Excuse me? Prince Charles and Prince William didn’t think Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were *actually* going to step away from their senior royal duties, according to biographer Robert Lacey.

“It was sort of offhand,” Lacey said of Harry’s initial conversation with William and Charles about his family’s exit. He explained that the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge “didn’t quite believe they were serious” and basically responded to the idea as an afterthought, telling Harry to “put it down on writing paper” or send “us an email and we’ll think about it,” Lacey said.

However, Harry was serious, telling his family: “Look, we’ve come to the conclusion we quite like Canada. We’d like being on the side of the Atlantic. We think we want to stay here for a bit, but we think we can still say Royal.”

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The royal historian — who wrote the biography Battle of Brothers: William & Harry — The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult, which explores the famous brothers’ broken bond throughout the years — noted that Harry’s idea to brand Royal Sussex as an “expatriate monarchy” was brushed off by the royal family.

The conversation between Harry and his family took place before the 36-year-old and 39-year-old announced their bombshell news to the public in January. The Prince suggested the power couple “could still represent the crown in Canada, [and] all these things,” but the ideas were brushed to the side. Still, Lacey added, “Charles and William [have] never denied [the talks with Harry].”

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped away from their duties more than a year after tying the knot in England in May 2018. The power couple welcomed son Archie the following year. Amid Harry and Meghan’s blossoming relationship, the tension between Harry and his 38-year-old brother continued to worsen as William had his doubts about Harry’s speedy relationship with the American actress.

A concerned William even brought in their late mother’s brother to “see what he could do.” Unfortunately, the effort was met with a “bitter explosion” from the father of one after William tried to intervene. The Duke of Sussex “didn’t blame his uncle” for showing concern, but was “furious with his elder brother for dragging other family members into the row.” The “anger and mistrust — that distance — has lasted to the present day,” Lacey dished.

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Prior to Megxit, Queen Elizabeth II wanted “Harry, William, Charles and herself” to “hash things out,” but William — who felt “blindsided” and “incredibly hurt” after finding out Harry and the Suits alum were going through with their departure — declined his grandmother’s invitation. “I put my arm around my brother all our lives,” the older brother said, according to the new book, “and I can’t do it anymore. We’re separate entities.”

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