Furious Prince Philip is said to have barked “what the hell are they playing at?” after learning about Harry and Meghan’s plan to quit royal life.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced on Wednesday they wanted to quit as “senior royals” and become financially independent, splitting their time between the UK and North America.
Prince Philip is reported to have reacted with fury after being told.
The Queen’s 98-year-old husband is said to have accused his grandson of disrespecting the monarch.
It is understood Her Majesty knew little of Harry and Meghan’s plans until reading them on an iPad at her Sandringham estate before switching on the news.
Prince Philip, who retired from public life in 2017, now spends much of his time in a farmhouse on the edge of the Norfolk estate, but is believed to have returned to the main house to comfort the “disappointed” Queen in the wake of the crisis.
She has called a crisis summit to discuss the situation on Monday that will be attended by her, Prince Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles, with Meghan potentially dialling in.
A source told The Sun on Sunday that Philip asked “what the hell are they playing at?” after being told about Harry and Meghan’s announcement.
The source added: “To say that the Duke feels let down would be a considerable understatement. He is deeply hurt.
“But he was spitting blood when aides informed him what had happened. Philip has accused Harry and Meghan of lacking respect and he is weary of their behaviour.”
Prince Philip recently spent several nights in a private hospital in London for treatment for a “pre-existing condition”.
He was discharged just in time for Christmas, but Harry and Meghan stayed away from the royal festive celebrations at Sandringham, instead travelling to Canada for a six-week break.
Meghan and Harry’s statement, released on Instagram , said: “‘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.
“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.
“It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. 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.
“We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties.
“Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”