Prince William has reportedly broken his silence about brother Prince Harry’s decision to “step back” from his royal duties.
The Sunday Times in London quotes the oldest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana as expressing sadness while speaking to an unnamed friend about the matter. Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle announced on Wednesday that they’d be pursuing “progressive” new roles within the royal family which would allow them to become financially independent and divide their time between the U.K. and North America.
“I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can’t do that any more; we’re separate entities,” the 37-year-old royal, who is second in line to the British throne, is quoted as saying.
“I’m sad about that. All we can do, and all I can do, is try and support them and hope that the time comes when we’re all singing from the same page. I want everyone to play on the team.”
Queen Elizabeth has released a groundbreaking statement after the royal family’s summit in Sandringham to discuss Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step down as senior royals. The meeting came to an end after a two-and-a-half-hour discussion on Monday.
“Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family,” the Queen said in a statement. “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.
“Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives. It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK. These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.”
Palace sources told PEOPLE that the Queen ordered Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles to meet at her country home on Monday in order to “talk things through.” Meghan was thought to have called in from Canada.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry‘s decision to step down as senior royals became inevitable as the couple increasingly felt ostracized from the family.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a statement on Wednesday announcing their intent to “carve out a progressive new role within this institution” — however, the public announcement came with little formal warning and left senior royals “hurt,” something that was “so avoidable,” a royal source says.
But in this week’s cover story, a family friend tells PEOPLE that the couple felt they had no choice but to manage things the way they did, even as they went against the family’s “never complain, never explain” mantra.
“This is not how they wanted to handle this, but Meghan and Harry’s hand was forced,” says the friend. “There is so much bad blood in that family — it’s toxic.”
The friend adds, “If relationships had been better, things would have been different.”
The Queen allowed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to quit as senior Royals following a private heart-to-heart with her grandson at yesterday's crisis summit, it was revealed last night.
After a family meeting at Sandringham, Her Majesty released a historic and emotionally-charged statement regretting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's decision to split their time between Canada and the UK as they wind down their Royal duties.
According to friends, Harry arrived ahead of schedule to square things with his grandmother, who came into the crunch talks deeply disappointed with him and Meghan for wanting to step back from their official duties.
In last night's statement, her sincere regret was made clear, saying she 'would have preferred them to remain full-time working members'.
But after her one-to-one with Harry - followed by two hours of 'calm' discussions with him, Charles and William - Her Majesty agreed to a 'transition period' where the Duke and Duchess would step away from Royal engagements as they spend more time in Canada.
There was speculation Meghan was barred from dialling in on the meeting from Vancouver. But Palace sources have now said: 'In the end, the Sussexes decided that it wasn't necessary for the duchess to join.'
Just days after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their shocking exit as senior members of the royal family, Prince William and Kate Middleton stepped out for their first joint outing of 2020.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge traveled to Bradford on Wednesday to visit a number of community projects in one of the U.K.’s most diverse cities. They appeared to the chimes of bells from the city hall, which dominates Centenary Square.
Kate wore a dress by Zara and a long green coat by Alexander McQueen — her wedding dress designer. She accentuated her signature bouncy blowout with earrings by Zeen, which she wore during the couple’s tour of Pakistan in the fall.
One royal fan stationed near the couple’s drop-off spot tells PEOPLE, “They looked really happy.”
Rukhsar Parveebn, 20, a politics student from Leeds, says that there was no hint from the couple of the internal turmoil of recent days. “[William] didn’t let it show that the drama had been going on,” she tells PEOPLE. “I love the royal family and I was really impressed with him.”