The Royal Family are “hurt” at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s announcement they will step back as senior royals.
Prince Harry and Meghan did not consult any royal about making their personal statement, BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond was told by palace sources.
Buckingham Palace was “blindsided”, he said, as talks about their future had begun but were in very early stages.
The palace said there were “complicated issues” to work through.
In their statement on Wednesday, Harry and Meghan said they made the decision “after many months of reflection and internal discussions”.
They said they intend “to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent”.
They plan to split their time between the UK and North America, while “continuing to honour our duty to the Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages”.
“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter,” the couple said.
Despite the couple’s decision, Harry will remain sixth in line to the throne.
The pair was already preparing to launch their own Sussex Royal charity, which they set up after splitting from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s foundation in June last year.
The Sussexes’ new charity is expected to be global, linked to Africa and the US, rather than domestic – and will have a commitment to female empowerment.
It was revealed in December the couple had made an application to trademark their Sussex Royal brand across a string of items including books, calendars, clothing, charitable fundraising, education and social care services.
Why North America?
Meghan, of course, is American herself and has a particularly close relationship with her mother who lives in California.
But the Sun, which broke the story on Wednesday, was firm in its speculation that Canada was their likely destination.
The couple have just returned after a six-week break from royal duties, which they spent in Canada with their eight-month-old son, Archie.
After returning to the UK on Tuesday, Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, visited Canada’s High Commission in London to thank the country for hosting them and said the warmth and hospitality they received was “unbelievable”.
Former actress Meghan lived and worked in Toronto for seven years during her time starring in the popular US legal drama Suits.
She has previously spoken about adopting the city as her second home after her native Los Angeles, and she she has several Canadian friends.
Jessica Mulroney, a close friend of the duchess, posted a quote on Instagram about a “strong woman” facing a challenge.
The Canadian stylist and TV star wrote: “A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink.”