President Trump speaks out on Meghan Markle, Prince Harry's royal announcement: 'I think it's sad'

Elise Solé
President Trump (not pictured) weighed in on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's announcement to step back from their royal duties. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
President Trump (not pictured) weighed in on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's announcement to step back from their royal duties. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump said Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to “step back” from their royal duties is “sad” in a new interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham.

The president weighed in on what the media calls “Megxit” after a bombshell announcement from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Wednesday. In their Instagram post, the couple shared a strategy “to carve out a progressive new role within this institution” and become financially independent, along with plans for their 8-month-old son Archie. “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,” read the post.

The Sussex Royal website explains more, including the couple’s financial details and their intention to keep Frogmore Cottage, which is owned by the Queen, as their home base “with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen.”

“I think it’s sad, I do. She’s a great woman...” Trump said about Queen Elizabeth during the Friday interview when asked whether he had “any advice for the rogue royals.”

He later said of the Queen, “...I think this was a blindside. She was blindsided by this whole situation and I think it’s too bad....” while continuing to praise Her Majesty.

When Ingraham asked, “Like Harry should go back, come back and fix all this?” the president answered, “Well, I think, you know, I don’t want to get into the whole thing but I find it — I just have such respect for the Queen. I don’t think this should be happening to her.”

Following Harry and Meghan’s announcement, Buckingham Palace released a short statement that read, “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”

According to the New York Times, the news shocked members of the royal family, particularly the Queen, who hadn’t yet signed off on the master plan.

The Times reports that, per someone “with knowledge of the family,” Prince Harry had broached his father Prince Charles with the couple’s plans and was asked for a written proposal. The Queen, says the source, also told Harry that Charles’s permission would be required before her blessing. However, nothing had been finalized before the announcement.

In fact, reported the Times and other outlets, Harry and Megan raced to share their news — on a website designed by a Canadian firm responsible for Markle’s former lifestyle blog The Tig — for fear that the Sun, a U.K. paper, had prepared a breaking story based on an inside scoop.

And the relationship between Prince Harry and his older brother Prince William has further soured, a royal source told Entertainment Tonight. “William is understandably frustrated by his brother’s decision,” said the source. Some royals branded the break-off “selfish” and “Many family members were very disappointed with the Sussexes,” said the source.

According to People, the brothers started growing apart when Harry proposed to Megan after less than one year of dating, compared to the eight-year courtship of William and Kate Middleton. And there are rumors that Middleton and Markle aren’t exactly best friends, with a source telling People, “They are very different characters.”

Harry alluded to the brotherly distance in the October ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, remarking, “Inevitably stuff happens. But we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers. We’re certainly on different paths at the moment. I’ll always be there for him and as I know, he’ll always be there for me. We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we’re so busy but I love him dearly.”

While President Trump didn’t get too detailed in his assessment of the latest shakeup, choosing instead to praise the Queen, he’s previously asserted his royal opinions. In June, after learning that Markle called him “divisive” during Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” in 2016, the president reacted in an interview with the Sun.

“I didn’t know that,” he told the paper. “What can I say? I didn’t know that she was nasty.” Trump later wished Markle well on her royal journey saying, “It is nice, and I am sure she will do excellently.”

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