The Summit at Sandringham has concluded. Here are a few brief thoughts for now and we’ll get deeper into it as the evening progresses. For now, here’s the Queen’s statement following the meeting:
First impressions? This was hastily written. It lacks the polish that usually accompanies the monarch’s official correspondence, doesn’t it? I wonder if it’s because whoever was at the summit insisted on an immediate release without having to clear it through this and that aide or courtier so as to prevent leaks. Because we all know what’s happened with those leaks. Also, the informality of the statement perhaps reflects Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s overall goal - they weren’t about the old ass process and procedure of royal life, and this letter from the Queen, instead is as close to an intimate share as we’ve ever gotten. That, too, may have been Her Majesty’s intention. To let her subjects know that she’s a grandmother and not just the sovereign, to show a softer side of herself because lately, well, her family and its politics have seemed pretty cutthroat, backstabby, and not inclusive.
Note too that there’s another layer of informality here - Harry and Meghan are not referred to by their royal titles. It remains to be seen whether or not that’s an official sign that they are no longer Duke and Duchess or if this is simply the Queen dispensing without the pomp for this personal family situation.
As for what was achieved ...or not - it sounds like Harry and Meghan have indeed secured an early win. They get what they asked for in terms of where they will and won’t be based. And they got it done fast. Remember, this is NOT the timeline the Queen and the royal infrastructure would have wanted. They don’t operate with speed. But that leak last week ended up giving Harry and Meghan an option to make a high-risk, high-reward move. And in less than a week, they have forced through an unprecedented change in an institution that doesn’t like change.
More to come later.