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Royal anger at Harry and Meghan's 'horribly disrespectful' parting shot after losing patronages

Harry and Meghan were cast out as working royals last night.

Buckingham Palace announced in a dramatic statement that they had been stripped of their remaining roles following their move to California.

Pointedly, it said they could not continue with 'the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service'.

Minutes later, the apparently furious Sussexes issued a stinging rebuke to the Queen, insisting they would still 'live a life of service' outside the royal fold. They added: 'Service is universal.'

Although officials do not want a slanging match, many are said to feel the 'barbed' statement was 'horribly disrespectful' to the elderly monarch, whose husband Philip is in hospital.

As relations hit a bitter new low, an insider said: 'They have made a roaring success of what they set out to do in the US, this independent life. And good luck to them. But you can't have your cake and eat it.

'If your primary role is to serve the head of state and the monarchy, then it's very hard to do that if you are earning millions on the side. That's philanthropy, not public service. The couple are working with some deserving charities and causes, which is great.

'It's just that the model of how they are doing it is different from how the Royal Family do it.'

The source stressed that the split from the Royal Family had been Harry and Meghan's decision entirely. 'They have chosen to live in America, they have not been exiled to America,' they said.

Another insider said: 'Let's be clear, the Sussexes instigated this. They jumped. But the Queen is firm: either you are a public servant or you aren't.

'You can't line your pockets while undertaking official duties.'

Although Palace officials were at pains to stress how 'saddened' the monarch and senior royals were by the split – insisting that Harry and Meghan were still 'much loved' members of the family – the rift between the two sides is now wider than ever.

Relations are so acrimonious that despite weeks of discussions, they couldn't even agree a joint statement on the issue. 'It's actually all very sad,' a source said.

Another insider said: 'The direction of travel has been clear for a while. The Queen has been very clear from the start that this 'half in, half out' model demanded by the Sussexes wouldn't work and hasn't deviated from that. Not once. Their original idea was to have a 'third way' of being a royal. And the Queen has said quite simply 'no, you can't'.'

The Mail has been told that it was Harry who pushed to restart talks over his and Meghan's position early this year.

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