the brothers appeared side-by-side once again when they walked behind the Queen’s coffin procession to the lying in state. Prince William, dressed in his RAF No 1 uniform, and Prince Harry, in a morning coat and pinned medals, marched slowly behind their father as the Queen’s coffin was taken from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.