Meghan and Harry’s royal family exit plans stall in row over corporate deals

Charming Prince Harry put aside his troubles as he gave his all to what could be his last royal engagement.

But behind the scenes, talks on his and Meghan’s future outside The Firm stalled on their ability to strike big-money deals.

A source said their breakaway bid “will take up to six months to get over the line”.

Harry’s breakaway plans stalled – as a video of his final royal outing played a Stone Roses song featuring the line: “I’d like to leave the country for a month of Sundays.”

A deal allowing Harry and wife Meghan to leave their royal roles and strike commercial contracts worth millions could take “up to six months” to finalise, say sources close to the round-the-clock negotiations.

Buckingham Palace is poised to make an announcement on Friday revealing progress in discussions, but insiders say there are still major stumbling blocks to be overcome.


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The Queen’s senior advisors have urged a “forensic examination” of any corporate deals for the Sussexes, which sources say will “be carefully considered on their merits and in an agreed framework”.

That framework, sources say, is the sticking point of the talks.

After committing to turning down public funds in a move to becoming financially independent, Harry and Meghan could be free to sign deals with global corporations.

Harry has worked with billionaire TV queen Oprah Winfrey on a series examining mental health set to be released on Apple TV, while Meghan is already rumoured to be lined up for voiceover work with Disney.

The Queen gave her reluctant blessing to the couple’s plans after a Sandringham summit with Princes Charles, William and Harry on Monday, ordering “final decisions to be reached in the coming days”.


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But a government insider said: “There are major issues to deal with that have no way of being completely signed off in a matter of days.

“There are people working round the clock on this.

“We’ve drafted in from different departments and are working with representatives from governments who we have had little or no previous cause to work with, to try and get something to present on paper immediately.

“This is not something we can just magic up. Those at the Palace were left aghast as the Sussexes’ plans were revealed so soon after being virtually nonexistent apart from publishing a new website.


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“It requires a great deal of work on complex issues such as tax, copyright, intellectual property, not to mention a legal agreement with the royal institution over using the royal brand in the private sector.

“There are legal issues to contend with, how future deals will be presented and of course who will be working with them.”

Harry will meet advisors early next week to try to move the process on enough for him to join wife Meghan and eight-month-old son Archie in Canada.

The insider added: “So many questions need addressing, all of which will take up to six months to get over the line.


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“The best there will be in the immediate future is a half-way house that will look like a deal is in place to placate all parties while everyone else puts their lives on hold until this is sorted.”

The delay will be a major blow to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have been told they need to submit a series of detailed plans before they can take their new “Sussex Royal” brand into the private market. Harry, 35, appeared in public yesterday for the first time since the couple announced their decision to quit The Firm last week.

At first he seemed anxious, twisting his wedding ring and displaying cuticles that appeared bitten.

But he appeared in good spirits as he launched the draw for next year’s Rugby League World Cup at Buckingham Palace with Sport UK chairwoman Dame Katherine Grainger and dual-code legend Jason Robinson.

He even laughed when a reporter asked: “How are the discussions going about your future?”

He looked relaxed as he chatted to children from a local school who gave a rugby demonstration in the garden at Buckingham Palace. Laughing, he told them: “Look after the grass though, yeah? Otherwise I’ll get in trouble.”

Jason Robinson said of the prince: “It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the background – wherever he goes he still delivers. He is very respectful, very warm, very endearing.”

A video clip of the event posted to Harry’s Instagram account was set to Stone Roses track This Is the One, which includes the line about wanting to leave the country, as well as: “Burn the town where I was born. If only she’d believe me.”

Some saw it as a nod to his imminent departure for Canada. But aides insisted it was chosen for its popularity with Rugby League fans.

Meghan flew to the couple’s rented £11million hideaway on Vancouver Island last Thursday, less than 24 hours after the couple made their bombshell announcement that they wanted to step back from The Firm.

A palace source said: “It is widely accepted that Harry will leave for Canada as soon as he can but will return to honour some meetings in the coming months. Nothing has been confirmed with the Duchess.”

Meanwhile Meghan, 38, has made her second appearance in Canada, using a “mysterious” Hotmail account to set it up.

Her trip to the Justice for Girls group on Tuesday followed a visit to a women’s centre.

It was revealed that Meghan’s assistant, rather than a royal aide, had sent Hotmail emails to the centres asking if she could drop in.

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