Back in 2019, the queen announced her annual Christmas address via a cozy photo on Instagram, which showcased a display of family portraits that included Prince William and Kate Middleton and their family, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, and, in a glaringly obvious slight, no Prince Harry or Meghan Markle. According to a royal biographer, the move didn't sit well with Harry, who felt "erased" by the fact that his family was deliberately excluded.
Just a year before, the Sussexes were included, which seems to add one more layer to the drama. A few weeks after the queen's 2019 Instagram post, Harry and Meghan announced that they were stepping away from the family and their roles as senior royals.
"I think this is a turning point. There are all sorts of subtle messages that are conveyed in this kind of soap opera that goes on," royal biographer Christopher Andersen told Us Weekly. "In 2018, she sat there in front of a Christmas tree. She gave her Christmas address and there were the family photos [...] Including Archie and Meghan and Harry, very prominently displayed."
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A source close to Harry revealed that it could have been one of the final issues that pushed the Sussexes to distance themselves from the rest of the royals.
"I think that was hurtful [for him to see]," Anderson added. "A friend of Harry's told me that he felt that he was being erased in a sense from the family. And it was right after that, that they made their [decision to leave the U.K.]. I think that was one of the things that prompted them to issue the statement that they were stepping back from royal [life for a] full-time real life."
Andersen went on to say that while the photo op was being arranged, she wanted the photo of Harry and Meghan removed.
"The Queen hasn't decided what to do about it [amid the talks of Harry leaving]," Andersen continued. "There's a point at which — just before she gives a speech to the director on set — [she is] asked which photographs she wants in the shot next to her." Looking at a framed photo of the Sussexes, she reportedly said, "We won't be needing that one."
"So there you had, in photographs right next to the Queen, the people that clearly were most important to her," Andersen finished.