Prince Harry and his wife Meghan considered the extreme measure of breaking royal protocol to contact the Queen as tensions grew in the royal family, according to a new book.
An extract from biography Finding Freedom says Harry spoke to the Prince of Wales and the Queen about his desire to make changes before he left for Canada for six weeks at the end of last year.
That came before the so-called Megxit split that saw the couple leave the UK for the US with their son Archie.
Authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote: “He felt at once used for their popularity, hounded by the press because of the public’s fascination with this new breed of royal couple, and disparaged back within the institution’s walls.”
While in Canada, the couple decided to step back as senior royals.
“Harry emailed his grandmother and father to say that he and Meghan had come to the decision to change the way they worked — to step back and spend more time abroad,” an extract from the book says.
“He didn’t get into much more detail, worried that the news might leak via a member of staff. The rest, he said, they would discuss in person.”
With both family members informed, Charles’s private office was requested to schedule a time for the two to meet the Queen, who was based at Sandringham for the holiday, as soon as the Sussexes returned to the UK on January 6.
“Their trip to London was going to be short, but Harry was keen to ensure that by the time they returned to Canada at the end of the week, their new chapter had been secured.'”
However, Harry was told his grandmother was unavailable until the end of month and ordinarily that would be that.
In the extract published in The Times, the authors write that as the couple flew back to the UK they “toyed with the idea of driving straight from the terminal to see the Queen”.
But this was abandoned because they decided it would have “ruffled feathers” and cause them difficulty.
“At this point they felt like they had brought up the subject enough times with family members over the past year and they were fed up with not being taken seriously,” a source close to the couple said.
A spokesman for Harry and Meghan said the couple did not contribute to the book, but he did not deny the content of The Times’s 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.”