Prince Harry says Sandringham summit was a ‘fix’ by royal advisors

The Duke of Sussex claims in his memoir, Spare, that the Sandringham summit where the royal family laid out the terms of his departure from royal duties was a “fix”.

In January 2020, senior members of the royal family met at the family’s country estate to lay out the grounds for Prince Harry and Meghan to step back from royal duties.

In a passage in his new book, officially released on Tuesday (10 January), the Duke of Sussex hinted that it was planned that the royal family would refuse to compromise on his involvement in royal life.

He writes that he arrived at Sandringham with the impression that the summit would consider five options for how the Sussex’s would exit royal life – ranging from maintaining the status quo (option one), to full departure (option five).

The duke writes that the family discussed the options for an hour.

After an hour, the Queen’s private secretary, nicknamed by Harry as “the Bee”, (identified as Sir Edward Young by The Times) distributed drafts of a statement announcing the Sussex’s departure through the implementation of option five.

Harry says he was left stunned by the situation.

He writes: “Wait. I’m confused. You’ve already drafted a statement? Before any discussion? Announcing Option Five? In other words, the fix was in, this whole time? This summit was just for show?”

Sir Edward Young  worked as the Queen’s private secretary (PA Images)
Sir Edward Young worked as the Queen’s private secretary (PA Images)

The Duke writes that the royal courtiers reassured him there were drafted statements for all five potential outcomes.

Elsewhere in the passage, Harry discusses his attitude towards senior royal advisors. According to The Times, William’s private secretary, Simon Case, is referred to as “the Fly”, while Sir Clive Alderton, Charles’s private secretary, is called “the Wasp”.

Prince Harry says they are “three middle-aged white men”, who he prefers to refer to as “zoological creatures”, rather than their real names. The duke writes that the three had consolidated power through “bold Machiavellian manoeuvres”.

He writes: “The Bee was oval-faced and fuzzy and tended to glide around with great equanimity and poise, as if he was a boon to all.”

“The Bee” is described by the duke as “weedy” and “self-effacing” when one might be tempted to push back. “That was when he’d put you on his list,” writes Harry. “A short time later, without warning, he’d give you such a stab with his outsized stinger that you’d cry out in confusion. Where the f*** did that come from?”

The Independent has contacted representatives for William and King Charles for comment.

This new revelation comes after the duke claimed that Prince William “screamed” and “shouted” at him in a “terrifying” row at the Sandringham summit in 2020, during an interview aired in his six-part Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan.

He added that his father, King Charles, allegedly said things that “simply weren’t true”, and that his grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, “quietly sat there” to “take it all in”.

“I have such happy memories of Sandringham, it’s where we spent every Christmas,” he said in the Netflix series. “And now I was back there in very different circumstances. I went in with the same proposal that I’d already made publicly. But, when I got there, I was given five options.”

“One being all in, no change, five being all out,” he explained in episode five of the series. “I chose option three in the meeting; half in, half out.”

He said this meant he and his wife Meghan would “have our own jobs but also work in support of the Queen”, adding: “It became clear very quickly that that goal was not up for discussion or debate.”

Elsewhere in Spare, Harry claims that Prince William physically attacked him, reveals the moment he learnt of his mother’s death and admits to illegal drug use.

The highly anticipated memoir was officially released in bookstores on Tuesday (10 January). Read The Independent’s review here.