• A new book discusses Queen Elizabeth's response to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to step back as working royals
  • Author Matthew Dennison says the Queen "expressed loving finality" in her statement about their exit from the firm
  • The biographer claims the Queen "acted in the only way she understood"

Queen Elizabeth II put the monarchy first when it came to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's exit from the firm, a new book has claimed.

In his book "The Queen," which drops next month, royal biographer Matthew Dennison discussed the 95-year-old monarch's response to her grandson and his wife's decision to step back as working members of the royal family in January 2020. "Elizabeth was hurt and disappointed," he wrote in an excerpt obtained by Us Weekly.

The royal expert noted that it took little time for Queen Elizabeth to decide that — based on the couple's decision — Prince Harry and Markle would no longer be able to use their "royal highness" titles.

"Elizabeth’s official statement expressed loving finality: ‘It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.’ It was an attempt to reassert control in the interests of damage limitation, and a decisive but dark beginning to a new decade," the British writer said, adding, "Elizabeth had never been a sentimental woman; she had acted in the only way she understood."

He continued, "As throughout a life in which she had consistently honored her father’s belief that ‘the highest of distinctions is the service of others’, she had placed the monarchy first, safeguarding its mission of service and duty that could never, she was certain, be a part-time calling."

After announcing their decisions to quit royal duties, Prince Harry and Markle moved to the U.S. and settled down in a $14 million mansion in Montecito, California, with their son Archie. They welcomed daughter Lilibet in June.

The couple officially stepped down at the end of March 2020, beginning a 12-month trial period should they have decided to return as working royals. In February, Markle and Prince Harry announced that they were making their exit permanent.

Queen Elizabeth stripped them of their honorary military appointments and royal patronages, saying in a statement that "in stepping away from the work of the royal family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service."

The Sussexes seemingly fired back by insisting in a statement released shortly after Buckingham Palace's announcement that "service is universal."

"As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role," a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in the statement. "We can all live a life of service. Service is universal."

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams weighed in on the couple's reaction to the Queen's decision at the time. He claimed that Prince Harry and Markle were "clearly angry" and "unhappy" with how things went down.

"We know they’re unhappy, I totally accept that," Fitzwilliams said on Us Weekly's "Royally Us" podcast. "I’d like to see a more balanced approach. … The language used [and] to appear to lecture the queen … that sort of statement is very unhelpful, but what it showed is how angry they are."

Dennison's "The Queen" is set to hit shelves on Sept. 1.

Harry and Meghan, Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are photographed. AFP/Tolga AKMEN