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World

AFP
January 13, 2020

Who's who at the British royal family gathering at Sandringham today

World

AFP
Mon, Jan 13, 2020

SANDRINGHAM, United Kingdom: The British royal family gathers Monday to thrash out a future for Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who unilaterally decided they were stepping back from front-line royal duties.

Here are the key players in the room at the Sandringham summit:

Queen Elizabeth II

The 93-year-old head of state has been on the throne since her father, king George VI, died in 1952.

She has steered Britain through dramatic changes since the aftermath of World War II.

Her style over the years has been one of slow-paced, pragmatic change through consensus rather than drastic action.

The meeting is being held at Sandringham, her private estate in Norfolk, eastern England, where she traditionally stays from Christmas to early February.

Prince Charles

The monarch´s eldest son is Britain´s longest-serving heir to the throne and the father of princes William and Harry.

His marriage to their mother Diana collapsed and they divorced in 1996. He married second wife Camilla in 2005.

At 71, the Prince of Wales is playing a bigger role in running the royal family after his father Prince Philip, now 98, retired in 2017.

Based at Clarence House in London, his private income from his Duchy of Cornwall land and property portfolio bankrolls his sons and their families.

Prince William

The Duke of Cambridge, 37, is second in line to the throne, followed by his three young children Prince George, six, Princess Charlotte, four, and one-year-old Prince Louis.

He married his university sweetheart Kate in 2011.

He was a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot and gave up his job as an air ambulance pilot in 2017.

The family live at Kensington Palace in London.

Regarded as a conscientious and cautious character, he is concerned to make sure that the monarchy remains relevant to new generations.

Harry confirmed in October that the brothers had drifted apart.

Prince Harry

The Duke of Sussex, 35, is now sixth in line to the throne. After 10 years in the British army, in which he served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, Harry began to concentrate on royal duties.

He met Meghan, a US television actress, on a blind date and their relationship quickly blossomed. They married in May 2018 and live at the newly renovated Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Castle estate.

Meghan, 38, will be joining in the talks by phone from Canada, where the couple spent six weeks on holiday over Christmas with their son Archie, who was born in May last year.

Meghan briefly came back to Britain before returning to Canada.

Private secretaries:

- Edward Young (Queen Elizabeth)

He has worked for the monarch for 16 years. He is responsible for supporting her in her duties as head of state and is the channel of communication between the sovereign and the government.

He reportedly played a key role in getting the Queen to appear with actor Daniel Craig in the film screened at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony when she appeared to jump from a helicopter with James Bond.

Reports at the weekend suggested some senior royals wanted him sacked for his handling of this latest crisis.

- Clive Alderton (Charles)

A career diplomat who joined the Foreign Office in 1986, Alderton first served as an aide to Charles between 2006 and 2012, after which he became Britain´s ambassador to Morocco.

He has held posts in Poland, Belgium, Singapore and France.

- Simon Case (William)

A former civil servant, he was previously director of strategy at Britain´s eavesdropping intelligence agency GCHQ, then became an aide to prime minister David Cameron.

He was then tasked with trying to resolve Irish border issues in the Brexit negotiations.

- Fiona Mcilwham (Harry)

She is a former top diplomat, becoming one of Britain´s youngest ambassadors when she was posted to Albania aged just 35 in 2009.

Relatively new to the royal job, she has held diplomatic posts in Washington, Brussels, Baghdad and Sarajevo.