The Queen was ‘blindsided and hurt’ by Meghan and Harry’s surprise website launch

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A website designed to clarify Harry and Meghan’s future was “deeply upsetting” to members of the royal family and “hurt the Queen”, a new book has claimed.

Finding Freedom, serialised in The Times and Sunday Times, said the couple were forced to take action after a story broke that they were going to stay in Canada permanently.

The book’s authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote that a royal source denied leaking the story, instead blaming the couple “because they were frustrated at the palace in the talks that were going on… They wanted to force the decision, to break it open.”

The couple deny this claim, The Times reports.

On January 8, Harry and Meghan used their Instagram page to share the news of their future plans and launched the website  sussexroyal.com.

The book’s authors write: “It offered clarity on their decision to be financially independent, which was not only to have more freedom in their work but to remove the tabloids’ justification in having access to their lives.”

The website took everyone by surprise, the authors write.

“Aides and family members knew the couple wanted to step back, but the website, which laid out the details of their half-in-half-out model as if it were a done deal, put the Queen in a difficult position.”

Buckingham Palace put out a short statement 15 minutes after the Sussexes made theirs, but aides including the Queen’s private secretary were “furious”.

And there was significant reaction from fellow royals, with a source saying the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were “devastated”.

A senior member of the household was quoted in the book as saying: “The element of surprise, the blindsiding of the Queen, for the other principals who are all very mindful of this, rightfully, it was deeply unsettling.

“The family is very private and bringing it into the public domain, when they were told not to, hurt the Queen.

“It was laying out what the Sussexes wanted in a statement without consulting with Her Majesty first – and she’s the head of the institution.”

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