New Delhi/London: The wax figures of Harry and Meghan have been removed from the royal set at Madame Tussauds London after the couple rocked the monarchy with their bombshell decision to 'step back' as senior royals.
The museum has separated Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan Markle, 38, from the rest of the royal family. Wax replicas of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex previously stood next to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, with Kate Middleton and Prince William on the other side.
MailOnline, the website of the Daily Mail, quoted Madame Tussauds' general manager Steve Davies as saying: "Alongside the rest of the world we are reacting to the surprising news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be stepping back as senior royals. From today Meghan and Harry's figures will no longer appear in our Royal Family set. As two of our most popular and well-loved figures they will of course remain an important feature at Madame Tussauds London as we watch to see what the next chapter holds for the them."
— Madame Tussauds London (@MadameTussauds) January 9, 2020
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan on Wednesday decided to quit front-line duties without consulting any senior royals from the sovereign downwards.
The couple said they would now "balance" their time between Britain and North America, rip up long-established relations with the press, and seek financial independence.
They released their shock statement on a pre-prepared new website, their Instagram account and through Buckingham Palace's email communications system. An hour and 40 minutes later, the palace, seemingly rattled, issued a brief statement of its own, saying discussions were at an early stage and involved "complicated issues".
The mood in the palace was understood to be one of disappointment and even "hurt", according to the BBC, while Thursday's newspapers were full of reports of a family "split" and the queen's "dismay".
London's Evening Standard newspaper said they had "defied clear instructions from the queen" not to go public about any future plans at this time. It added senior courtiers had warned the couple "will be punished for this".
While the pair have not said where in North America they planned to reside, many observers pointed to Canada as a logical choice. The couple spent the last six weeks of 2019 in that nation, part of the British Commonwealth of countries that have the queen as their head of state.
The Canadian government would likely have a legal obligation to provide them with security because of their royal status, security experts said.
"I don't believe they can refuse the government of Canada's security," said Larry Busch, an ex-Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer who directed security for world leaders including US presidents and the royal family.
The cost could easily run into the millions of dollars, said Mike Zimet, whose eponymous New York executive security firm has protected clients including U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and actors Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alec Baldwin. "If they want private protection, then a whole machine needs to be built around them," he said.
(With inputs from agencies)