On January 8 last year, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry shocked the world when they announced they were quitting the royal family.
The couple said they had spent months considering the life-changing move, but a source said it came as a “bolt from the blue” for the rest of The Firm, who were reportedly furious.
Princes Charles and William were reportedly given just 10 minutes warning of the Sussexes’ Instagram statement, and Harry’s grandmother the Queen was said to be “hurt”.
However, according to experts the Queen “played a blinder” and took back control of the scandalous situation with two perfectly constructed statements.
The first, released shortly after Meghan and Harry’s bombshell post, was short and snappy, explaining that there was a lot of work to be done.
In just 34 words, she acknowledged the development and warned working out an agreement would be “complicated”.
It read: “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage.
“We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
Speaking on Channel 5 documentary, The Queen: In Her Own Words, speech writer and former British Ambassador Charles Crawford said: “When the Queen makes a statement, it’s a statement with a capital ‘S’. That’s because there is something which needs to go on the record.
“The tone was flawless, and above all it was very short.”
However it was with her second statement on the subject, which she shared after an emergency summit at Sandringham with Charles, William and Harry, that she really took back control.
She explained that talks had taken place ands the logistics were being worked out.
It read: “Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.
“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.”
However, experts claim it was the final line that really sent a message.
It read: “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.”
Speaking on the documentary, Charles says: “When the Queen asks for something, it happens.
“It also sent a public message to the people advising Harry and Meghan – ‘this is over, let’s get down to an agreement and move on’.
“It was a nicely phrased but firm statement saying this is where things stand, just so you all know, and that’s it.”
Royal correspondent Roya Nikkah praised the way the Monarch dealt with the difficult situation.
She said: “The Queen is still the boss, and the boss had to get involved and negotiate and find a deal and a way forward.”
“The Queen’s handling of that was pretty immaculate.
“Whilst we had one little mention of her saying ‘I would rather they had stayed as working members of the family’, there was no resentment in any of her statements.”
Royal expert Jennie Bond agrees, adding: “The Queen actually played a blinder with the Harry and Meghan crisis and she has come up with some kind of resolution.”