Elton John was "surprised" when he found out Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were stepping down as senior royals, a source has said.
In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they would be leaving the royal family to start a new life in the US. While Elton was stunned by the decision, he remained Harry's "rock" and was in contact the couple "everyday".
Speaking to the Mirror at the time, a source said the pop legend knew about Harry and Meghan's struggles long before Queen Elizabeth II did. They said: "Elton speaks to Harry and Meghan every day.
"He’s an inspiration, an almost 'motherly' figure. They made their decision alone, but he’s a shoulder to lean on and listened as they spoke about their plans.
"He is a constant support, especially to Meghan, and is very protective of them both.
"He has been their rock. So while he would never tell them what to do, he has been a listening ear and support throughout."
However, the MailOnline were told that the Rocket Man signer wasn't expecting such a drastic move by the couple. They said: "The first that Elton heard of the details and timing of Harry and Meghan’s plans were when the announcement went up on their Instagram."
In a statement announcing their departure from royal duties, Meghan and Harry said: "After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.
"We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment."
They then explained that they planned to "balance" their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
Elton was close friends with Harry's late mother Princess Diana after they first met in 1981. At her funeral, he performed a rewritten version of his hit song Candle in the Wind.
The 76-year-old also sang at the Sussexes’ wedding back in 2018.
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