Prince Charles has made it clear he will stop funding Harry and Meghan if they completely ditch royal life, according to reports.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex currently get about 95% of their costs covered by the Prince of Wales who is said to be ‘hurt’ at not being consulted before their shock announcement to step back as ‘senior royals’.
Last night the Queen ordered royal officials to come together with the Sussexes to find a swift solution to the crisis.
However, Meghan has returned to Canada leaving Harry to face the wrath of his ‘disappointed’ family, including father Charles and brother William.
On Wednesday evening, the Sussexes issued a bombshell announcement they were planning to carve out a ‘progressive new role’ and split their time between the UK and North America.
They said they were working to become ‘financially independent’ and would forgo money from the Sovereign Grant – taxpayers’ cash that funds the royal family.
However, questions quickly emerged as to how they would fund themselves as the bulk of their income is from Prince Charles and his lucrative Duchy of Cornwall estate.
There are also questions over who will fund their security with costs expected to spiral if they spend their time between two continents.
Sources told the Times that Charles is willing to turn off the financial tap – worth around £2.3 million annually – if Harry and Meghan step away from royal duties entirely.
While he is unlikely to leave them without a penny, he is said to have made clear that any agreement over money depends on the details of their future role and will only be settled once that has been decided.
It is a marked change of relations between Charles and the Sussexes as he is known to have been close to Meghan and gave her away at the wedding after relations soured with her own father.
Negotiations between the Sussexes and Charles have been going on since Christmas, which the couple spent in Canada with their eight-month-old son Archie.
Reports said that while the family were shocked Harry and Meghan wanted to ‘step back,’ they were prepared to sit down and talk about how being ‘half in and half out’ of The Firm would work in practice.
Upon their return, Harry was said to have tried to have a meeting with the Queen but this was blocked by courtiers.
They reportedly feared the monarch, 93, could be used as a negotiating tool between Harry and his father.
The Duke of Sussex was said to be unhappy at the rebuff and the decision was taken to press the nuclear button and go public against the advice of aides.
The Queen, Charles and William were said to have had just a 10 minute warning and have been left ‘hurt and furious.’
Less than two hours after the announcement, Buckingham Palace issued a terse response saying these were ‘complicated issues’ that still needed to be ‘worked through.’
The Queen has now instructed all the royal households to come up with a ‘workable solution’ within days and also included the Home Office, which is responsible for royal security.
Harry and Meghan have made clear they expect the taxpayer to fund their security costs, which have never been disclosed but are estimated at around £600,000 a year.
On their new website they make it known they are considered ‘internationally protected people.’
The cost to the taxpayer would increase substantially if they spend significant periods of time abroad and there are already long-standing concerns within the Met Police about the cost of providing royal protection to those who qualify.
Harry and Meghan said they want their UK base to be Frogmore Cottage, which has just undergone a £2.4 million refurbishment at taxpayers’ expense.
Harry and Meghan are both independently wealthy with a joint fortune of £34 million.
Harry’s comes from inheritances from his great Grandmother and mother, Diana, while Meghan amassed hers during her acting roles.