The Queen's words which suggest the Royal Family did know about Harry and Meghan's plans

They met on Monday and by Saturday evening, Harry and Meghan’s exit had been agreed.

And that’s pretty speedy, for an institution not known for its love of dramatic and hasty change.

But the reason why the Royal Family didn’t get this plan over the line any sooner is to be found in the first few words from The Queen herself.

Queen Elizabeth II being greeted by her grandson the Duke of Sussex in 2015. Credit: PA

“Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions,” she said.

But “hang on”, I can hear people cry, “what about the claims about the Family being ‘blindsided’ by Harry and Meghan last week”?

Her Majesty appears to suggest otherwise.

The words from the Queen reveal that the rest of the Family have known about the Sussexes’ intentions for some time.

They might not have been in writing, they might only have been chats, either face to face or over the phone.

But ‘conversations’ were had, confirms the Queen.

The reason for the anger and hurt - which was expressed on the day the Sussexes dropped their newsworthy statement - was that no-one had been told that they were about to make it, nor precisely what they were going to say.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Credit: PA

I suspect the various courts (Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, Kensington Palace and Team Sussex) debated long and hard over which words the Queen should use in her statement on Saturday.

And if senior members of the Family had had “conversations” for months followed by “recent discussions” in the days since Harry and Meghan’s dramatic statement, where does that leave us with those claims that this story had been leaked to The Sun?

I don’t, I am afraid, have an answer to that question.

But the Queen has, at least, cleared up one thing: the Family did know something of Harry and Meghan’s plans, in advance.