Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ‘felt snubbed’ when they were absent from photos the Queen had surrounding her during the Christmas Day speech last year, a new book has claimed.
According to Finding Freedom, the couple were dismayed when no picture of them and their son Archie was visible on the desk in the Green Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, where the Queen records her annual speech.
In 2018, Harry and Meghan appeared in a photo with William and Kate as the Queen read her Christmas message.
Authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand write that Harry and Meghan felt they “had long been sidelined by the institution and were not a fundamental part of its future”.
The absence of their photo was “yet another sign that they needed to consider their own path”, the book says.
According to palace sources quoted in the book, the Royal Family wanted to illustrate the line of succession.
Harry and Meghan were not completely disregarded in the Christmas Day speech, however.
Footage of the Queen and Prince Philip meeting Archie for the first time was included, with footage showing Harry, Meghan and Meghan’s mum, Doria Ragland, watching on.
“I have been delighted to welcome our eighth great-grandchild,” the Queen said at the time.
In the Queen’s 2019 Christmas Day speech, Her Majesty can be seen sitting in the Green Drawing Room of the palace beside a table with framed pictures.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall appear in a photo which marked the 50th anniversary of his investiture as Prince of Wales.
A lovely family portrait of William, Kate, George, Charlotte and Louis stands in the middle.
There’s also a photograph of King George VI from 1944 as well as one of the Duke of Edinburgh from the Queen’s private collection.
But notably, Harry, Meghan and their son Archie are no where to be seen.
Royal commentator Ingrid Seward said at the time it was unlikely the Queen’s photo selections represented a deliberate snub to Harry and Meghan.
But she said: “It does seem to represent the idea of a slimmed-down monarchy.”
Ms Seward added: “All the media problems with Harry and Meghan must have worried her. However, she would never be so underhand as to deliberately omit their picture.”
Prince Andrew, forced to quit royal duties over his ‘car crash’ Newsnight interview over his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, was also absent from the photos.
As the Queen’s Christmas Day speech was aired to millions across the world, Meghan and Harry were spending the Christmas break in Canada with their young son.
The family said at the time they were having an “extended holiday break” after admitting they were struggling to deal with life in the public eye.
A spokesman for Harry and Meghan said the couple did not contribute to Finding Freedom, but he did not deny the content of published extracts.
The spokesman said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom.
“This book is based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting.”