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Harry and Meghan’s friend claims ‘service is universal’ parting shot was ‘taken out of context’

Harry and Meghan’s ‘horribly disrespectful’ post-Brexit parting shot decreeing ‘service is universal’ was taken out of context, a close friend of the Duke has claimed. 

Buckingham Palace announced in a dramatic statement yesterday that Harry and Meghan could not continue with ‘the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service’ as non-working members of the royal family.

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.’

Many officials are said to feel the ‘barbed’ statement was ‘horribly disrespectful’ to the Queen – whose husband Philip is in hospital.

But Dean Stott, who has been friends with Harry for 12 years since they served in the army together, said the line should be ‘taken in context’ of the charity work the couple do.

He also said bringing clarity to their post-Megxit roles could help heal the rift between the Sussexes and the ‘suits’, palace officials who disliked their breaks from royal family tradition.

Harry and Meghan’s ‘horribly disrespectful’ post-Brexit parting shot decreeing ‘service is universal’ was taken out of context, the Duke’s close friend Dean Stott (pictured together) said

Buckingham Palace announced in a dramatic statement yesterday that Harry and Meghan could not continue with 'the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service' as non-working members of the royal family

Buckingham Palace announced in a dramatic statement yesterday that Harry and Meghan could not continue with ‘the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service’ as non-working members of the royal family

Mr Stott, who is originally from Aberdeen but now lives in California where he sees the couple, was asked whether the statement about ‘service’ being ‘universal’ was a push back at the palace on Radio 4’s Today Programme.

He said: ‘We’re all focusing on them stepping back. I made some comments last year that there’s so many positives we can take from this, especially their love for philanthropy. 

‘Obviously them being within the royal spotlight, there’s a lot of protocol and red tape. 

‘But actually their decision to step back gives them more opportunity and freedom to do more and help more. So I think [the statement] is probably taken in context.’ 

Pictured: The statement from Buckingham Palace that The Sussexes had been stripped of their remaining roles

Pictured: The statement from Buckingham Palace that The Sussexes had been stripped of their remaining roles

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.’

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.’

He was then asked whether the ‘context’ he refers to is the idea that service can only be defined narrowly – such as by just service to the Crown.

Mr Stott agreed, adding: ‘There’s various ways to do service. 

‘Obviously that’s been the protocol and what we’ve known up until now. But they’re very much a modern couple and like to do things differently.  

‘So they see that they can still do a service but in their own way.’

Mr Stott said there are ‘a lot of positives’ that come with the couple stepping back, one of which being they’ve found a ‘middle ground’ with palace officials the pair have clashed with in the past.

He said: ‘It keeps one end of the party happy and Harry and Meghan in the position that they can still be in that public limelight but obviously always giving back. 

‘What the couple is extremely passionate about is philanthropy. 

‘We’ve seen it in some of the work that they’ve done already. And I’m very excited about what their Archewell foundation is going to be getting involved with.’

Prince Harry, (left) speaks with England rugby player James Haskell during a visit to an England Rugby Squad training session at Twickenham Stadium on February 17, 2017

Prince Harry, (left) speaks with England rugby player James Haskell during a visit to an England Rugby Squad training session at Twickenham Stadium on February 17, 2017

Harry and Meghan were cast out as working royals last night, with Buckingham Palace announcing they had been stripped of their remaining roles following their move to California

Also interviewed this morning was royal biographer Robert Lacey who called Harry and Meghan stepping down as working family members ‘a great positive step forward’.

He also said it was the ‘beginning of us seeing William and Harry getting back together again’. 

When asked about the ‘rift’ between Sussexes and palace officials, Mr Lacey said: ‘Well Diana used to talk about the suits didn’t she? 

‘It’s certainly true that great animosity developed between the suits and Meghan in the brief time that she spent in the Palace.

‘She brought in her American advisers, they didn’t like it. 

‘The private secretaries concerned have made no secret off the record of their unhappiness about Meghan. 

‘But lets not dwell on the negatives. This is a great positive step forward. 

‘Prince Charles has always been a great believer in Meghan. I think now this is the beginning of us seeing William and Harry getting back together again.’ 

He said he would ‘like to think’ the couple will return for public – but not royal – service in the UK at some point. 

Buckingham Palace’s statement yesterday also revealed the couple had been stripped of their remaining roles following their move to California.

Their patronages will be returned to the Queen before being re-distributed among remaining working royals – including Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Anne.

But concerns have been raised about who will take on Prince Harry’s Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League patronages, with former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter saying ‘there aren’t many options in terms of the royals’.

Prince William is already the patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, while Princess Anne holds the same role for the Scottish organisation. Prince Andrew is a non-starter due to his links to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Mr Arbiter told The Times: ‘There’s not a lot to choose from. You might well hold fire, and stay in abeyance.’ 

He asked whether the roles ‘actually need a royal patron’, adding that there ‘aren’t many options in terms of the royals’.

Prince Harry is also being forced to relinquish his role in the Royal Marines – with his aunt Princess Anne poised to take over and become its first ever female Captain General. 

Prince William had initially been mooted to succeed the patronage from his brother – but growing tensions between the pair following Megxit means making such a move would be seen as unnecessarily provocative, reports suggest.

The two blistering statements: Buckingham Palace announced in a dramatic statement that Harry and Meghan had been stripped of their remaining roles following their move to California. 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

Princess Anne

Prince Harry

Princess Anne is poised to take over Prince Harry’s role in the Royal Marines and become its first ever female Captain General after the Duke of Sussex was stripped of his military role, sources claim

But concerns have been raised about who will take on Prince Harry's Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League patronages, with former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter (pictured) saying 'there aren't many options in terms of the royals'

But concerns have been raised about who will take on Prince Harry’s Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League patronages, with former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter (pictured) saying ‘there aren’t many options in terms of the royals’

As a result, a military source said the Princess Royal has now emerged as the ‘least controversial choice’ for the role, which was previously held by her father, the Duke of Edinburgh.

‘She’s not going to cause any problems or scandals…it wouldn’t be fair to take it off one brother and give it to the other,’ it was claimed last night.

The source insisted that Anne was ‘well liked’ by those in the Marines and added: ‘They would obviously like to keep Harry but we will be told who we get.’

The hard-working Princess Royal, 69, who lives at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, is already associated with 65 military organisations and currently Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy.

She is Royal Colonel of the 6th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Commodore-in-Chief of the naval force of Canada and Royal Honorary Colonel of the City of Edinburgh Universities Officers Training Corps, to name but a few.

She is also Patron of The Battle of the Atlantic Memorial project in Liverpool, the Camp Hill Veterans’ Services, aiding Canadian veterans in recognition of their services to their country, and the National Museum of The Royal Navy. 


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