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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry summit means all eyes are on Sandringham

The eyes of the world are on West Norfolk as news organisations from as far as America and Japan set up their equipment at the Sandringham Estate early this morning.

With the Queen set to hold emergency talks at the estate to discuss the future roles of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, news bulletins and reports will be sent out across the world from the area.

Satellite trucks and cameras were set up on the land in front of the visitor centre which was described as "unofficial media facilities" by the estate.

The media gather at the Sandringham Estate. Picture: Ian Burt
The media gather at the Sandringham Estate. Picture: Ian Burt

Among those covering the royals today is Kiyoharu Akiba of Tokyo Broadcasting System Television who had travelled from his London-based bureau to report the proceedings for those watching in Japan.

He said his team were not hopeful of getting good shots of the royals due to the media's position.

But Mr Akiba said there is a great interest for the royals in Japan so the coverage will be followed by many.

Kiyoharu Akiba
Kiyoharu Akiba

He said: "We do have our own imperial family which works in different ways but there is a family rift with the current emperor's wife who used to be a diplomat. She also felt estranged and that kind of royal family drama causes interest."

A reporter for PA News Agency said a press officer for the palace moved all the photographers off the road who were hoping to get a shot of the Duke of Sussex this morning.

Sam Russell, PA's regional reporter for East Anglia, said: "We could not be situated by any of the gates leading to the estate. After Prince Phillip crashed his car that's where photographers would be based but they said we can't be there today.

Picture: Ian Burt
Picture: Ian Burt

"It's private land so they can make that request."

Mr Russell arrived at the estate at 8am with three photographers and a videographer.

Rhiannon Mills, the royal correspondent for Sky News, was at the estate yesterday afternoon as well as today, and said there were at least four times as many news crews as she sees on Christmas Day.

She added: "On Saturday morning, we were told by the palace that this meeting would take place so we immediately knew this was a big development. Family meetings take place all the time but we are clearly never told about them.

Picture: Ian Burt
Picture: Ian Burt

"It's a sign that the Queen wants to get the message out there and is working together as she wants solutions, and fast."

Mrs Mills said it was "unlikely" there would be any definitive conclusions today but she is hoping for updates to emerge over the course of the day.

"This meeting is unprecedented in recent years and also it's unprecedented in terms of what Meghan and Harry are doing.

"They are trying to work through this agenda of potential solutions as a really important blueprint for how Meghan and Harry will live their lives, but perhaps for other younger royals in the future as well.

"There is no doubt Meghan has taken a lot of the blame in the recent days as a clash of cultures has emerged."

Also from Sky News at Sandringham was Martin Limbrick who will be anchoring the programme from a satellite truck.

He said the Sky News coverage will be on throughout the day with the last live show being broadcast at 10pm.

Picture: Ian Burt
Picture: Ian Burt

Mr Limbrick had travelled from Sky's Midlands assignments desk to be in West Norfolk today, but admitted he would be "amazed" if any direct footage of the royals was captured.

"It's my first time at Sandringham. It's a lovely spot," he added.

Clark Bentson, an international producer for ABC American Broadcasting flew to London from his Rome office last night before setting off for Sandringham at 6am today.

He said there would be around seven million viewers across the States watching the morning coverage, a further seven million in the evening, then roughly two million will tune in for what he called a follow-up "magazine show".

Photographers waiting on the corner of Kings Avenue at Sandringham.. (26640522)
Photographers waiting on the corner of Kings Avenue at Sandringham.. (26640522)

On the interest of the royals in America, Mr Bentson said: "Absolutely, there are high levels ever since the re-engagement of the wedding. It's not just her [Meghan], Harry is also a very popular royal."

A member of staff helping to broadcast the coverage to the French public joked the royals were proving to be a "nice change from Brexit". The coverage will be going on air at 1pm in France, she told the Lynn News.

Stuart Maskell, a links operator for ITN, will help to ensure reports from Sandringham can be broadcast on ITV, Channel 4 News and Channel 5 throughout the day.

Stuart Maskell of ITN
Stuart Maskell of ITN

He set up his truck at 9am this morning having arrived in Norfolk yesterday afternoon.

"Plenty of coffee is on the go. I better store up before the café closes," he joked.

Along with reporters, producers and cameramen, Mr Maskell said the ITN team expect to be on the scene until 11pm this evening as they provide coverage for shows at 1.30pm, 5pm, 6.30pm and 7pm.

"It's a big old job, we get everyone together and then we are all spread out across the estate," he continued.

When asked on his thoughts on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Mr Maskell said: "One half of me thinks he has obviously gone through a hell of a lot of trouble.

"No 12-year-old should have to walk behind a coffin. No adult would wish to do that either, but then the other half thinks that he is royalty and he has been born into that.

"The press perhaps have not been the best recently, but it is nowhere near as much as Princess Diana had."

Picture: Ian Burt
Picture: Ian Burt

Tony Wilson, of Associated Press, said there would be a high demand from foreign broadcasters looking to use video footage captured in Norfolk today. He said most of the clients would be for European shows.

David Pentlow, a project and resources manager for Associated Press, set off from Oxford with his truck at 4.30am.

When asked how long he will be at Sandringham today, Mr Pentlow responded: "We have been told by the palace that we have to be off by midnight.

"We are the biggest television news agency in the world, based in London and with headquarters in New York. Wherever there is news, we cover it, and it is then broadcast around the world.

"Anyone interested will report back to their studios from the satellite."

A large media presence formed outside the Visitor's Centre. Ian Burt
A large media presence formed outside the Visitor's Centre. Ian Burt

It has been widely reported that the Queen will hold talks with Prince Harry, along with his father, the Prince of Wales, and his brother, the Duke of Cambridge in what is being seen as a "summit" meeting.

The meeting follows last week's announcement by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stating they intend to "step back" from their roles as senior royals.

On the royal couple, Lynn resident Elizabeth Beardsmore who regularly visits Sandringham, said: "They can do what they want but do not expect the public to pay for it if they are being financially independent.

"I have yet to see any instances of racism towards her. If anything, the press in general have been welcoming to her.

"I think the Queen will bend over backwards to prevent a Diana situation."

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