Queen takes time for spin at Sandringham amid ‘deadlocked’ Megxit negotiations

The Queen was pictured driving through her Sandringham estate on Saturday after her aides hit a ‘deadlock’ finalising the details of the Megxit deal and the future of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Buckingham Palace had been expected to release a statement on the couple ‘imminently’ about the terms of the couple’s arrangement after they announced they would quit royal life. 

Her Majesty had ordered her courtiers to come up with a plan ‘in days, not weeks’ and she appeared to be firmly in control on Saturday afternoon as she drove her Land Rover.

The monarch was wrapped up against the winter chill in a patterned head scarf as she firmly gripped the steering wheel while wearing dark glasses and pink lipstick. 

Her appearance came following reports that officials are yet to iron out several key issues, including the Sussexes’ security, titles and future finances. 

On Friday night, a source close to the negotiations claimed the talks had reached a stalemate. The source told the Mirror that the talks had hit a ‘deadlock’ and that there was ‘huge pressure’ to produce something by the end of this week but that it ‘couldn’t be done’.

Harry is expected to join Meghan in Canada soon, after spending time in Britain to work out the terms for the couple quitting during a summit with the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William at Sandringham on Monday.  

The Queen was pictured driving through her Sandringham estate on Saturday after her aides reportedly hit a 'deadlock' finalising the details of the Megxit deal and the future of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

The Queen was pictured driving through her Sandringham estate on Saturday after her aides reportedly hit a 'deadlock' finalising the details of the Megxit deal and the future of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

The Queen was pictured driving through her Sandringham estate on Saturday after her aides reportedly hit a ‘deadlock’ finalising the details of the Megxit deal and the future of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Buckingham Palace had been expected to release a statement on the couple 'imminently' about the terms of the couple's arrangement after they announced they would quit royal life (Pictured: The Monarch is stony-faced as she drives her car)

Buckingham Palace had been expected to release a statement on the couple 'imminently' about the terms of the couple's arrangement after they announced they would quit royal life (Pictured: The Monarch is stony-faced as she drives her car)

Buckingham Palace had been expected to release a statement on the couple ‘imminently’ about the terms of the couple’s arrangement after they announced they would quit royal life (Pictured: The Monarch is stony-faced as she drives her car)

Her Majesty had ordered her courtiers to come up with a plan 'in days, not weeks' and she appeared to be firmly in control on Saturday afternoon as she drove her Land Rover alongside a friend

Her Majesty had ordered her courtiers to come up with a plan 'in days, not weeks' and she appeared to be firmly in control on Saturday afternoon as she drove her Land Rover alongside a friend

Her Majesty had ordered her courtiers to come up with a plan ‘in days, not weeks’ and she appeared to be firmly in control on Saturday afternoon as she drove her Land Rover alongside a friend 

The Standard quoted senior palace officials who are understood to have been working to resolve the crisis ‘at pace’.

But it is thought that talks about the couple’s ability to strike big-money deals with corporate giants is adding to the delay. 

It came as the Meghan took full advantage of her newfound independence from the Crown as she drove herself to a Canadian airport to pick up a pilates expert pal who jetted in from the US for the weekend.

The Duchess of Sussex was spotted in photos obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com parked outside Victoria International Airport in a Land Rover Discovery on Thursday afternoon.

She appeared to be in high spirits as she chatted with a male companion in the front seat, believed to be personal security, for about 10 minutes until her friend Heather Dorak arrived.  

Buckingham Palace is expected to release a statement on the couple 'imminently' on the terms of the couple's arrangement after Her Majesty (pictured on Friday) ordered her courtiers to come up with a plan 'in days, not weeks'

Buckingham Palace is expected to release a statement on the couple 'imminently' on the terms of the couple's arrangement after Her Majesty (pictured on Friday) ordered her courtiers to come up with a plan 'in days, not weeks'

Buckingham Palace is expected to release a statement on the couple ‘imminently’ on the terms of the couple’s arrangement after Her Majesty (pictured on Friday) ordered her courtiers to come up with a plan ‘in days, not weeks’

Meghan Markle appeared fresh and happy as she drove herself to the airport in Canada on Friday, but was accompanied by a security guard

Meghan Markle appeared fresh and happy as she drove herself to the airport in Canada on Friday, but was accompanied by a security guard

Meghan Markle appeared fresh and happy as she drove herself to the airport in Canada on Friday, but was accompanied by a security guard

Prince Harry was pictured in London on Friday after he attended an event at Buckingham Palace. The Queen had recently held a summit meeting with senior members of the royal family

Prince Harry was pictured in London on Friday after he attended an event at Buckingham Palace. The Queen had recently held a summit meeting with senior members of the royal family

Prince Harry was pictured in London on Friday after he attended an event at Buckingham Palace. The Queen had recently held a summit meeting with senior members of the royal family

She runs the Pilates Platinum brand, which the Duchess started attending in Los Angeles when she starred in Suits.

The friends were also both pregnant at the same time in late 2018, but their children were not with them at arrivals yesterday afternoon.

Ms Dorak, who hails from San Antonio, Texas, but lives in California, became Meghan’s pilates guru and attended the royal wedding in May 2018 with her husband Matt Cohen.

Meghan Markle’s team pre-approved text and pictures sent out after her carefully choreographed charity visit when she was given 18ct gold necklace worth £1,300 

Meghan Markle’s team pre-approved text and pictures sent out after her carefully-choreographed charity visit in Vancouver earlier this week.

The Duchess of Sussex visited feminist climate change group Justice For Girls in Vancouver on Tuesday in one of the first times she has been seen since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they were quitting as senior royals.

Her visit was publicised on the group’s Twitter account but only after Meghan’s team apparently gave the go-ahead, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Meghan Markle's team pre-approved text and pictures sent out after her carefully-choreographed charity visit in Vancouver earlier this week. Pictured: One of the images shared by feminist climate change group Justice For Girls

Meghan Markle's team pre-approved text and pictures sent out after her carefully-choreographed charity visit in Vancouver earlier this week. Pictured: One of the images shared by feminist climate change group Justice For Girls

Meghan Markle’s team pre-approved text and pictures sent out after her carefully-choreographed charity visit in Vancouver earlier this week. Pictured: One of the images shared by feminist climate change group Justice For Girls

The charity’s co-director Zoe Craig-Sparrow confirmed that that charity had sent the proposed Tweet to the Duchess’s team first.

She said: ‘And we wanted to ensure that what we were putting forward was an accurate representation of the meeting – we thought it went really well, but obviously we want to make sure that was reciprocated.’ 

On the visit, Meghan was gifted an 18ct gold and diamond whale tail charm necklace by a First Nations artist.

The Duchess of Sussex visited Justice For Girls in Vancouver on Tuesday in one of the first times she has been seen since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they were quitting as senior royals. Pictured: One of the images shared by Justice For Girls

The Duchess of Sussex visited Justice For Girls in Vancouver on Tuesday in one of the first times she has been seen since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they were quitting as senior royals. Pictured: One of the images shared by Justice For Girls

The Duchess of Sussex visited Justice For Girls in Vancouver on Tuesday in one of the first times she has been seen since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they were quitting as senior royals. Pictured: One of the images shared by Justice For Girls

The necklace was designed by Hollie Bartlett, who is a member of the Haisla Nation. 

Hollie hand-picked the piece from her collection at Vancouver’s Douglas Reynolds Gallery, which specialises in historic and contemporary northwest coast native art. 

Meghan’s visit to Justice for Girls was one of two charity visits she made that day. 

The other was to Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, however she never stepped foot inside the refuge.

Nor did she actually meet with any of the 500 at-risk women who use the Downtown Eastside Center in one of Canada’s poorest areas.

On the visit, Meghan was gifted an 18ct gold and diamond whale tail charm necklace by a First Nations artist

On the visit, Meghan was gifted an 18ct gold and diamond whale tail charm necklace by a First Nations artist

On the visit, Meghan was gifted an 18ct gold and diamond whale tail charm necklace by a First Nations artist

Meghan's visit to Justice for Girls was one of two charity visits she made that day. The other was to Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, however she never stepped foot inside the refuge (pictured)

Meghan's visit to Justice for Girls was one of two charity visits she made that day. The other was to Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, however she never stepped foot inside the refuge (pictured)

Meghan’s visit to Justice for Girls was one of two charity visits she made that day. The other was to Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, however she never stepped foot inside the refuge (pictured) 

Instead the Duchess of Sussex went to the Vancouver organization’s administrative offices in a former hotel building, where she met only with members of staff, acting executive director Kate Gibson said.

Logistics for the visit to the center itself would have been too difficult, Gibson explained. 

For one thing the center only allows in ‘women and those who self-identify as women’ so Royal Protection Officers would have had to stay outside, she said. 

She broke cover at the vulnerable women’s centre after a ‘mysterious’ email from a Hotmail account arrived asking if she could drop in. 

On Thursday back in London, Harry made his first major royal engagement since Megxit - and possibly his last - before he will reportedly join Meghan and Archie in Canada in the coming days (pictured)

On Thursday back in London, Harry made his first major royal engagement since Megxit - and possibly his last - before he will reportedly join Meghan and Archie in Canada in the coming days (pictured)

On Thursday back in London, Harry made his first major royal engagement since Megxit – and possibly his last – before he will reportedly join Meghan and Archie in Canada in the coming days (pictured)

Harry's Instagram story marked what could be his last event as a senior royal, giving fans a behind-the-scene glimpse before the Rugby League World Cup 2020 draw set to a Stone Roses hit with lyrics: 'I'd like to leave the country'

Harry's Instagram story marked what could be his last event as a senior royal, giving fans a behind-the-scene glimpse before the Rugby League World Cup 2020 draw set to a Stone Roses hit with lyrics: 'I'd like to leave the country'

Harry's Instagram story

Harry's Instagram story

Harry’s Instagram story marked what could be his last event as a senior royal, giving fans a behind-the-scene glimpse before the Rugby League World Cup 2020 draw set to a Stone Roses hit with lyrics: ‘I’d like to leave the country’

It came from Meghan’s ‘assistant’ – not a royal aide, according to the centre’s boss Ms Gibson.

On Thursday, Meghan drove herself to a Canadian airport to pick up a pilates-expert friend who jetted in from the US for the weekend.

The Duchess of Sussex was spotted in photos parked outside Victoria International Airport in a Land Rover Discovery.

She appeared to be in high spirits as she chatted with a male companion in the front seat, believed to be personal security, for about 10 minutes until her friend Heather Dorak arrived.

The Duchess of Sussex went to the Vancouver organization's administrative offices in a former hotel building, where she met only with members of staff, acting executive director Kate Gibson (pictured) said

The Duchess of Sussex went to the Vancouver organization's administrative offices in a former hotel building, where she met only with members of staff, acting executive director Kate Gibson (pictured) said

The Duchess of Sussex went to the Vancouver organization’s administrative offices in a former hotel building, where she met only with members of staff, acting executive director Kate Gibson (pictured) said

On Thursday, Meghan drove herself to a Canadian airport to pick up a pilates-expert friend who jetted in from the US for the weekend

On Thursday, Meghan drove herself to a Canadian airport to pick up a pilates-expert friend who jetted in from the US for the weekend

On Thursday, Meghan drove herself to a Canadian airport to pick up a pilates-expert friend who jetted in from the US for the weekend 

More than 5,000 miles away in London, her husband Harry made his first public appearance since the Megxit bombshell – and potentially his last engagement as a frontline royal – at the draw for the Rugby League World Cup at Buckingham Palace on Thursday. 

And Harry and Meghan’s staff at Frogmore Cottage are reportedly being ‘let go’, in the surest sign yet the couple will settle permanently in Canada with the Duchess strongly rumoured never to return. 

The Duchess of Sussex was spotted in photos parked outside Victoria International Airport in a Land Rover Discovery

The Duchess of Sussex was spotted in photos parked outside Victoria International Airport in a Land Rover Discovery

The Duchess of Sussex was spotted in photos parked outside Victoria International Airport in a Land Rover Discovery 

Meghan points as she pulls off after waiting outside arrivals for her friend Heather Dorak, a pilates guru from Texas she met while filming Suits

Meghan points as she pulls off after waiting outside arrivals for her friend Heather Dorak, a pilates guru from Texas she met while filming Suits

Meghan points as she pulls off after waiting outside arrivals for her friend Heather Dorak, a pilates guru from Texas she met while filming Suits 

This week, a close friend said: ‘Meghan felt she had to escape because living within the royal confines was soul crushing.’ 

Meghan’s friend explained that the 38-year-old feels she can ‘finally breathe’ since leaving and has free reign over her life again.

They also explained that Meghan felt that living within the royal family confines was ‘soul crushing’ and she didn’t want her son around such a ‘toxic environment’, deciding to leave in part for his benefit.

 

Five thousand miles away in London her husband Harry made his first public appearance since the Megxit bombshell – and potentially his last engagement as a frontline royal – at the draw for the Rugby League World Cup at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.

And Harry and Meghan’s staff at Frogmore Cottage are reportedly being ‘let go’, in the surest sign yet the couple will settle permanently in Canada with the Duchess strongly rumoured never to return.

More than £2.4million of tax payers money was spent on the couple’s Grade II listed house, according to royal accounts that were published last summer.

It is understood officials are yet to iron out several key issues, including the Sussexes' security, titles and future finances

It is understood officials are yet to iron out several key issues, including the Sussexes' security, titles and future finances

It is understood officials are yet to iron out several key issues, including the Sussexes’ security, titles and future finances

The bank of Dad is draining Charles: RICHARD KAY on how the Prince of Wales has had to dip into his own private reserves and give Harry and William around £2.5 million each

By Richard Kay for the Daily Mail

As fireworks arced across the night sky over Windsor Great Park, Prince Charles oozed with paternal pride.

‘My darling old Harry, I’m so happy for you,’ he had declared in his father-of-the-groom speech as the lavish celebrations for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding moved to its extravagant finale.

Fast forward 12 months and the Prince of Wales was in a rather less benign mood as he leafed through pages of accounts relating to his son’s expenditure.

The bills for the wedding, the bills relating to the considerable sums spent on fixtures and fittings at the Sussexes’ home Frogmore Cottage — quite distinct from the taxpayer-funded structural renovations — and the ongoing bills for Harry and Meghan’s allowance that he also provides, were adding up.

Prince Charles is pictured above walking Meghan Markle down the aisle on the day of her wedding to his son Prince Harry

Prince Charles is pictured above walking Meghan Markle down the aisle on the day of her wedding to his son Prince Harry

Prince Charles is pictured above walking Meghan Markle down the aisle on the day of her wedding to his son Prince Harry 

Sources now say the money Charles pays to his sons is 'draining him' Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Savannah Phillips and Prince George of Cambridge

Sources now say the money Charles pays to his sons is 'draining him' Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Savannah Phillips and Prince George of Cambridge

Sources now say the money Charles pays to his sons is ‘draining him’ Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Savannah Phillips and Prince George of Cambridge

Beyond a frown, he gave little away. ‘His attitude is always just pay what needs to be paid and move on,’ says a former aide. ‘It’s usually the path of least resistance when it’s to do with the boys.’

But those familiar with some of the eye-watering numbers which have crossed the royal desk at Clarence House say there is another side to the story.

One figure went so far as to say that the money he spends, not just on Harry and Meghan but also on financing William and Kate, was ‘draining him’.

Officially, the brothers and their households are funded out of Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall estate, but, in fact, the Prince has at times had to dip into his own private reserves.

Insiders speak of the ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ the Prince made available to furnish the couple’s Windsor home (Frogmore Cottage above) after their decision to abandon Kensington Palace

Insiders speak of the ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ the Prince made available to furnish the couple’s Windsor home (Frogmore Cottage above) after their decision to abandon Kensington Palace

Insiders speak of the ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ the Prince made available to furnish the couple’s Windsor home (Frogmore Cottage above) after their decision to abandon Kensington Palace

It is thought the last time he had to do that on a significant level was in meeting Princess Diana’s £17.5 million divorce settlement in 1996, for which he also had to borrow from the Queen.

Within a year following Diana’s death, that money, minus inheritance tax handed over to the Treasury, had ironically been transferred into trusts for his sons.

Against this backdrop it is no wonder that the Prince has been so dismayed by Harry’s decision to turn his back on life within the Royal Family for an increasingly uncertain future outside it.

One of his central worries is just how — or rather who — is going to finance their new lives.

Money may not be the root of this crisis, but it is contingent to it. In announcing their decision to stand down as senior royals, the couple said it was their intention to be financially independent.

While this certainly represents a headache for the monarchy with its thinly disguised inference that Harry and Meghan may become royals for sale, Prince Charles’s money-men may be privately relieved.

At one stage he was paying the Sussexes more than William and his family. That figure is now understood to be around the same, with Harry and William each receiving approximately £2.5 million.

However, the Prince has let it be known that his funds are not inexhaustible and that there is a limit to how far and how much he can pay.

Insiders speak of the ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ the Prince made available to furnish the couple’s Windsor home after their decision to abandon Kensington Palace.

This was in addition to the £2.4 million of public money used to convert the 19th century property from five staff flats into a single home.

‘As for the wedding, it cost him a small fortune,’ a source said. ‘They were not small sums.’

From the Michelin-starred caterers who provided the evening’s black-tie dinner for 200, and the glass marquee, to the festival-themed food stalls and bars and cars and coaches to ferry the guests around, it was all paid for by the Prince.

According to a source, the figures involved in providing for both boys have in recent times been flagged up to the Prince by his accounting staff on more than one occasion.

‘There’s usually a raised eyebrow, but the Prince always just signs them off,’ says the source.

All the same, he has made it clear that while he will continue to fund his sons, there can be, as one courtier put it, ‘no blank cheque’.

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