Royals locked in four-way phone call, seeking solution 'at pace' to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle controversy

The Queen has reacted to news Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle want to step down from their royal duties by ordering the royal households to find "workable solutions" within "days, not weeks", according to a Palace source quoted by British media.

"The Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge have directed their teams to work together at pace with government and the Sussex household to find workable solutions," Sky News reported the source saying. "Expected to take days, not weeks." 

The comments come after the royal couple announced on Thursday they wish to become financially independent and share their time between the UK and the North America.

According to the Daily Mail, the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Harry spent the day on a four-way conference call addressing the controversy. 

Exactly what the Palace source's comment means has caused speculation online, with many interpreting it as a sign the family wants the couple out as quickly as possible. 

ITV reporter Chris Ship wrote on Twitter the royal family was working with more than one government - "presumably UK, Canada and USA" - implying the family may be making plans for Harry and Meghan to leave the UK quickly. 

"Basically the anger and shock of yesterday has given way to an acknowledgement in the royal family that this is the new situation and they simply have to deal with what's in front of them," Ship wrote.

According to BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell, the Queen had been in touch with Charles and Harry on Thursday (local time), directing senior staff to work with the Sussex household and the government.

In their statement, Harry and Meghan said they planned to "carve out a progressive new role in the institution".

"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," they said. "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 royal family was "hurt" at the couple's statement, the BBC reported.