In the months leading up to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's shock statement about quitting the royal family, there were tensions and upset behind the scenes.

While the couple smiled for the cameras as they went about their official duties, insiders say they were growing more frustrated with royal life.

A new biography about the couple, Finding Freedom, claims they felt sidelined and believed the charity work of other royals - including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - was being prioritised over theirs.

But authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand claim it was the Queen's photo display on her desk for her Christmas Speech which made them reconsider their roles within The Firm.

They say it reaffirmed their concerns they weren't the priority

As the Monarch delivered her annual message from Buckingham Palace, she arranged four family snaps on her desk.

They included the Cambridge family, Prince Philip, Charles, Camilla and the Queen's father - but the Sussexes were nowhere to be seen.

The Mirror's royal expert Russell Myers claims the couple were clearly upset by this decision.

The Queen during her 2019 Christmas Day Speech
The Queen had four photos on display when she delivered her speech

Speaking to Channel 5's Meghan and Harry: The New Revelations, he explains: "The lack of photograph of them during the Queen's Christmas speech obviously had an effect on them.

"The book will tell you in detail how this made them feel. They felt it was a slight, they felt put out."

Meghan and Harry's reaction also features in a biography about the couple, Finding Freedom.

It states: "Harry felt as though he and Meghan had long been sidelined by the institution and were not a fundamental part of its future.

Meghan and Harry were included in the display the previous year

"One didn't have to look further than the family photos displayed during the Queen's Speech on Christmas Day.

"In the Green Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, where the Queen delivered her address, viewers glimpsed photos of the Cambridges and their children, Charles and Camilla, Prince Philip and a black and white image of the sovereign's father, King George VI.

"Noticeably absent was a photo of Harry, Meghan and their new baby, Archie.

"Palace sources insisted that the photos were chosen to represent the direct line of succession, but for Harry and Meghan, it was yet another sign that they needed to consider their own path."

It was the couple's first Christmas with their little boy, Archie

However royal expert Katie Nicholl believes the couple were not missed out through spite, but it was simply a reflection of the royal family as a whole.

She tells the documentary: "What I think was trying to demonstrated in that message was the future of the Monarchy, the future heirs and the future soveigns.

Meghan and Harry Finding Freedom

"Harry and Harry's son are not there. They don't have that place on the table."

Just weeks after the speech aired Meghan and Harry shocked the world when they released a statement on Instagram revealing they were quitting.

They said they had spent months thinking about the decision, but that they hoped to continue to support the Queen.

The message reportedly caused upset and anger at the Palace.