A shock decision that caught the establishment by surprise has led to rancour and division.
Now, after hectic negotiations during which the media lapped up spin from each side, it looks as if a Canada-style deal is on the cards — following a pragmatic transition period.
But this ain’t Brexit folks, it’s the modern monarchy and its growing pains have become audible.
More accurately, these are shrinking pains — since the top executives at the firm (better known as Her Majesty the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge) decided last year to focus on a slimmed-down Royal Family, focusing on the immediate heirs.
The streamlining of the board was made easier (though doubtless it didn’t feel like it at the time) by the epic fall of Prince Andrew, who decided to make his case directly to shareholders only to find his value tank once he opened his mouth.
His disastrous Newsnight interview meant he had to clear his desk without so much as a farewell drinks party.
Within the plans for Monarchy 2020 there was surely room to accommodate the wishes of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to take voluntary redundancy.
Indeed, the Palace has let it be known that discussions about Harry and Meghan’s future role were very much on the cards.
Despite rumours of a tell-all interview, we may never know why the Sussex sub-branch decided to unilaterally announce a split from HQ, but the Royal Family is pragmatic (often ruthlessly so) and the Queen, despite being shocked by the behaviour of her grandson, issued a memo to all heads of department in which she demanded solutions, not problems.
The result was yesterday’s Sandringham summit. There were no ACAS mediators, but it seems a plan is developing.
The Queen said in a statement last night that “we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life” and that there will be “a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.”
Crucially, the Queen acknowledged that the Duke and Duchess “do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new life”.
As is so often the case, money will be the sticking point of these negotiations. Harry and Meghan can’t just launch a clothing line and tout for voiceover work.
However, we should recognise their desire to take back control and support them as they forge a new path.
Indeed, we should wish them all the best.
Main image: Getty