Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are accused of being "horribly disrespectful" of the Queen with a "hurtful" parting shot at the monarch as they officially ditch their roles of royal service to make millions in the US from private entertainment deals.
It was revealed on Saturday that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would not be returning as working members of the royal family. Last January, when the pair first stepped back from their senior duties, a 12-month review of the set-up was agreed to.
"Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service," Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
"The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family."
The palace said "all are saddened by [the couple's] decision" and they "remain much loved members of the family". That heartfelt note didn't stop Harry and Meghan from releasing a statement of their own which many have described as a bitter, harsh response to the Queen.
"As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role. We can all live a life of service. Service is universal."
The Daily Mail reports sources as saying Harry and Meghan's statement, particularly the part about service being universal, was "barbed" and "horribly disrespectful" to the Queen, especially when her husband, Prince Philip, is in hospital.
"Let's be clear, the Sussexes instigated this. They jumped. But the Queen is firm: either you are a public servant or you aren't. You can't line your pockets while undertaking official duties," one source told the outlet.
Since leaving the UK for the US last year, Harry and Meghan have made numerous private deals. They've undertaken several high-profile speaking engagements and have started up a production company, making content agreements with the likes of Spotify and Netflix reported to be worth millions.
Others speaking to The Mail have called the Duke and Duchess' comments "outrageous" and "unconscionable". The Sun reported sources and commentators as calling the statement a "hurtful jibe", "pompous" and "two fingers at the institution".
The Mail said it's "all very sad" that the two parties couldn't agree to a joint statement to release.
"The direction of travel has been clear for a while. The Queen has been very clear from the start that this 'half in, half out' model demanded by the Sussexes wouldn't work and hasn't deviated from that. Not once.
"Their original idea was to have a 'third way' of being a royal. And the Queen has said quite simply 'no, you can't'."
It's also said that Prince Harry had been pushing to restart talks about his and Meghan's roles earlier this year with an urgency that puzzled insiders. However, when it emerged that the pair would be doing a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey "all became clear". The idea of the pair opening up to Winfrey was seen as "shocking" by the royal household, according to the Mail.
Among the many military, Commonwealth and charitable associations that will revert back to the Queen are: The Royal Marines, RAF Honington, Royal Navy Small Ships and Diving; The Queen's Commonwealth Trust, The Rugby Football Union, The Rugby Football League, The Royal National Theatre and The Association of Commonwealth Universities.
The pair retain their HRH title, but won't use them, according to The Guardian sources. They will remain as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.