- Video report by ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship
Donald Trump has weighed in on the current royal crisis calling Harry and Meghan's decision to step down as senior royals "sad", saying this latest Windsor saga "should not be happening" to the Queen.
Her Majesty and other senior royals have ordered their teams to find a "workable solution" to Harry and Meghan's future roles as it was revealed the Duchess of Sussex had returned to Canada amid the fallout of the couple's bombshell announcement.
- Meghan flies to Canada - tasking Harry with Sussex-shaped crisis, writes Royal Editor Chris Ship
The President was asked what his advice would be to her in dealing with the "rogue royals" in an interview with US cable network Fox News on Friday night.
"I think it's sad. I do, I think it's sad," he said, adding he thought the Queen was "a great woman" who had "never made a mistake".
"She's a had a flawless time.
"I don't want to get into the whole thing, but I just have such respect for the queen. I don't think this should be happening to her."
On Wednesday, Harry and Meghan released a shock statement on Instagram announcing they will be "stepping back" as senior royals and will divide their time between the UK and North America.
The announcement was said to have left the Queen and other senior royals "hurt".
A Buckingham Palace source said the Queen, the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge have asked aides to work with governments and the Sussex Household to find a solution to the couple's plans to step back from their frontline roles as members of the monarchy and become financially independent.
The head of state has moved quickly to avert the latest crisis to hit the royal family following the recent difficulties they faced with the Duke of York's disastrous television interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Chris Ship, ITV News Royal Editor, quoted a royal source as saying: “It is not the pitch we wanted to be playing on, but it is the pitch we are currently on and we have to deal with that reality.”
- ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship on the latest developments surrounding the current royal crisis
The Duchess of Sussex returned to Canada to be reunited with baby son Archie, who reportedly remained in the country looked after by a nanny and friends of Meghan, just days after returning with her husband from an extended festive break on Vancouver Island.
ITV News at 10 presenter, Tom Bradby, a friend of Harry and Meghan, claimed the couple were made aware over the Christmas period that the monarchy's focus in the future would be on those at the top of the line of succession that "they weren't really a part of it".
Meghan's return to Canada leaves Harry left to negotiate their futures with his family and royal aides alone.
- Former chair of the public accounts committee Margaret Hodge says she respects Harry and Meghan's decision to step back from royal duties, following the "viciousness" faced by the Duchess.
It is understood she was always due to go back to Canada after a brief stopover in the UK to attend some meetings, according to a friend.
The couple on Friday made their first public remarks since the furore broke, using the @sussexroyal account on Instagram to post a picture of Meghan from earlier this week on a private visit in London to the Hubb Community Kitchen, run by a group of women whose recipes were featured in a cookbook backed by the duchess.
The Queen in Sandringham, Charles in Aberdeenshire, William at Kensington Palace and Harry at Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle, have spoken on a conference call, according to reports.
Buckingham Palace has already warned the couple that their decision to "step back" from the royal family will be "complicated", but the Queen has ordered a solution to be found in days not weeks.
Dai Davies, a former Royal protection officer, told ITV News: "They need the professionalism of the intelligence services and Scotland Yard, and the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and possibly in America.
"This is a well-oiled machine that does work most of the time but to think it can just be abdicated or just put across to private security is non-nonsensical."
The couple's wish to become financially independent but with a commitment to still support the Queen through official royal duties has been criticised by some.
This halfway house, as both members of the monarchy and private individuals making a living, has been described as a "toxic mix" by David McClure, an investigator into royal finances.
Harry and Meghan receive the majority of the funding for their public duties, and some of their private costs, from the duke's father, Charles, who pays the expenses out of the multi-million-pound income from his private Duchy of Cornwall estate.
Other important issues to resolve include who will pay for the substantial security cost of protecting the couple and their baby son if they spend large portions of the year in Canada and possibly America.
Earlier Labour leadership contender Clive Lewis called for a referendum on the future of the royal family.
"We are a democracy. I'd rather see us as citizens rather than subjects in the 21st Century," he said.
He added: "Let's look at what a modern state looks like and what the role of the royal family would be."
Later, he told ITV News he believed Harry and Meghan had "every right" to make the decision they have given the "level vitriol" directed towards the duchess.
"This is a woman who has been a role model for people in this country, who has done work for charities, you has championed the victims of Grenfell," he said.
"She is someone who I admire and I think the fact that they're decided they have to do this should be respected. I think most people in this country would say 'good on them, I wish them every happiness in their lives.'"