Harry and Meghan ‘declined Queen invite to Balmoral to go to Ibiza’

Meghan Markle 'saved' Harry from royal machine says new book

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to turn down the Queen’s offer to take their son Archie to Balmoral to go to Ibiza and the south of France instead, a new book on the Royal Family has claimed. The couple are said to have declined the then-monarch’s invite in the summer of 2019.

Queen Elizabeth would often holiday at the Scottish residence in the summer months, and was known to welcome family members to stay, as well as the serving Prime Minister.

According to reports, August would often be the month she would ask her grandchildren and great-grandchildren to join her for some family time.

But in her new book, The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown, Katie Nicholl, royal correspondent for Vanity Fair and a leading expert, said the couple were distancing themselves months before they announced their departure.

She wrote: “There were raised eyebrows when Harry and Meghan declined an invite from the Queen to spend a long weekend at Balmoral in the summer of 2019 – when she traditionally hosts a weekend for her grandchildren and a special sleepover for her great-grandchildren – preferring instead to take Archie to Ibiza and the south of France.”

Ms Nicholl added: “‘Playing happy families at Balmoral didn’t really fit their narrative,’ I was told by a source close to the Sussexes.”

Royal biographer Tom Bower previously claimed the Duchess of Sussex said Archie, who had been born in May that year, was “too young” to fly to Scotland.

Spanish outlets reported at the time that the royal couple had been spotted on the Balearic island for six days that August.

Contemporaneous reports said they had gone on the getaway to celebrate the Duchess’s 38th birthday, which had fallen two days before they flew out, on August 4.

The couple then stopped off in Nice to spend some time at Elton John’s villa in the southern French city.

On August 19 that year, the pop legend wrote on Twitter: “After a hectic year continuing their hard work and dedication to charity, David and I wanted the young family to have a private holiday inside the safety and tranquillity of our home.”

Another new royal book claims that royal insiders came to believe that her actions at the time may have been part of a strategy to step back as full-time royals.

In extracts of Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown serialised in the Times, Valentine Low wrote that “a succession of perfectly decent people, all of whom believed in Meghan and wanted to make it work, came to be so disillusioned that they began to suspect that even her most heartfelt pleas for help were part of a deliberate strategy that had one end in sight: her departure from the royal family.

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“They believe she wanted to be able to say ‘Look how they failed to support me’.”

In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stunned the Queen and the royal family when they announced their intention to step back as senior royals and move to the US.

What ensued were ten days of talks between senior royals to iron out the details of the departure.

At the time, the Queen wrote in a statement: “It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”

Ms Nicholl claims, though, that the late Queen was heartbroken upon hearing the news that they wanted to give up their royal roles.

Her book quotes a source saying: “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 Sussexes were by the rest of the royal family’s side during the Queen’s state funeral last week, and were seen at various events during the national mourning period leading up to it.

The couple had been in London on the day the Queen’s death was announced, as part of a European tour.

They then extended their stay until the funeral, before returning home to California.

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