Britain's royal family is having a high-stakes emergency meeting Monday at Sandringham, Queen Elizabeth II's country estate in Norfolk, to find a solution to a rift that broke into public view when Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, declared partial independence from the British crown last week. The queen invited Harry, her grandson, to meet with her; his father, Prince Charles; and his brother, Prince William. Meghan is expected to call in from Canada, where she is staying with her and Harry's baby son, Archie.
Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced their intention to "step back" from their royal duties on Wednesday, going public against the queen's wishes, according to media reports. Buckingham Palace said Monday's summit will try to hash out the next steps and come to a resolution within "days, not weeks," with "a range of possibilities" on the table. Among the thorny decisions are who will pay for Meghan and Harry's security, whether they can keep their titles and their English home Frogmore Cottage, what kind of financial endeavors they can pursue, and how that would be taxed if they move to the U.S. or Canada.
British royalty watchers say the key for the queen will be to keep things amicable, even as the British press makes the family division seem chasmic and apocalyptic. The Sunday Times quoted an identified friend of Prince William recalling the prince saying: "I've put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can't do that any more; we're separate entities." And it also ran a column from TV journalist Tom Bradby, who is close to Harry and Meghan. "I have some idea of what might be aired in a full, no-holds-barred, sit-down interview" with the couple, he wrote, "and I don't think it would be pretty."