Harry off to meet Meghan as he nearly lost ‘Duke’ title
The Queen came close to taking away Harry's title as the Duke of Sussex but pulled back to avoid looking "petty", as new details of the Megxit discussions have been revealed.
Harry and Meghan will still be referred to as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, but they were nearly reduced to being just an earl and a countess.
The move would have dashed their plans to use the Sussex brand as they strike out from the royal family and seek financial independence.
The Queen, who was criticised as being harsh in the way she dealt with Princess Diana's decision to walk away from the monarchy after her divorce from Prince Charles, was lenient on Harry.
"The Sussex title is one of the ancient royal dukedoms given to him ahead of his wedding to Meghan, along with other titles. Removing it was seriously considered and discussed at the highest level," a source told London's Evening Standard newspaper.
The Queen did not want to look "petty", the source added.
It comes as Harry has escaped to Canada on a flight from Heathrow Airport early this morning Australian time, as he rushes to reunite with Meghan and baby Archie.
The Duke of Sussex ditched a reception for African leaders at Buckingham Palace, choosing to start his new life a night early.
He has been separated from Meghan for more than a week as he ironed out his exit deal from the royal family.
However, he was unhappy with the deal that stopped him from carrying out his military roles that he loved so dearly.
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Wishing a very happy 10th birthday to Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) charity, staff and everyone who has played their part in supporting injured British Armed Forces servicemen and women over the last decade! The Duke of Sussex, who has played a significant part in the impact made by WWTW, has been able to see first-hand the resilience and strength of those men and women who were injured in service to their country. The Duke has worked hard to raise awareness over the years, including an expedition to the North Pole in 2011, trekking across the South Pole with 12 injured servicemen from the UK, the US and the Commonwealth in 2013, and joining wounded veterans for their incredible 1,000-mile walk of Britain in 2015! Established in 2010, @SupportTheWalk has created pathways for vulnerable veterans to re-integrate back into society and keep their independence - focusing on those facing the toughest challenges since leaving the military. Offering assistance through programmes to those who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged by their service and assist them through new sustainable careers. The outcome of the remarkable work over the past 10 years? Sustainable employment, and independence for thousands of veterans and their families. For more information as to how you can support WWTW, please visit @SupportTheWalk Photo © WWTW / PA
Harry made that clear when he delivered a speech at an event for his charity Sentebale early on Monday Australian time.
Johnny Hornby, chairman of Sentebale said the Duke had told him the royal family's solution was not something he "ideally" wanted.
Mr Hornby said he did not care what Harry was called and backed him to move on helping people across the world.
"I think he has a kind of unique ability and an aura around him when he's with children, when he's with any gathering, I think his passion comes over," he told the BBC.
"We don't need from Sentebale's perspective his title, we just need his time and his passion and he's committed to give us that."
Harry had attended an Africa-UK investment summit early in the day, where he had a private 20-minute chat with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
While Harry stepped out, Prince William and Kate Middleton stepped up for their first official solo function.
They hosted African leaders at Buckingham Palace, in what was a coincidence of diaries but a sharp reminder of the different roles Harry and Prince William now have.
Kate wore a red gown from Needle & Thread, while Prince William wore a dark suit at the reception.
Prince William revealed his love for Africa, which was also where he took refuge after the death of his mother, Princess Diana.
"The African continent holds a very special place in my heart. It is the place my father took my brother and me shortly after our mother died," he said.
"And when deciding where best to propose to Catherine, I could think of no more fitting place than Kenya to get down on one knee."
Prince William, who was promoting trade between the UK and Africa, also said he wanted to see more of the continent.
"Throughout my life, I have been lucky enough to spend time in many other parts of Africa. I'm also honoured to be the Patron of the Royal African Society," he said.
"And as Catherine and I have said to several of you here tonight, we hope to have the chance to visit many more countries in the future and share our mutual love of your continent with our children."
HARRY'S FINAL ENGAGEMENT
The Duke of Sussex made one of his final official royal engagements, meeting with Morocco's Prime Minister at an investment summit in London.
Harry was photographed smiling with Saadeddine Othmani, the African country's leader, at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in Greenwich.
The moment will be bittersweet for the royal family because Harry was such an accomplished diplomat and his star power was seen to open doors for the UK economy.
His appearance comes the morning after his emotional speech about having "no other option" but to quit senior royal duties.
The meeting, at London's Intercontinental Hotel, was part of the UK's push for greater investment ties with Africa after Brexit is done on January 31.
Harry, 35, who is president of African Parks and Patron of Rhino Conservation Botswana, has deep links to Africa.
He took Meghan there on a trip just weeks after they began dating so they could get to know each other without the glare of the world's press.
Harry's ties to Africa started when he visited as a 13-year-old, shortly after the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales and he has returned many times since.
Boris Johnson was also there pushing the UK's case, saying he wanted closer business relationships with African nations.
He also added the sweetener of easier access to Britain as part of his post-Brexit plans.
"Our system is becoming fairer and more equal between all our global friends and partners, treating people the same, wherever they come from," he said.
"By putting people before passports we will be able to attract the best talent from around the world, wherever they may be."
Africa is seen as a crucial emerging market, with China already investing heavily there.
Harry toured southern Africa last year and has deep links with the continent, including setting up the charity Sentebale, that helps children living with HIV in Botswana and Lesotho.
HARRY 'FULL OF ANGER' IN EMOTIVE SPEECH
Sad, tense and angry.
The body language in the Duke of Sussex's speech about leaving the royal family has revealed his very raw personal emotions, body language expert Dr Louise Mahler has explained.
Dr Mahler told News Corp there was a massive incongruence between the spoken script and his vocal tone.
She said his voice was swollen and tired, which can be a form of exhaustion or emotion.
"It is my contention that Harry is in a state and has been a mess for some time," she said.
"Nothing in this speech negated this.
"Harry looked dishevelled. His hair needed a brush for a start.
"His voice was a big giveaway he is traumatised about what is happening."
Dr Mahler said his jaw was tight and slightly sticking out in an aggressive "fight" position.
"When he arrived on stage he literally stared at the audience without blinking. This is a sign of tension."
She also observed him moving around at the lectern, indicating he was uncomfortable.
"He made a few wiggles on the spot with his body as if trying to escape, from what was clearly a pre-scripted speech," she said.
When he scratched his eye on the phrase in his speech "What you have read over the past few weeks", Dr Mahler said it indicated he was "clearly extremely uncomfortable" at this point.
Harry's mention of being "the second son of Diana" to get "hitched - hurray!" was said in a short and sharp manner.
"It was said with anger - no doubt directed towards the media," she said.
"It's like he was saying what do you want - blood?"
"When he said 'You welcomed Meghan with open arms' he actually stumbled in his speech," Dr Mahler said.
"This is another clear sign of incongruence with the words and thinking.
"His voice became clipped and tight.
"He sounded very angry shooting out the words like sniper bullets.
"He is full of anger at this point."
As Harry went on to speak about being "here to serve", Dr Mahler said he reached for his face, another indication of conflicting thought.
"When he said 'there really was no other option' at last he looks up and states it clear," she said.
Dr Mahler said Harry's reference to doing things "without public funding" also led to him sucking his lips back in as if he was withdrawing his words.
"There is massive incongruence between the spoken script and his vocal tone in particular," she said.
"He speaks of love and serving. His tone says anger and hate."
The speech - which took place at a formal private dinner in London's Chelsea for his Sentebale charity - was Harry's first since his bid to become financially independent was rejected.
He gave an extraordinary defence of his wife Meghan Markle as he explained his decision to step down as a royal was his own and that he had "no other option".
The Duke of Sussex said leaving the royal family would bring him "great sadness."
"What I want to make clear is we're not walking away," Harry said.
"Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations but without public funding, unfortunately, that wasn't possible.
"I've accepted this knowing that it doesn't change who I am or how committed I am but I hope that helps you understand what it had come to that I would step my family back from all that I have ever known to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life."
Harry went to great lengths to distance Meghan from claims she was responsible for the bombshell split.
He said the UK would always be a place he loved and blamed the media for his departure.
HARRY AND WILLIAM PATCH UP FEUD
The defiant stance comes as Harry patched up his relationship with Prince William, 37, after a bitter two-year feud, but is still at war with his dad.
He plans to set up a new life in North America, with Canada as a base, but also with time to be spent in the United States.
Harry will be reunited soon with Meghan, 38, and nine-month-old son Archie, who have stayed in Canada after they made their six-week break there a semi-permanent move.
There are fights among royal aides over how the couple will make their money, with experts telling The Daily Mirror their combined star power could make their Sussex Royal brand a $2 billion behemoth.
Netflix, which has been on a spending spree, is among the partners looking to work with Harry and Meghan, who plan to set up their own TV production company, it was reported.
They planned to do voice overs for documentaries about worthy causes.
Meghan was also linked to a deal with exclusive fashion house Givenchy, although the company denied the report in The Times of London newspaper.
There is no love lost between Harry and Prince Charles, 71, who has been growing in influence at Buckingham Palace as the Queen, 93, slows down.
Prince Charles was a key player in the decision to boot Prince Andrew, 59, from royal duties in November, and his say would have swayed the discussions on Harry.
HARRY AND MEGHAN WON'T TAKE 'PUBLIC FUNDS'
Prince Andrew joined the Queen at church on Sunday, despite the headlines he has made over his controversial links to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Prince Andrew has publicly denied any wrongdoing.
Harry and Meghan will no longer take public funds under the deal announced by the Queen at the weekend, which also prevents them from using their HRH titles.
Prince Charles, who pays Harry and Meghan up to $4 million each year from his investment vehicle, The Duchy of Cornwall, will review the deal in 12 months as he is worried about the couple's expensive lifestyle plans, the UK Daily Telegraph reported.
A senior royal source told The Sun that Harry and Prince William had sorted out their differences.
"It has been groundbreaking in terms of saving their bond as brothers and has been totally driven by them," the source said.
"They decided to cut out all the toxic people stirring around them to deal with each other man-to-man as brothers.
"Given Harry is now permanently moving away, there was a realisation if they didn't sort things out now, they never would."
Harry's speech was delivered at The Ivy Chelsea Garden restaurant in London's posh suburb of Chelsea.
"Once Meghan and I were married we were excited, we were hopeful and we were here to serve. For those reasons it brings me great sadness that it has come to this," he said in a recording of the speech made at
"The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly, it was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges.
"And I know I always haven't got it right but as far as this goes, there really was no other option."
In his speech, which was posted to his @sussexroyal Instagram page, Harry said he hoped people would listen to his side of the story.
HARRY: 'I WANT YOU TO HEAR THE TRUTH'
"I want you to hear the truth from me, as much as I can share, not as a prince, or a duke, but as Harry, the same person that many of you have watched grow up over the last 35 years," he said.
"The UK is my home and a place that I love, that will never change."
He gave a strong defence of Meghan, who has been, rightly or wrongly, blamed for the split from the royal family, with headlines around the world dubbing the breakaway Megxit.
"I also know that you have come to know me well enough over all these years to trust that the woman I chose as my wife upholds the same values as I do … and she's the same woman I fell in love with," he said.
Harry said in the couple's engagement interview in 2017 that Meghan would be up to the job of being a full-time royal.
"The fact that she, I know that the fact that she'll be really unbelievably good at the job part of it as well is almost is a huge relief to me because she'll be able to deal with everything else that comes with it," he said at the time.
"But, no, we're a fantastic team. We know we are. And, we hope to over time try and have as much impact for all the things that we care about as much as possible."
Harry also pointed in the speech to his deeply held views about the death of his mother, and the media's role in his life, which he claimed was intrusive.
"I was born into this life and it is a great honour to serve my country and the Queen," he said.
"When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing. You looked out for me for so long but the media is a powerful force and my hope is one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful because this is so much bigger than just us.
"It has been our privilege to serve you, and we will continue to lead a life of service, so in that respect nothing changes."
And despite his disappointment at his part-time royal plans being rejected, he said of the Queen: "I will always have the utmost respect for my grandmother, my commander in chief and I'm incredibly grateful to her and the rest of my family for the support they have shown Meghan and I over the last few months.
"I will continue to be the same man who holds his country dear and dedicates his life to supporting the causes, charities and military communities that are so important to me.
"Together you have given me an education about living and this role has taught me more about what is right and just than I can ever have imagined. We are taking a leap of faith so thank you for giving us the courage to take this next step."
HARRY'S FINAL LONDON DINNER
It comes as Harry celebrated his departure with one of his most trusted friends.
The Duke of Sussex was joined by his former mentor Mark Dyer, who has been revealed as his son Archie's secret godfather.
Harry, who is no longer referred to as His Royal Highness, was dressed casually in a grey jacket and white shirt, while Mr Dyer was wearing a blue suit.
Harry was spotted at Brook House Pub in Fulham on Friday, a pub owned by Mr Dyer, 53.
The pair has been close for decades, with Mr Dyer being a confidant to Harry after his mother's death in 1997.
He also took Harry to a drug rehabilitation centre in Peckham, South London, in 2002 after the then prince had been caught using marijuana.
HARRY'S NEW LIFE IN CANADA
Harry is set to begin a new life in Canada with Meghan and Archie.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted the best for the couple.
"I think the whole country will want to join in wishing them the very best for the future," he said.
"I said before that I was sure that the royal family, it's been around a very long time, will find a way forward, and I'm sure it will."
Harry and Meghan wanted to be progressive new royals, but the Queen stamped out that dream.
The couple have been given 12 months to sort out their new life and business dealings, after which it will be reviewed.
The Queen has added the check to make sure the couple did not misuse the royal name, as they were fears they may be lured into corporate endorsements.
They are not the first royals to lose the HRH title, although Buckingham Palace has insisted they still have them, but they are just not going to use them.
However, the couple's official Instagram page is still @sussexroyal.
Diana, Princess of Wales, was stripped of her title in 1996 after her bitter split from Prince Charles.
However, most people still regarded her as royalty and she was described as the People's Princess following her tragic death.