Prince Harry and Meghan Markle told Elton John before the Queen

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle told Elton John their plans to quit their senior royal duties before telling the Queen, it has emerged.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have grown close to the singer in recent years, having even made use of Sir Elton’s French Riviera home and his private jet last summer.

The singer, described as  a ‘rock’ to the royal rebels, defended the pair following the backlash over their use of four private jets in 11 days, calling Princess Diana one of his ‘dearest friends’ whose family he ‘felt a profound sense of obligation to protect.

Now it has emerged that Harry and Meghan turned to Sir Elton before announcing their bombshell decision on Instagram last week.

‘Elton speaks to Harry and Meghan every day. He’s an inspiration, an almost ‘motherly’ figure,’ a royal insider told the Mirror.

‘He is a constant support, especially to Meghan, and is very protective of them both,’ they added.

While a source close to Sir Elton added: ‘He has been their rock. So while he would never tell them what to do he has been a listening ear and support throughout.’

A spokesperson for the Candle in the Wind singer said: ‘Elton supports the fact that Harry and Meghan are admirably taking control of their own lives.

‘He cares about them both and their family deeply and is fully supportive of any decisions the couple make, knowing they are made by them alone, without outside influence and with their future happiness and wellbeing in mind.’

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The reveal comes ahead of a high-stakes crisis summit at the Queen’s Sandringham home on Monday, with Meghan joining in by phone from Canada.

Harry, brother William and their father Prince Charles will be there in person.

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The Sussexes visited the £15million palatial home of Castel Mont-Alban owned by Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish overlooking the Promenade des Anglais during their holiday to the French Riviera in August.

The trip to Nice came shortly after Harry and Meghan had returned by private jet to the UK from Ibiza after a six-night break on the Spanish island to mark the Duchess’s 38th birthday.

Harry and Meghan’s intention to quit as senior Royals has widened the gulf between the two siblings, with William understood to be ‘incandescent’ over his brother’s blindsiding of the Family.

But as the brothers gear up to come face-to-face on Monday, the second-in-line to the throne confided in a friend his raw agony over the cracked sibling bond.

He said: ‘I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can’t do that any more – we’re separate entities,’ according to the Sunday Times.

William also spoke of his frustration that Harry is no longer part of the ‘team’ by deciding to become ‘financially independent’ in a pared-back Royal role.

Yet he hopes that there will ‘come a time’ when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be ‘singing from the same page’ once again.

The Queen, who was pictured ashen-faced behind the wheel of her Land Rover today, is also said to be concerned for the mental fragility of her grandson Harry.

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It also emerged the Duke of Sussex pulled the trigger on his abdication decision because he feared his wife, who had not settled well in the UK, was ‘on the brink’ and could suffer a meltdown if she remained in the country permanently.

Anxious to avoid exacerbating an already tense situation, the Royal Family is keen to tread carefully.

A source said: ‘There is no suggestion that they will be punished or stripped of their Royal titles or HRH status. Everyone wants to find a solution to this as quickly as possible.’

After laying down a 72-hour ultimatum to aides on Friday to hammer out a solution to the Sussexes’ future roles, Her Majesty summoned Princes Charles, William and Harry to her Norfolk Estate to put an end to the turmoil ravaging the monarchy.

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