Tuesday morning news briefing: Queen's reluctant farewell

Danny Boyle
Prince Harry kisses his grandmother in a photograph taken in 2015 - JULIAN SIMMONDS  

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Queen walks tightrope in attempt to maintain unity

It was an unprecedented personal statement. The Queen last night expressed her regret as she confirmed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would lose public funding and move to Canada to "transition" to a new life. After showdown talks, the 93-year-old monarch confirmed the couple were no longer "full-time working members of the Royal family". Amid speculation the Duke and Duchess could yet lose their titles, the Queen referred to the royal couple as "Harry and Meghan" and "the Sussexes". It was just 153 words, but what does the statement tell us? Chief Reporter Robert Mendick analyses the wording that tried to both resolve a royal crisis and hold a family together. And Victoria Ward explains how the Queen ordered the row be resolved within 72 hours amid speculation Harry could leave Britain as early as this week.

The Sandringham summit to decide the future role of the Sussexes took place in the privacy of the Long Library on the Queen's Norfolk estate. With the potential for tensions to run high, insiders revealed the Queen bookended the discussion with meals to keep the temperature down. Camilla Tominey has the inside story on how the monarch tried to save the House of Windsor. Matt also imagines the mood inside Sandringham in today's cartoon. And, with Meghan in Canada, Rosa Silverman has what we know about the three best friends shaping her world.

Big Ben will not bong for Brexit as bill ticks up

It is what you might call a political ding-dong. Big Ben will not bong for Brexit after projected costs spiralled to half a million pounds. A letter signed by 60 MPs had called on the Government to allow the 13-ton bell to ring symbolically at 11pm on January 31 to mark Britain's departure from the European Union. But the idea has now been dismissed by the House of Commons Commission after the potential bill leapt from an estimate of £120,000. Political Editor Gordon Rayner reports that soaring costs are due to a supporting floor having been removed.

Meteorite stardust is oldest object found on Earth

The oldest thing ever found on Earth has been discovered by scientists - and it is more than two billion years older than our planet. Tiny specks of stardust dating back seven billion years have been uncovered in a meteorite that landed in Victoria, Australia. It contains a mix of material from when our solar system was forming as well as star-building dust. Read Science Editor Sarah Knapton's story and see a microscope image.

News digest

Gallery: The big picture

Spies among us | A curious band of mountain gorillas in Uganda investigates a fake gorilla that unknown to them conceals a camera. View our picture editor's selection of more of the day's strongest images.

The footage is featured in the BBC One series Spy in the Wild Credit: BBC

Comment and analysis: Royal special

Editor's choice

  1. The darkest secret | 'I fought for decades to expose my abuse by Bishop Ball'
  2. Investors' Handbook Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on economy's green fortunes
  3. Giving up coffee? | The best hot drink alternatives - tried and tested

Business and money briefing

Not flying high | Thousands of passengers might be left stranded across Europe as Flybe teeters on the brink of collapse. With the firm thought to be days away from running out of cash, customers could be forced to find their own ways home and recoup costs from credit card firms.  

Sport briefing

Bushfire air | Tennis Australia faces fierce criticism after a player retired with breathing difficulties and others were left "gasping for air" in the opening round of qualifying matches for the Australian Open. Dalila Jakupovic fell to her knees and told officials she could not continue.  

And finally...

Sushi slip-up | Sheffield University is rolling out training for students on "micro-aggressions", such as asking Japanese students about sushi and confusing banana with plantain. The Russell Group institution said it wanted students to challenge "subtle but offensive comments" directed at their black, Asian and minority ethnic peers.