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 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.
📸 To mark the start of a new decade, a portrait has been released of Her Majesty The Queen and Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince George. The portrait was taken by Ranald Mackechnie in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace. Photograph © Ranald Mackechnie
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“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.
“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.