Prince Harry, Meghan's shock decision 'declaration of war', outrages Queen - report

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's stunning decision to step back from the royal family is a "declaration of war" that has outraged Queen Elizabeth, according to British media.

In an unprecedented announcement that has shocked the world, Harry and Meghan said they no longer wanted to be senior members of the family and would become financially independent. Buckingham Palace quickly issued a curt statement, saying nothing had been finalised

However, according to a report by Kiwi reporter Dan Wootton, executive editor at The Sun, the decision by the couple to release their now-famous statement has begun a "civil war".

A senior source told the British tabloid that it hadn't been cleared with anyone, something corroborated by other media outlets, like the BBC and ITV, which say no other royal family member was consulted. 

The source said: "It breaks all protocol. This is a declaration of war on the family."

"There is fury over how they’ve done this without any thought for the implications for the institution. The Queen is deeply upset. The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are incandescent with rage."

The BBC's Jonny Dymond said some senior members feel "hurt" by the announcement.

According to Harry and Meghan, the couple and their child, Archie, will now split their time between the United Kingdom and North America.

"We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.

"This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity."

The Duke and Duchess said the decision came after "months of reflection and internal discussions". 

But Buckingham Palace's subsequent statement said discussions were only at "an early stage".

"We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through." 

Both Harry and Meghan have been under an intense media spotlight since their highly-publicised marriage in 2018.

Late last year, the pair said they were suing Associated Newspapers over the publication of a private letter - a rare move for members of the royal family who normally ignore press comment.