"I think that was one of the things that prompted them to issue the statement that they were stepping back from royal life," revealed a source.
There is a lot of attention to detail behind every move the British Royal family makes, be it in their outfits or their speeches. Everything is double-checked, so when a photo of Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle, and their son Archie was missing from the set during Queen Elizabeth's Christmas broadcast in 2019, it wasn't a mere mistake.
“I think this is a turning point. There are all sorts of subtle messages that are conveyed in this, kind of soap opera that goes on,” royal biographer Christopher Andersen told Us Weekly. “In 2018, she sat there in front of a Christmas tree. She gave her Christmas address and there were the family photos. … Including [Harry’s son] Archie and Megan and Harry, very prominently displayed.”
At Christmas 2019, "the Queen hasn’t decided what to do about it [amid the talks of Harry leaving]," Andersen said. "There’s a point at which—just before she gives a speech to the director on set—[she is] asked which photographs she wants in the shot next to her." Looking at a photo of the Sussexes, she apparently said, "We won’t be needing that one."
The message was clear. "So there you had, in photographs right next to the Queen, the people that clearly were most important to her. The Cambridges, all of them. Her [father], King George VI, and [Prince] Philip," Andersen added.
Honestly, it doesn't come as a surprise that Harry didn't take the subtle snub too well. "I think that was hurtful [for him to see]," the author explained. "A friend of Harry’s told me that he felt that he was being erased in a sense from the family. And it was right after that, that they made their [decision to leave the U.K.]. I think that was one of the things that prompted them to issue the statement that they were stepping back from royal [life for a] full-time real life."
"It seems very subtle, but when you think about it, when somebody cuts you out of the family album, so to speak, it’s a pretty strong message," he added.
Towards the end of 2019, the Sussexes were finding it rather hard to get along with the rest of the family. At the start of 2020, Harry and Meghan announce their exit from the royal family, added Marie Claire. At the time, the palace released a statement saying that they were "saddened" by the state of affairs.
"Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service. The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family," the statement from the palace said.
"While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much-loved members of the family," the Queen's statement read.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Steve Parsons