Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped down from their roles as senior royals and relocated to the US way back in 2020.
The decision was not made lightly, of course, and it was the result of a gradual deterioration in the couple’s relations with Harry’s family that took place over the course of years.
But now, a royal expert who has been reporting on the situation from the very beginning says there was one precipitating event that caused Meghan and Harry to realize their time in London had come to an end.
And for all the fights and drama that marred the early days of Harry and Meghan’s marriage, it seems it was a simple photograph that convinced the couple it was time to move on.
The image in question showed Queen Elizabeth II posing with her heirs, Prince Charles (now King Charles), Prince William, and Prince George.
Significantly, the photo was taken in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace.
While Harry will almost certainly never become king, he is still in line for the throne, and according to royal expert Andrew Morton, the duke took the fact that he was excluded from the photo as a sign that he was no longer in good standing with his family.
Morton has reissued his 2018 biography of Meghan, and the book contains a new chapter in which the explains the significance of the Throne Room phoro.
“The royal couple suspected that the entire institution was conspiring against them,” Morton writes in an excerpt published by the New York Post.
“As they saw it, the evidence was all around them. The unspoken code was straightforward: the future of the monarchy was assured, with or without Meghan and Harry.”
Harry and Meghan, of course, made no mention of the photo when they announced their intention to step down.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the couple said at the time.
“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” the Sussexes’ official statement continued.
“It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.
“We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties,” the statement concluded.
“Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”
These days, the Sussexes remain active with various humanitarian projects — just last week, Harry and Meghan were in Dusseldorf for the Invictus Games, the athletic competition for wounded veterans that Harry helped to establish in 2014.
And Harry has been back to London several times, albeit usually without Meghan by his side.
But the rift between the Sussexes and the rest of the Windsors remains as deep as ever, and it doesn’t look as though either side has any intention of burying the hatchet.
Sometimes, a picture is worth far more than a thousand words.