Queen Elizabeth Reportedly Knew ‘Long Ago’ That Harry and Meghan Would Never Return to the Royal Family

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recently decided that they would never be returning to the royal family. The couple had stepped down in March 2020 and spent a year living in the United States before officially confirming to Queen Elizabeth that they were out.

However, royal sources report that the queen knew “long ago” that Harry and Meghan would never return to serve as working royals.

Queen Elizabeth, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry stand on the Buckingham Palace balcony in 2018
Queen Elizabeth, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry stand on the Buckingham Palace balcony in 2018 | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left the royal family in 2020

When Harry and Meghan started dating in 2016, their private relationship was blissful. But the moment word spread that Harry had a new girlfriend, Meghan’s life changed forever. Harry and Meghan wed in 2018, but Meghan faced constant criticism from the press, who relentlessly compared her to Kate Middleton, made comments about her race, and suggested that she was unfit to be a royal.

Eventually, the press became too much for Harry and Meghan to handle. Harry had hinted in the past that he’d wanted to see the world beyond the royal family, and he and Meghan made the executive decision in January 2020 to step back from their roles as working royals. People weren’t too surprised to see them go, but they certainly faced criticism for their royal exit.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make one of their final appearances as working royals in March 2020.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make one of their final appearances as working royals in March 2020. | Simon Dawson/WPA Pool/Getty Images

RELATED: Royal Expert Reveals Prince Harry Wanted to Return to the Royal Family — But Meghan Markle Wouldn’t Let Him

Queen Elizabeth reportedly always knew the couple wasn’t coming back

When Harry and Meghan moved to the U.S., the queen essentially gave them a one-year trial period to make sure it was what the couple wanted. And sure enough, in February 2021, Buckingham Palace released a statement saying the queen had had “conversations with the Duke,” during which it was decided that Harry and Meghan would never return to the royal family.

Despite the decision being recent, Queen Elizabeth reportedly knew that her grandson and his wife were making a permanent exit before the discussion. Mirror reports that the queen knew “long ago” that Harry and Meghan wouldn’t be returning, and she reportedly began tapping other royals to take over their patronages. Princess Anne, Prince Edward, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex have all been tapped to take on Harry and Meghan’s organizations.

Rumor has it that Princess Anne could take over Harry’s role as Captain General of the Royal Marines. Edward and Sophie are reportedly both being considered to take over as National Theatre Patron.

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and Queen Elizabeth attend the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 26, 2018
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and Queen Elizabeth attend the Queen’s Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 26, 2018 | John Stillwell/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Tensions rose between Prince Harry and Prince William after Harry’s recent comment

Queen Elizabeth’s statement about Harry and Meghan’s official departure ended by saying the royal family is “saddened” by their decision. And once Harry was back in the press, he seemingly rebutted the queen’s statement by saying that “service is universal.” The comment reportedly didn’t sit well with Prince William, who felt that Harry was taking a jab at their grandmother.

There has been rumored tension between Harry and William ever since Harry entered a whirlwind relationship with Meghan. Still, the brothers have reportedly been in close contact with each other since Harry left the family, though it’s unclear where their relationship will go from here.