The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's exit from the royal family "will take time" due to "complicated issues".
Prince Harry and his wife Duchess Meghan confirmed on Wednesday (08.01.20) they are set to step back from their official duties, and will work to become "financially independent" and a brief statement later issued by Buckingham Palace called out their "different approach", fuelling claims senior royals were "blindsided" by the couple's announcement.
The official statement read: "Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through."
The statement was issued shortly after it was claimed senior royals - including Queen Elizabeth, Harry's father, Prince Charles, and his brother Prince William - found out about Harry and Meghan's announcement on television and even members of their own team had no idea it was coming.
A source told the MailOnline: "The level of deceit has been staggering and everyone from the top of the royal household to the bottom feels like they have been stabbed in the back.
"It's a masterclass in wanting to have your cake and eat it.
"Even their own staff cautioned against them making this public until they actually sat down and discussed it with the family properly.
"But they are in this weird bubble and have this strange siege mentality. They feel like it's them against the world and are painting a very unfair picture of how this is a family that supposedly doesn't understand or support them, which is complete and utter rubbish.
"The family is perfectly willing to help them but this was a discussion better had discreetly and quietly. Why on earth they have put it out in the public domain is a decision only they can justify."
The queen is said to be "disappointed" and "deeply upset" by the couple's decision.
Meghan and Harry announced in a statement on their Instagram account that they wanted to "carve out a progressive new role" and "step back" as senior royals.
The couple - who have eight-month-old son Archie together - will be splitting their time between the United Kingdom and Meghan's native America, and the pair hope to still be able to raise their son to "appreciate royal tradition".
They wrote: "It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity."
The couple - who wed in 2018 - closed their message by thanking their fans for their "continued support".
They said: "We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support."