It is only four weeks since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex struck their dramatic ‘Megxit’ deal to quit as senior Royals, but ‘The Firm’ has apparently already moved on.
With what might be viewed by some as surprising haste, a prominent photograph of the couple has been removed from Kensington Palace.
It is one of the first physical signs of the couple’s split from the Royal Family after they relinquished their HRH titles to forge new lives – and potentially highly lucrative careers – in North America.
Until recently, a photograph of the couple was displayed on a large table in one of the palace’s grand foyers, opposite a picture of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children. Both pictures, separated by a large vase of flowers, were seen proudly on display as recently as Christmas.
Royal sources reported this weekend, however, that the photograph of the Sussexes has been quietly removed, while that of the Cambridges remains.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are seen as they arrived back in Canada after a presumed business meeting in the states
The stark symbolism of the missing picture is unlikely to help repair the strained relations between Prince Harry and his family.
Both Princes grew up in Kensington Palace and later shared offices there until announcing last year that they were splitting their Royal households.
Harry and Meghan announced their engagement in the Palace’s Sunken Garden and their first marital home was Nottingham Cottage, in the Palace’s landscaped grounds, before they moved to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
The Mail on Sunday understands that Royal aides remain bruised by the extraordinary emotional turmoil caused by ‘Megxit’. Under the terms of the historic arrangement thrashed out at Sandringham Palace in January, the Sussexes are stepping down from Royal duties and spending more time in Canada and the US. They will no longer use their HRH titles and will repay millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money spent refurbishing Frogmore Cottage.
The stark symbolism of the missing picture is unlikely to help repair the strained relations between Prince Harry and his family. Both Princes grew up in Kensington Palace and later shared offices there until announcing last year that they were splitting their Royal households
But in a sign of the lingering acrimony created by the split, Royal sources were last week even speculating that the Duchess of Sussex may seek to overshadow media coverage of the Duchess of Cambridge’s candid interview about motherhood and parenting this weekend. ‘She will probably put up some c*** on Instagram,’ said one Royal source acidly.
There was also incredulity among aides this weekend after the Duchess of Sussex ignored their advice and posted a cringeworthy behind-the-scenes video from her stint as guest editor of Vogue magazine.
The footage, which was posted on the Sussex Royal Instagram account, showed Meghan putting on a silly hat and playing with a party blower. It was released to celebrate the success of the Forces For Change edition that she edited in August which became the best-selling issue of the decade.
However, it is believed that palace officials repeatedly blocked her and Vogue editor Edward Enninful from posting the footage online because they regarded it as frivolous and ‘inane’. In the video, Enninful gushes: ‘I remember walking into Kensington Palace and I was so excited. And I was like ‘Lovely to meet you, Duchess’ and you were like, ‘Call me Meghan!’ ‘ He tells her that she has an ‘editor’s eye’, adding: ‘I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it.’
She replies: ‘But I left the fashion stuff to you professionals. I did say, ‘Can you do Commonwealth fashion? Can you do sustainability? Can we make sure the point of view is really in the right ethos?’ ‘
The video, which was posted last Thursday night, has been viewed more than two million times, but has attracted scathing online comments. ‘Gosh, what a nauseously self-indulging video,’ wrote one Instagram user. ‘It’s so self-centred that it’s just hard to watch.’ Another wrote: ‘A self-centred, self-serving individual who should not be indulged.’
Others highlighted how the video was posted as it emerged that Harry and Meghan are axing 15 staff and closing their Buckingham Palace office.
One or two may be absorbed back into the Royal Household but most are understood to be negotiating redundancy packages. Those losing their jobs include the couple’s recently appointed private secretary, Fiona Mcilwham, and their experienced communications chief, Sara Latham.
‘Our thoughts go out to all your staff who lost their jobs,’ posted one Instagram user in response to the Vogue video.
The job losses are another sign of how little time the Sussexes, are likely to spend in the UK.
It emerged last week that the couple, who are living with their baby Archie in a rented mansion in Vancouver Island, Canada, had made a surprise visit to Stanford University, promoting speculation that they plan to spend more time in California.