The Royal Family has weathered a number of storms under the Queen’s reign, and the last year has also proved to be incredibly difficult. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced this year they planned to ‘step back’ from their senior royal roles - so how has the Queen tackled the crisis?
Express.co.uk spoke to Anne Sebba, author of Wallis Simpson biography ‘That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor', about the Queen’s response to Harry and Meghan’s decision.
In 1936, Edward VIII renounced his position as king to be able to marry the woman he loved, Wallis Simpson.
A twice-divorced American socialite, many in the Church and the Royal Family saw Wallis as an unsuitable match for the king.
Edward’s decision to renounce the throne and marry Wallis sparked an abdication crisis, which shook the royal institution to its core.
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Although some have made the comparison between Harry’s decision to leave his senior role behind to that of Edward VIII’s decision, Ms Sebba noted how when talking about her grandson, the Queen has avoided using the “A-word”.
She said: “Have you noticed how no one is using the ‘A word’?
“Nobody is actually talking about abdication.
“Abdication has such negative connotations of giving up what is such a privilege to do, but the Royal Family won’t use that word.”
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Without question, the abdication crisis of the 1930s has left its mark indelibly on the Royal Family.
Edward and Wallis were effectively forced out of the country, living much of their life in France.
And although the couple were given the titles of Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Wallis was never given Her Royal Highness (HRH) status.
Some look back on the abdication crisis as a low point for the Royal Family, and many now view the treatment Wallis and Edward received to have been unfair.
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But the Queen appears to be keen not to repeat royal mistakes of the past when it comes to Harry and Meghan.
In her statement released via Buckingham Palace, the Queen spoke lovingly of her grandson and his wife.
She said Meghan and Harry would “always be much loved members” of the family.
She added: “I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.
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“I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.”
Ms Sebba said the Queen’s approach towards Meghan is in sharp contrast to her mother’s response to Wallis Simpson.
She said: “Did you notice how the Queen went out of her way to thank Meghan and say ‘I think she’s really tried to fit in’?
“(In contrast to) the idea that Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, would actually go out of her way to say we’re very sorry to lose the lovely Wallis Simpson.
“I think this is a much more mature monarchy and a more sensitive Queen, she’s learned.
“She saw how her mother was really bitter and damaged by what happened, and I think she’s going to do whatever she can, maybe beyond her powers, to try and limit the damage.”
Although Harry and Meghan will be spending more time in North America, the couple are expected to be welcomed with open arms by the Royal Family whenever they return to the UK.
And although the pair will no longer be considered working royals, both Harry and Meghan will continue with their charitable endeavours.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also thanked the Queen and the rest of the family for their “ongoing support”, and have pledged to continue to “uphold the values of Her Majesty”.