Prince Harry fast-tracked plans as he feared his wife would have a 'meltdown'

Prince Harry fast-tracked plans for both himself and Meghan Markle to quit as senior members of the royal family as he was worried she would have a 'meltdown' if she remained in the UK, it has been claimed.

The Duke of Sussex is said to have been growing increasingly concerned about his wife's wellbeing, with life at Buckingham Palace leaving her 'on the brink', according to the Sun on Sunday.

As a result, a statement announcing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be stepping down as senior members  was hastily rushed out and plans for them to spend more time in North America accelerated. 

According to courtiers, Meghan felt more comfortable returning to Canada while Harry remained in the UK to deal with the fallout of their decision, which will come to a head during a summit at Sandringham on Monday.

He will come face-to-face with his father Prince Charles, his brother Prince William and his grandmother the Queen, who is said to be increasingly concerned for Prince Harry's own mental wellbeing.

Harry and Meghan, both of whom are heavily invested in mental health charities and initiatives, first made it clear in May that they would like to break away from what they see as the stifling constraints of life inside 'The Firm'.

A source said that Meghan and Harry found the slow pace of Palace life 'painful' and that – in another echo of Brexit – Meghan wanted to 'take back control' of her work and charitable endeavours.

A separate source told The Sun on Sunday: 'The statement was rushed out and part of the reason for that is that Harry knew he needed to take swift action. Meghan has not settled in the UK and he knows that and wants her to be happy.

A statement announcing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be stepping down as senior members of the Royal Family was hastily rushed out because Meghan was 'on the brink', sources say

A statement announcing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be stepping down as senior members of the Royal Family was hastily rushed out because Meghan was 'on the brink', sources say

Prince Harry reportedly grew concerned of his wife's welfare in the UK and fast-tracked plans to take a step back from Royal duties

Prince Harry reportedly grew concerned of his wife's welfare in the UK and fast-tracked plans to take a step back from Royal duties

The Duke of Sussex holding his son Archie during their six-week break in Canada

The Duke of Sussex holding his son Archie during their six-week break in Canada 

Scene of the showdown: The Queen has summoned Princes Charles, William and Harry to her Sandringham Estate (pictured) on Monday for unprecedented crisis talks to resolve the Sussex situation

Scene of the showdown: The Queen has summoned Princes Charles, William and Harry to her Sandringham Estate (pictured) on Monday for unprecedented crisis talks to resolve the Sussex situation

According to the source, the couple's six-week break in Canada helped Meghan to determine that her family would be better off splitting their time across the Atlantic. 

The source added that Harry decided to move quickly, fearing that staying in the UK for too long would lead to his wife 'having a meltdown.' 

Behind closed doors, courtiers are desperately searching for a face-saving measure that will keep the family together and the dignity of the monarchy intact. 

It comes as the Duke of Cambridge has said he is unable to even 'put an arm round' his younger brother nowadays, after a rift saw them grow apart over the past year. 

Harry and Meghan's intention to quit as senior Royals has widened the gulf between the two siblings, with William understood to be 'incandescent' over his brother's blindsiding of the Family.

But as the brothers gear up to come face-to-face at the Queen's high-stakes crisis summit at Sandringham on Monday, the second-in-line to the throne confided in a friend his raw agony over the cracked sibling bond.

He said: 'I've put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can't do that any more - we're separate entities,' according to the Sunday Times.  

The Queen driving in Sandringham, Norfolk, on Saturday afternoon wearing a headscarf, was seen driving away from the estate in her Land Rover at lunchtime

According to the source, the couple's six-week break in Canada helped Meghan to determine that her family would be better off splitting their time across the Atlantic

According to the source, the couple's six-week break in Canada helped Meghan to determine that her family would be better off splitting their time across the Atlantic

William also spoke of his frustration that Harry is no longer part of the 'team' by deciding to become 'financially independent' in a pared-back Royal role.

Yet he hopes that there will 'come a time' when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be 'singing from the same page' once again.

The Queen, who was pictured ashen-faced behind the wheel of her Land Rover on Saturday, is also said to be concerned for the mental fragility of her grandson Harry, according to a royal source speaking to the Mail on Sunday.

After laying down a 72-hour ultimatum to aides on Friday to hammer out a solution to the Sussexes' future roles, Her Majesty summoned Princes Charles, William and Harry to her Norfolk Estate to put an end to the turmoil ravaging the monarchy - while Meghan is expected to join the discussions via a conference call from Canada.

Ahead of this crunch Sandringham summit: 

ITV presenter and Sussex confidante Tom Bradby said the couple could give a 'no-holds-barred' interview  that could further damage the Royal Family. Courtiers fear Meghan could brand the household racist; Royal aides were poised to spell out the punitive taxes that could be inflicted on Harry and Meghan if they press ahead with their plans to quit;  A video from July emerged where Harry seemed to tell head of Disney Meghan is interested in doing voiceovers. She has since been given work with the company;  Prince Philip was said to be livid with the current crisis ravaging the Family; A source rubbished speculation the Sussexes plan to settle down on Vancouver Island where they spent Christmas and instead touted Toronto or LA as potential cities; It emerged Meghan sneaked back to Vancouver Island on a £134 budget flight;  It was revealed Meghan and Kate Middleton haven't spoken in over six months after the sisters-in-law severed all communication on a family WhatsApp group  Reuters reported that negotiations between Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, Kensington Palace and the Sussex household has been progressing well; Her Majesty was pictured stony-faced as she emerged from her Norfolk estate behind the wheel of her Land Rover for the second day running 

Courtiers have quickly crashed together a document outlining several blueprints for Harry and Meghan's new position within the Royal ranks.

Palace staff will also spell out the punitive taxes which could be inflicted on the couple, should they press ahead with their plans to resign from frontline duties.

However, a royal insider confirmed to the Sun on Sunday that the Sandringham Summit will extend to the 'next steps' for the entire monarchy, which is staring down the barrel of its worst crisis since 1992's Annus Horriblis, when both Charles and Diana, and Andrew and Sarah Ferguson both divorced.

Commentators have drawn parallels between the New Way Ahead Group - when the senior Royals bunkered down 28 years ago to chart a path out of the chaos - and the Queen's urgency to stamp out the Sussex situation immediately. 

Prince William is desperately sad that the once close relationship he enjoyed with Prince Harry has been wrecked, it was claimed by a friend on Saturday night

Prince William is desperately sad that the once close relationship he enjoyed with Prince Harry has been wrecked, it was claimed by a friend on Saturday night

Inside high-stakes negotiations at Sandringham: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be offered a compromise 'Commonwealth role' as courtiers desperately search for a face-saving solution to Megxit – and one aide warns 'I've never seen the monarchy in such a bad state'

By Kate Mansey for the Mail on Sunday 

Sandringham House, near the coast in rural Norfolk, is normally a private sanctuary for the Queen and Prince Philip, a place for family gatherings where they can escape the endless formalities of London and Windsor.

Since Wednesday, however, this Royal retreat has found itself at the heart of the crisis enveloping the Duke and Duchess of Sussex following their shock decision to step back from their official duties and spend more time in North America.

Palace sources say the Queen has demanded a solution be found 'at pace' – a sign of real concern in an institution that prefers to operate at glacial speed. But then, as a well-placed source put it: 'I have never seen the monarchy in such a bad state.'

Sandringham House has found itself at the heart of the crisis enveloping the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Pictured: The Queen on the Sandringham Estate today

Sandringham House has found itself at the heart of the crisis enveloping the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Pictured: The Queen on the Sandringham Estate today

Who will be at the crisis summit? 

Fiona Mcilwham, the Sussexes new private secretary is expected to be at the summit

Fiona Mcilwham, the Sussexes new private secretary is expected to be at the summit

The Queen and her private secretary Sir Edward Young

The Queen is head of state and head of the royal family, and will ultimately have the final say in the matter.

As the nation's longest-reigning monarch, her experience and knowledge on the workings of the institution of the monarchy are unrivalled.

Through the decades, the Queen has weathered the Windsors' many storms and is a symbol of stability both for the nation and within the royal family.

Although left hurt by Harry and Meghan's actions, the Queen is not given to rash decisions, and will be approaching the problem in a calm and pragmatic way. 

The Prince of Wales and his principal private secretary Clive Alderton

Heir to the throne, Charles is the future king and currently bankrolls Harry and Meghan's public duties through his £21 million-a-year Duchy of Cornwall income.

The prince is a caring, sensitive soul, and is said to be furious at how Harry and Meghan have handled the situation.

He is committed to his royal duty, but will also want his impetuous youngest son, who endured the loss of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, when he was only 12, and Meghan to be happy. 

The Duke of Cambridge and his private secretary Simon Case

When Harry turned 21, he described William as the one person on the planet to whom he could talk to about everything.

But talk of a falling out between the brothers, with William said to have urged his brother to not rush into marrying Meghan, has changed their once-close relationship.

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William, who was said to be 'incandescent with rage' at the Sussexes' actions, is a future king, and his position within the royal family is vastly different from sixth-in-line Harry, who has moved steadily down the line of succession and has to carve out his own role. 

Mr Case was has been a leading civil servant previously tasked with trying to solve the border issue in Northern Ireland and Ireland during Brexit discussions. 

The Duke of Sussex and the couple's relatively new private secretary Fiona Mcilwham

Harry has always been a favourite with royal fans, who have never forgotten the heart-rending image of the 12-year-old prince walking behind his mother's coffin.

In his younger days, he was a royal liability - dabbling with cannabis, dressing up as a Nazi and brawling with a paparazzi photographer - before he pulled off a charm offensive as he carried out overseas tours on behalf of

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