Meghan and Harry dropped huge hint in Archie’s name they planned to step down

Last week Meghan Markle and Prince Harry made a bombshell statement on their Instagram account sussexroyal that they would be stepping down as senior members of the Royal Family. The news sent shockwaves around the globe but royal expert Joe Little has said clues of the announcement can be found as early as May last year. He suggested the Sussex’s decision to not give baby Archie a royal title could have formed part of the couple’s “wider masterplan”.

Mr Little, the managing editor of Majesty magazine, told the Express: “The fact Archie isn’t Earl of Dumbarton or styled HRH makes me wonder whether this wasn’t already part of a wider masterplan.”

Eight-month-old baby Archie wouldn’t have been eligible for HRH status, as this only extends to grandchildren of the monarch, according to the regulations of the House of Windsor.

The Queen did, however, opt to forgo the rules for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s youngest two children, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

Baby Archie could have been given the title of the Earl of Dumbarton, but Meghan and Harry decided against it, as they wanted their son to grow up as a private citizen.

It comes after the Queen issued a statement following crunch talks at Sandringham, to iron out some of the details surrounding Meghan and Harry’s departure.

The 93-year-old monarch said that she and her family respected Harry and Meghan Markle’s desire to create a new life, in which they will divide their time between Britain and Canada in a transition period.

After the couple were presented with a paper outlining several options for varying degrees of autonomy, the decision was taken in principle for them to stand down from their senior roles in the Firm.

But there are still several complex details that need to be worked out, and the Queen said more decisions would be made in the coming days.

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The statement read: “Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.

“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family.

“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.

“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives.

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“It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.

“These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”

The Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Harry took part in the meeting.

Meghan was reported to have joined the conversation by telephone, as she is currently in Canada with baby Archie, but aides declined to confirm whether this was true.

Some royal commentators noted that the Queen did not refer to the couple as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in her statement, speculating that they might be stripped of their titles.

Meanwhile, Harry’s biographer Penny Junor was impressed by the Queen’s statement: “It’s quite optimistic. It’s the best that could be hoped for.

“At least she’s telling us they will be part of her family. She couldn’t have done anything else. There was a gun to her head.”

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