Instagram photo 'influenced' Harry and Meghan decision to step back from royal duties, report says

A photo of the Queen and the next three monarchs upset Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and influenced their announcement yesterday to step down as senior royals, according to a report.

The Times said the “line of succession” photo released five days ago - featuring Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George with the monarch - upset the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who saw it as a sign they were being excluded from royal life.

The photo of the Queen, Charles William and George.
The photo of the Queen, Charles William and George.

The newspaper also says their decision to step away from royal duties and become financially independent was also partly triggered by the Queen’s Christmas message not featuring any photos of the couple on her desk.

“Their decision to “step back” from royal duties was, in part, triggered by those signals,” the paper reports.

Focus on Prince Charles’ idea to streamline the monarchy gained attention during the Prince Andrew scandal.

Nick Ede, a PR expert, played down the idea the photo could have been the “tipping point” as the Sussexes couldn’t have expected to have been in it.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a visit to a township to learn about Youth Employment Services (YES), which aims to tackle the critical issue of youth unemployment in South Africa by creating one million new work opportunities in the next three years. (Photo by DPPA/Sipa USA)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were reportedly upset by the Instagram photo. (Photo by DPPA/Sipa USA)

“I think it was very interesting to see that photograph... that was a very interesting silent PR tool to show there is a streamlined royalty, a streamlined family, and those are the ones we should be focusing on,” he told Yahoo News UK.

“In many ways I can’t see that as a tipping point... the fact of the matter is Prince Harry and Meghan are quite far down the pecking order now so they really shouldn’t be there on that, and it really should be the future king and obviously the next ones.

“I think it was a direct way of showing they are streamlining, they are thinking about what do do about taxpayers’ money.

“When the Queen goes, it is going to change, no matter what anyone says.”

Buckingham Palace was contacted for comment this afternoon.