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Insiders Say the Queen Is "Rethinking" Harry and Meghan's Exit Agreement

Palace insiders say "the Queen and Prince Charles are rethinking everything" about Megxit.

It's hard to believe it's only been five weeks since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's stunning announcement that they would "step back" from their royal duties, plunging the royal family into chaos. The Sussexes essentially forced the hand of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles to come up with formal terms for their exit in a matter of days to stem the tide of the growing PR disaster. The official statement released by Buckingham Palace on Jan. 18 revealed that the couple would be free to pursue their own interests in their quest "for a more independent life" once the agreement went into effect this spring. But it seems that Harry and Meghan have once again decided to do things their own way, which has the Queen and Charles considering a far stricter approach.

A royal source revealed that Harry and Meghan's headline-making appearance last week at an investment summit and reports that Harry is in talks with Goldman Sachs have raised concerns within the Palace that the Megxit agreement "may have been too open-ended." According to my Palace insider, "The Queen and Prince Charles are rethinking everything."

In many ways, the original agreement for Harry and Meghan's exit raised more questions than it answered. There were scant details on who would be paying for the couple's security (which is estimated to cost multiple millions of dollars), where they would live, and if they would actually repay the $4.5 million of taxpayer money used to refurbish Frogmore Cottage, their home in Windsor. The statement from the Palace only said the couple "wish" to reimburse the eye-watering sum.

But the biggest question that remains—and the issue that has become a growing concern within the Palace—is just how will Harry and Meghan monetize their "Sussex Royal" brand.

"There is a growing sense within the Palace among the senior advisors and the family that the Duke and Duchess wanted to have their cake and eat it—and they have succeeded," said my source. "The fact that they were planning this for months, proclaimed they would 'collaborate' with the Queen on their new website, and are now seeming to ignore the stipulation that they would not be seen trading on their royal status—and that is what they're doing—until the spring, is yet another sign of disrespect to Her Majesty, which has become yet another nightmare for her."

The insider continued: "Because of the Queen's deep affection for her grandson and the family's concern for his emotional well-being, the decision was made to give Harry and Meghan a wide berth in terms of how they move forward. Given the public reaction in Britain—which has been largely negative toward the Duke and Duchess in terms of how they have handled all this—the Queen is aware of people's concern about the monarchy being tarnished by the obvious commercialism. Make no mistake, this crisis is far from over. It very well may be that Her Majesty decides to put more stringent controls in place or possibly issues another ultimatum, which could force Harry and Meghan to give up their titles completely. The sad thing is, the damage to the Crown is already done."

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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