Isabel II has chosen one of her private residences, Sandringham Palace, to settle a public crisis that threatens to overflow. The heir to the throne, Charles of England; his successor, Prince William; the cause of the whole mess, Prince Henry; and from Canada, by telephone, his wife, Meghan Markle, have been summoned this Monday by the queen to agree on a protocol, financial and logistic plan that allows the Dukes of Sussex to cut ties with the royal family and reduce their public obligations .
The British newspapers dedicated dozens of pages this Sunday to the storm unleashed last week on the Windsor House. The surprise announcement of the Dukes of Sussex, last Wednesday, through their Instagram account, that they intended to abandon their public obligations, move to “North America”, achieve “economic independence” and promote “a a new progressive role within the institution ”the monarchist angered Elizabeth II, the prince of Wales (Henry’s father) and the Duke of Cambridge (William, the elder brother). The three links of continuity of the throne felt not at all, almost betrayed by the decision.
Although the distancing signals were clear for months. Although the six-week getaway to Canada from marriage, to stay out of royal Christmas celebrations, was a clear anticipation of what was to come. And even though the Duke of Sussex came to present his father with a draft of his plans and tried unsuccessfully to meet with his grandmother to obtain his approval, Buckingham Palace reacted in a dry and irritated manner at the announcement.
The disqualifying and inappropriate against the couple of “spoiled children” flooded the pages of the conservative press. And the leftist media embraced the Sussex cause to encourage, with or without intention, a climate of division in the country that almost reminds of the one caused for three years by Brexit.
Almost 70 years as head of state have given Isabel II an experience that, together with her natural prudence, has made the monarch decided on this occasion to demand an expeditious, sensible and empathetic response. Between the cruel emptiness that was done to Edward VIII and his wife Wallis Simpson and the complicated ambiguity with which Lady Di was treated, the queen has demanded on this occasion that the obligations and rights of Enrique and Meghan be fixed black on white.
Many are the complex issues that should begin to be resolved this Monday at the Sandringham meeting. For starters, if the Dukes of Sussex keep their titles. The queen’s environment has already implied, always through anonymous sources, that they will be allowed to retain them. Another thing will be your obligations regarding the royal family. The head of the prestigious British Civil Service, Mark Sedwill, has already prepared drafts in this regard so that they remain central figures in charge of the Commonwealth (Community of Nations) and make some official trips representing the Crown. This solution does not clear relevant practical and protocol problems. Should they attend key official ceremonies such as Trooping the Color (official acts and parades on the queen’s birthday)? Will British embassies act at your service on your trips?
And then there is the very thorny financial issue. Enrique receives a juicy contribution from the royal budget and the benefits of the Duchy of Cornwall, the agricultural and land rental conglomerate (550 square kilometers) managed by his father, the Prince of Wales. Any agreement should contemplate a gradual reduction of these revenues. And the possible return of the Dukes of Sussex to the public treasury of the almost three million euros that cost the reform of Frogmore Cottage, his residence in Windsor.