LONDON - It is a confirmation that has shocked few but has left the Queen feeling "saddened". The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have informed Her Majesty that they will not be returning as working members of the Royal family.

Buckingham Palace announced the decision after the Queen wrote to the couple, confirming that in stepping away from official duties, it was not possible to continue with "the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service".

The couple's royal patronages will be returned to the monarch and some last word freakery from the Sussexes has left a sour taste.

The Queen is said to have been ‘blindsided’ by Harry and Meghan’s upcoming interview with Oprah Winfrey after her grandson failed to mention it, reports claim. Buckingham Palace only learned of the interview when US TV network CBS issued a statement earlier this week – after one of Oprah’s producers alerted ITV to the project by mistake, according to the Mail on Sunday. Protocol usually dictates that Royal Family members get the Queen’s blessing ahead of a television interview. But Harry and Meghan, 39, who this week revealed they would not return as working royals, reportedly kept the deal secret from his grandmother.

The ‘wide ranging interview’ reportedly emerged when a member of CBS staff requested access to ITV news anchor Tom Bradby’s interview with Meghan in 2019 – which saw her open up about the struggles of becoming a new mum in the media spotlight. A source told the Mail: ‘They had kept the interview totally secret. The Queen was not told, the Palace was not told.’

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were stripped of their royal patronages and honorary titles this week after the Queen reportedly warned there could be no ‘half in, half out’ roles for the couple, telling them: ‘You work for the monarchy – the monarchy does not work for you.’ The queen said that by ‘stepping away’ from the Royal Family, it would not be ‘possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.’

Harry and Meghan are said to have waited to learn their fate before they recorded the 90-minute programme with Oprah, due to be aired on March 7.

The family drama continues as Prince Philip, 99, remains in hospital, with son Charles at his bedside yesterday.