Two signals from Queen that 'triggered' Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's decision to quit

Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George and Queen Elizabeth in a royal photo. The photo was a big hit with royal fans. (Image: Ranald Mackechnie/PA)

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were upset the Duke was left out of the Queen's latest line of succession photo, it has been claimed.

The Monarch released a picture of her with her son Prince Charles, grandson Prince William and great-grandson Prince George just days before the Sussexes released their bombshell statement announcing they're stepping back as senior royals.

The couple have revealed they plan to become financially independent and will split their time between North America and the UK.

No other members of the royal family were consulted on their controversial decision, reportedly leaving the Queen "deeply upset" and Charles and William "incandescent with rage" .

SEE ALSO :Meghan Markle and Prince Harry 'set to make millions' after quitting royal family

To mark the start of the new year the Queen shared a gorgeous photo of her with her three heirs, taken in Buckingham Palace's throne room.

It's the third photo of the four most senior royals together.

According to The Times , the Sussexes were upset that they were not included in the family photo.

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It reports: "The Times understands that the Sussexes were upset at the release of the "line of succession" photograph and saw it as a signal that they were being excluded from royal life.

"They will have taken the same message from the fact that there were no images of them among the framed photographs on the Queen's desk when she delivered her Christmas Day message.

SEE ALSO :Meghan Markle and Prince Harry 'will be punished' for quitting as senior royals

"Their decision to "step back" from royal duties was, in part, triggered by those signals."

The succession photo shows the Queen, 93, standing proudly at the front in a white dress with a blue brooch holding one of her trademark handbags.

George, six, in tartan trousers and a white shirt, shares a red-carpeted step with grandfather Charles, 71.

William, 37, stands behind his father, son and grandmother in a dark suit and tie.

The first portrait of the quartet was released in 2016 to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.

SEE ALSO :Inside Queen and Prince Harry's quitting phone call - and how it went so wrong

It was then reproduced on commemorative stamps.

Both images were taken by Ranald Mackechnie.

The latest official portrait came just two weeks after the royals marked the festive season with a series of informal photos - which also didn't include Harry.

The Queen, Charles, William and George made Christmas puddings in Buckingham Palace last month pictured in front of a Christmas tree.

George was seen repeatedly stabbing the thick pudding mixture with a wooden spoon, making his grandfather chuckle.

SEE ALSO :UK monarchy scrambles for solutions after Harry, Meghan bombshell

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Meghan MarklePrince HarryBuckingham PalaceQueen Elizabeth