The Queen had reportedly put together a secret plan for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to move to South Africa before they stepped down as senior royals. In his new book Battle of Brothers, biographer Robert Lacey claims Her Majesty suggested the Sussexes take a year or two out in Johannesburg in 2019. The monarch knew how desperate the couple were for an "ordinary" existence and felt something similar to the years she spent in Malta in her youth could do them good. She had tasted "normal" life during her 'Malta Moments' between 1949 and 1951, alongside Prince Philip, who was serving as a naval officer on the Mediterranean island.
The future Queen would often fly out to stay with the Duke of Edinburgh, setting her up well for returning home to her duty, explained Mr Lacey. Harry and Meghan are said to have been interested in the move to Africa, where their relationship had previously blossomed, or somewhere else in the Commonwealth. The new book, which details the allegedly tumultuous relationship between the Queen's two grandsons, William and Harry, is being serialised in the Daily Mail. Mr Lacey puts much of the difficulties in accommodating former Hollywood actress Meghan into The Firm down to the sacking of Christopher Geidt as private secretary.
Princes Charles and Andrew had reportedly persuaded the Queen to oust the long-time strategist in mid-2017, just months before the duchess became engaged to Harry and officially part of the royal picture. The Prince of Wales is said to have been unhappy with a speech Geidt gave that summer announcing his father's retirement. With Geidt not around during a key moment in recent royal history, Lacey claims there was a lack of vision when it came to Meghan.
"Here was the great step forward, to integrate a mixed-race recruit — the first ever — into the all-white Royal Family which needed to maintain its position in a society that was becoming more racially diverse by the day. It was a profound challenge, with massive implications for the long-term identity and relevance — and even perhaps the survival — of the crown in a changing world. But it was also an immense opportunity, since the interracial union of these two popular headliners, Harry and Meghan, 'the royal rock stars', represented a unique chance to knit the monarchy closer to the people — people of all races and classes,” he wrote.
Instead, Meghan allegedly clashed with Geidt's successor Sir Edward Young - who Lacey claims lacked the same vision, which only added to the frustrations of the duchess and Harry. Eighteen months after he was dismissed, however, Geidt was brought back into the fold by the Queen as her Permanent Lord-in-Waiting. Geidt was also made chairman of trustees of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, of which Harry was president, and Meghan vice-president.
Working more closely with the duchess in relation to the trust, the strategist was tasked with properly integrating her within the family with a clear role and identity. As part of this, Geidt and the Queen began working on a plan with royal adviser and former ambassador to the US Sir David Manning on getting Meghan and Harry out of the country for an extended period. Her Majesty wanted to offer the couple a role within the British Commonwealth of Nations, with the plan to devise a position which allowed them to be "self-sufficient" and in line with, but not a threat to William as heir. It is unclear why the Africa move broke down.
In March, Harry and Meghan announced they were stepping down as senior royals and are currently living in Los Angeles with an aim of becoming financially independent. Speculation has been rife about what will happen to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex since they officially stood down from royal duties and moved to the US. Editor in chief of Majesty magazine Ingrid Seward claims The Queen will review Harry and Meghan's royal titles next year.