Royal showdown: Queen to chair crisis talks over Meghan and Harry

SANDRINGHAM, England, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Queen Elizabeth and her heirs will meet Prince Harry on Monday to thrash out a plan for Harry and Meghan after the couple triggered a royal crisis by announcing they would be stepping back from their duties and spending more time in North America.

Prince Charles, heir to the British throne and Harry's father, and Prince William, Harry's elder brother, will attend the meeting at the queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England.

Harry and Meghan's shock announcement that they would step away from royal duties and spend part of their time in North America has tipped the Windsor family into crisis by exposing divisions among senior royals and triggering a discussion about just what it means to be a royal in the 21st Century.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry return to work
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry return to work
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 7: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House in London, United Kingdom on January 7, 2020 and are greeted by Janice Charette. Duke and Duchess of Sussex will meet Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada to the UK and the staff and thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arriving for their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 7: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House in London, United Kingdom on January 7, 2020 and are greeted by Janice Charette. Duke and Duchess of Sussex will meet Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada to the UK and the staff and thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 7: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House in London, United Kingdom on January 7, 2020 and are greeted by Janice Charette. Duke and Duchess of Sussex will meet Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada to the UK and the staff and thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arriving for their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrives at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arriving for their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Duchess of Sussex arriving for the visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arriving for their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrives at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The Duchess of Sussex arriving for her visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex reacts as they leave after her visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, in London on January 7, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex react as they are show a special exhibition of art by Indigenous Canadian artist, Skawennati, in the Canada Gallery during their visit to Canada House, in London on January 7, 2020, to give thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex gesture during their visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, on January 7, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex smile during their visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, on January 7, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 07: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex gestures during her visit with Prince Harry to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, on January 7, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 7: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Canada House in London, United Kingdom on January 7, 2020. Duke and Duchess of Sussex met Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada to the UK and the staff and thanked them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving after their visit to Canada House, central London, to meet with Canada's High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette, as well as staff, to thank them for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex visit Canada House to meet with HE. Ms. Janice Charette, High Commissioner in Canada to the UK as well as staff to thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada at Canada House on January 7, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex visit Canada House to meet with HE. Ms. Janice Charette, High Commissioner in Canada to the UK as well as staff to thank them for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada at Canada House on January 7, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
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The couple consulted neither the queen nor Charles on the announcement, made on Instagram and their own website, a step seen as impertinent and premature by a family which traces its roots back through a thousand years of European history.

Harry and Meghan said they wanted to carve out a progressive new role for themselves and work to become "financially independent."

But it was unclear how the couple will become what royal biographers said was akin to being a "half royal" - and who will pay for their transatlantic lifestyles. Meghan has returned to Canada to be with their son Archie after the couple spent six weeks in the country in late 2019.

In a sign of just how tense royal relations have become, British newspapers said that Harry and Meghan could threaten to give an extensive interview to a major U.S. network.

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