Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are ‘hopeful’ that crunch talks determining their new stripped-back role in the Royal Family can be thrashed out ‘sooner rather than later’, a source revealed tonight

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are ‘hopeful’ that crunch talks determining their new stripped-back role in the Royal Family can be thrashed out ‘sooner rather than later’, a source revealed tonight.

The Duke and Duchess’s announcement to ‘step back’ from their official duties and become ‘financially independent’ has thrown the Family into crisis, with the public demanding answers as to what their ‘progressive’ new role would be.

The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William have held discussions to diffuse the situation and ordered Palace officials to quickly develop a ‘workable solution’ for Meghan and Harry’s future.

The three senior Royals closed ranks following Wednesday night’s bombshell Instagram statement, but today a steely-faced Her Majesty broke cover to drive her car through Sandringham – a move choreographed to play down the crisis and show she was continuing her activities as normal.

But behind closed doors, officials are working furiously to draw up a blueprint for Meghan and Harry’s future role.

Meghan has fled the fallout and returned to Canada on Thursday, where she will now be reunited with baby Archie, who she left in the country with a nanny and a friend.

Harry has had to postpone plans to join her because of a commitment to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup draw next Thursday at Buckingham Palace.

A source close to the couple claimed Friday night negotiations between the Palace and the Sussex household are ‘progressing well’, in consultation with both the UK and Canadian government. 

They said: ‘They, like everyone, are hopeful this can all be worked out, sooner rather than later.

‘It is in everyone’s interest for this to be figured out, and figured out quickly, but not at the expense of the outcome.’ 

Her Majesty was pictured leaving Sandringham in Norfolk in her Land Rover at lunchtime, before driving along local country roads to a shoot in a field which was attended by guests including her grandson Peter Phillips. 

The Duke and Duchess have remained silent except for posting pictures on their Instagram of a secret trip to a Grenfell kitchen this week, before Wednesday night’s shock statement. 

The Queen, who spent Christmas at Sandringham with her family and usually stays at the estate until February, is embroiled in a full-blown crisis as senior royals including Princes Charles and William ordered their teams to find a 'workable solution' to Harry and Meghan's future roles

The Queen, who spent Christmas at Sandringham with her family and usually stays at the estate until February, is embroiled in a full-blown crisis as senior royals including Princes Charles and William ordered their teams to find a ‘workable solution’ to Harry and Meghan’s future roles

The Queen is pictured at Sandringham today for the first time since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed they were stepping down as senior royals

The Queen is pictured at Sandringham today for the first time since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed they were stepping down as senior royals

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who earlier this week revealed they would be stepping down as senior royals, returned to visit the women of The Hubb Community Kitchen

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who earlier this week revealed they would be stepping down as senior royals, returned to visit the women of The Hubb Community Kitchen

The Queen drives through Sandringham today in the aftermath of the announcement by Prince Harry and Meghan

The Queen drives through Sandringham today in the aftermath of the announcement by Prince Harry and Meghan

The Queen drives away with three passengers after lunch at a shooting party near Sandringham this afternoon

The Queen drives away with three passengers after lunch at a shooting party near Sandringham this afternoon

Her Majesty, who was wearing a headscarf, was seen driving away from the Sandringham estate in her Land Rover today

Her Majesty, who was wearing a headscarf, was seen driving away from the Sandringham estate in her Land Rover today

The Queen is pictured behind the wheel of her Land Rover today

The Queen is pictured leaving Sandringham before driving along local country roads to a shoot in a field this afternoon

The Queen is pictured leaving Sandringham before driving along local country roads to a shoot in a field this afternoon

The Queen, pictured today, is embroiled in a full-blown crisis as senior royals ordered their teams to find a 'workable solution'

The Queen, pictured today, is embroiled in a full-blown crisis as senior royals ordered their teams to find a ‘workable solution’

The Queen is seen today for the first time since the Duke and Duchess revealed they were stepping down as senior royals

The Queen drives in her car at Sandringham today

The Queen is seen today for the first time since the Duke and Duchess revealed they were stepping down as senior royals

The shoot in a field in Norfolk today was attended by guests including the Queen’s grandson Peter Phillips

Charles and William were both said to be left ‘incandescent with rage’ after learning about the Sussexes’ announcement just 10 minutes before it was published on the couple’s own Instagram page.  

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are understood to have left Archie in Canada to be cared for by their nanny and Meghan’s best friend, Jessica Mulroney.   

Ms Mulroney lives in Toronto but it is not known if she was with them in the £10million waterfront mansion in Vancouver they occupied between Thanksgiving and the new year. 

Harry and Meghan’s close confidante Tom Bradby claimed the Palace told the couple that there were plans for a ‘slimmed down monarchy’ and they ‘weren’t really a part of it.’

The ITV News presenter insisted that it was ‘certainly not true’ to suggest the royal household was ‘blindsided’ by their decision to step down from senior roles within the monarchy.

But blaming the decision to walk away from royal duties on the issue of a ‘slimmed down’ royal family may be seen as just a convenient excuse to leave their life behind in the UK and start a new life in North America.

Meghan flew from London to Canada in the hours after the Sussexes shocked the world and quit as senior royals, the Daily Mail revealed last night.

The couple horrified and shocked Harry’s family including the ‘hurt and furious’ Queen, who had begged them to delay announcing their ‘nuclear’ plans. Prince Charles and Prince William only got a copy of the statement ten minutes before it went live on their secretly developed website. 

Last night Her Majesty held a series of calls involving herself at Sandringham, Charles at his Scottish home Birkhall, William at Kensington Palace and Harry – without Meghan – at Frogmore Cottage. 

But as the abdication crisis rumbled on the Duke of Sussex was also plotting to fly out of Britain, it has emerged, although it is not yet confirmed when he intends to join his wife in Canada.

Meghan may stay there for the foreseeable future and Harry will not be apart from his wife and son for long – but he must also be at Buckingham Palace for an engagement next Thursday. 

Meghan Markle was seen visiting the women of the The Hubb Community Kitchen in London during her three days in the UK

Meghan Markle was seen visiting the women of the The Hubb Community Kitchen in London during her three days in the UK

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex took to their Instagram page to share a series of pictures of their visit to the Grenfell kitchen

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex took to their Instagram page to share a series of pictures of their visit to the Grenfell kitchen 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex returned to visit the women of The Hubb Community Kitchen who continue to work with local organisations to build hope, bring comfort and provide a sense of togetherness

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex returned to visit the women of The Hubb Community Kitchen who continue to work with local organisations to build hope, bring comfort and provide a sense of togetherness

Prince Harry smiled as he spoke with the women at the Grenfell kitchen earlier this week. A message on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Instagram page read: 'They were so happy to reconnect with the women and hear about the projects they continue to develop to help those in their community and beyond'

Prince Harry smiled as he spoke with the women at the Grenfell kitchen earlier this week.A message on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Instagram page read: ‘They were so happy to reconnect with the women and hear about the projects they continue to develop to help those in their community and beyond’

The women in the kitchen appeared overjoyed as they greeted the royals during their visit to the London-based kitchen this week

The women in the kitchen appeared overjoyed as they greeted the royals during their visit to the London-based kitchen this week

The Daily Mail has learnt that Meghan returned to North America, where their eight-month-old son, Archie, had been left with his nanny

Harry ignored a personal request by the Queen to keep negotiations about his and his wife's wish to break free private and not make a public statement

The Daily Mail has learnt that Meghan (left on a previous trip) returned to North America, where their eight-month-old son, Archie, had been left with his nanny.The news of her travel plans come as her and Prince Harry (right) announced they would be stepping back from their Royal duties

Meghan Markle's mother Doria Ragland was spotted for the first time on Thursday since her daughter and son-in-law Prince Harry dropped the bombshell news that they were quitting their royal duties

Meghan Markle’s mother Doria Ragland was spotted for the first time on Thursday since her daughter and son-in-law Prince Harry dropped the bombshell news that they were quitting their royal duties

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spent their first Christmas with baby Archie at this £10million waterfront mansion on Vancouver Island and may be heading back to the west coast of Canada

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spent their first Christmas with baby Archie at this £10million waterfront mansion on Vancouver Island and may be heading back to the west coast of Canada

On a day of behind-the-scenes drama, the monarch convened an extraordinary series of calls between herself, the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Harry. 

Jessica Mulroney, pictured in New York over Christmas, is understood to have been caring for Archie with the help of Harry and Meghan's nanny

Jessica Mulroney, pictured in New York over Christmas, is understood to have been caring for Archie with the help of Harry and Meghan’s nanny

She told them to come up with a ‘workable solution’ to the crisis within days, and tasked aides with presenting a series of options to put to the unhappy couple.

Insiders last night predicted that Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, would be allowed to keep their royal titles and also enjoy a measure of the independence they have demanded.

But they added that the couple’s string of demands had sparked a genuine crisis which will not be easy to solve.

As a sign of how serious and sensitive the issue has become, Home Secretary Priti Patel has been asked to take part in the negotiations.

She will be tasked with ensuring the couple’s ongoing security is not compromised, but she also has to monitor the cost to taxpayers if they split their lives between the UK and North America.

The Mail can also reveal:

  • The couple secretly registered their new Sussex Royal website as early as last March without telling the Royal Family;
  • Harry ignored a personal request by the Queen to keep negotiations about his wish to break free private and not make a public statement;
  • The couple also chose to disregard pleas from their closest aides on Monday night that they should hold off from releasing a statement out of respect for his grandmother;
  • Sources said Harry had even suggested his mental health would be at risk if he didn’t facilitate a change in his position;
  • The Royal Family are not planning to strip Harry and Meghan of their titles as courtiers fear it would look vengeful and reminiscent of the treatment meted out to Harry’s mother, Princess Diana;
  • Scotland Yard will carry out a full review of the couple’s security as the costs of their taxpayer-funded police protection looked set to spiral into the millions.

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