The Queen has met with Prince Harry for the first time since he and Meghan Markle announced they were quitting royal life.
During their meeting she delivered a heart-warming message to her grandson telling him, “You are much loved and will always be welcomed back.”
The pair met at Harry’s request after he returned to the UK to carry out his final royal engagements.
Together, they talked for four hours sharing a light lunch and tea as they discussed his future.
“The Queen had a lot to talk to Harry about and this was the ideal time for them to both say their piece,” a royal source told The Sun.
“When Harry and Meghan announced they wanted to quit it all happened very quickly and it was very stressful for all concerned.
“[This] was the first time the Queen has had the chance to talk to Harry on his own and really find out what his plans are. It was a much more relaxed environment and they were both able to speak their mind.”
The 93-year-old Monarch also expressed her sadness at seeing so little of her great grandson Archie, who remains in the couple’s new home in Vancouver.
“It’s fair to say she is very upset about him and Meghan leaving and she would love to see more of Archie, as would Prince Charles and the rest of the family,” the royal source said.
“But she accepts at the moment that his mind is made up and he intends to live in North America.”
While the Queen made it clear that Harry and Meghan are and will always be family, she also wanted to make certain he was aware of the limits in place and that the arrangement would be reviewed in the next 12 months.
“She also wanted to make it clear that the arrangement can only work if they do not exploit their royal status and try to ‘cash in’ — that’s why she wouldn’t let them use the word ‘royal’ for their foundation,” the source said.
“The Queen is protecting the institution and she is also aware of the cost of security. That is something that still needs to be resolved. But Harry is also a much-loved grandson who she has always doted on.
“She made it very clear to him that he and Meghan are always able to come back if they change their minds and she will welcome them with open arms.”
In the coming days Prince Harry and Meghan will carry out their final royal visits, including the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey where they will join Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Queen and Prince Charles and Camilla.