The claim was made by former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown, who has written a new book about the British royal family titled “The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor – the Truth and the Turmoil.”
The bombshell book explores “the scandals, love affairs, power plays and betrayals” that have rocked the royals during the last 20 years. It promises to feature new revelations based on Brown’s access to palace insiders.
The incident in question took place in 2019. At the time, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were in Canada just before they quit royal duties the following month. The queen, 96, was gearing up for her televised annual Christmas broadcast, one she has done every year since 1957. Ahead of the televised message, she made a last-minute change that allegedly left her grandson stunned.
“… A family portrait of [Prince] Charles, Camilla, the Cambridges and Harry and Meghan were exhibited at Her Majesty’s elbow,” Brown wrote. “But in December 2019, the Sussexes had evaporated, their image excised… Her Majesty pointed at a winsome portrait of Harry, Meghan and baby Archie. ‘That one,’ said the queen. ‘I suppose we don’t need that one.’”
“If the Sussexes had any residual misgivings about whether they wanted out, those doubts vanished when they viewed the queen’s 2019 televised Christmas message,” Brown continued. “With their own eyes, they saw that they had been kicked to the margins of the monarchy. Her Majesty eloquently made the point in her speech by saying nothing. The subtext was all in the flotilla of carefully arranged family photographs positioned on her writing desk.”
Brown alleged William, 39, was “appalled,” believing the move would anger his younger brother.
“William was said to have been appalled when he saw the Sussexes had been edited out,” Brown claimed. “He knew his brother well enough to predict a Category 5 tantrum brewing.”
In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they were stepping back as senior members of the British royal family. In March 2021, Harry told Oprah Winfrey in a televised interview that he tried to arrange a chat with a queen, but suggested that a palace aide blocked the meeting.
“That announcement that we put out on 8 January in 2020 – the contents of that were put into a letter to the institution – to my father, which was then shared at the end of December, when we were in Canada,” Harry explained.
“And to then get back on the 6th after my grandmother had said, ‘The moment you land come up to Sandringham, we’d love to have a chat, come and have tea – why don’t you stay for dinner because it’s going to be a long drive, and you’re going to be exhausted,'” the 37-year-old shared.
“The moment we landed in the U.K. I got a message from my private secretary, Fiona at the time… cutting and pasting a message from the queen’s private secretary, basically saying, ‘Please pass on to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that he cannot come to Norfolk. The queen is busy, she’s busy all week… do not come up here,’” Harry added.
One palace aide alleged to Brown that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were attempting to blur the line between Elizabeth’s role as grandmother and reigning monarch in arranging an informal meeting to discuss an issue about their involvement with the royal family.
“Such conversations would have to be done in the spirit of Elizabeth II as sovereign, so there would’ve been agendas,” a palace source claimed to Brown. “Talking points would’ve been agreed on beforehand between private secretaries… What the Sussexes tried to do was circumnavigate that and go and see her because, on her own, she famously says yes. She caves.”
Harry later insisted to Winfrey, 68, that he “would never blindside my grandmother.”
“I have too much respect for her,” he added.
A palace spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment concerning Brown’s book. However, a spokesperson previously told Fox News Digital that the palace doesn’t generally comment “on such books.” A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex also didn’t immediately reply to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Markle, a former American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married Harry in May 2018 at Windsor Castle. The couple welcomed a son named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in 2019.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departures from royal duties began in 2020 over what they described as the British media’s intrusions and racist attitudes toward the former “Suits” star, 40. The family now resides in the coastal city of Montecito, California.
In the wake of quitting royal duties, they gave an explosive TV interview to Winfrey in which the couple described painful comments about how dark Archie’s skin might be before his birth. The duchess talked about the intense isolation she felt inside the royal family that led her to contemplate suicide.
Buckingham Palace said the allegations of racism made by the couple were “concerning” and would be addressed privately.
In June 2021, several months after the interview, the couple welcomed their second child, a daughter named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.
The name pays tribute to both the queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet, and Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.