The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
FAMILY UNITED BY GRIEF
The death of his beloved grandfather may be what reunites Prince Harry with his family, writes Stephen Drill
Prince Philip’s death may be the moment Prince Harry mends bridges with the Royal Family following his bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview. The Duke of Sussex was in a race against time to return to Britain for his grandfather’s funeral, which was expected to be next Saturday.
Prince Harry, 36, has spoken to his father Prince Charles and Prince Andrew’s daughters princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, about his plans to return home. It is not clear if he has spoken to his brother Prince William, 38, with whom he described his relationship as “space – at the moment” in the Winfrey interview.
He did add that “time heals all things, hopefully”.
His wife Meghan Markle, 39, who is heavily pregnant with their second child, was unlikely to make the trip.
It comes as Harry and Meghan have copped scalding public backlash for a very brief, matter-of-fact public tribute, which has been seen as “ice cold”.
The Duke of Sussex and Markle posted the tribute on their official Archewell website, simply saying: “Thank you for your service. You will be greatly missed.”
Harry was the first member of the royal family – aside from the Queen – to post a personal message.
Prince William and Prince Charles reposted the Queen’s announcement.
But the message has sparked a social media furore yesterday with former editor of The Sun newspaper, Kelvin MacKenzie, tweeting that the message was “ice cold”.
“Their ice cold ‘thank you for your service’ farewell to Prince Philip signals to me a detachment from his family which must lead to Harry and Meghan giving up their titles or having them removed,” he claimed.
“PR advice galore and yet no affection. They really are pieces of work.”
Travellers from the US to Britain must isolate for 10 days on arrival under current rules, which can be cut to five days following an extra negative COVID-19 test. However, Prince Harry may be able to waive the isolation rules to attend the funeral on compassionate grounds.
Prince Harry would likely stay at his former home, Frogmore Cottage, which he had allowed Princess Eugenie, 31, and her husband Jack Brooksbank to use last year.
The couple had a baby in February whom they named August Philip, in a nod to the Duke of Edinburgh.
Princess Beatrice, 32, remained close with Prince Harry, Prince Philip and the Queen, and was seen as a potential peacemaker.
Prince Philip attended her secret wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July last year, which was held at the The Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, Windsor.
The Duke of Edinburgh was in the socially-distanced photographs that were released, which was one of his final public appearances.
Yesterday Prince Harry was said to be “united in grief” with his family over the death of his grandfather, according to the Daily Mirror, while a royal source told the New York Post: “He will, of course, be there, no matter how difficult relations are between the Sussexes and the family.”
Prince Harry’s feud with the Royal Family appears almost irreconcilable, despite the Queen’s olive branches in public statements.
He announced in January 2020 that he and Meghan wanted to step back from full-time royal duties.
The Queen refused to allow them to be half-in, half-out royals, and so Prince Harry and Meghan left the UK for North America.
They firstly based themselves in Canada before moving to California where they paid
$20m for a mansion in the celebrity neighbourhood Montecito, near Santa Barbara.
The move made them neighbours with Oprah Winfrey, who had attended their 2018 wedding.
However, their chats were not just over the fence.
Winfrey convinced the couple to appear in a TV special which aired on March 7, where they accused the Royal Family of racism and claimed that no one helped Meghan when she was having suicidal thoughts because of her media coverage.
The two-hour interview was watched by almost 50 million people across the world, according to American broadcaster CBS, which syndicated the chat.
Prince Philip was in hospital at the time where he was receiving treatment for a heart condition and an infection.
He was not told of the full details of what was said in the interview, according to the UK Telegraph.
Mourners outside Windsor Castle had mixed feelings about Prince Harry’s return, which would be the first time he had come home since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“I think it’s really bad that
Meghan and Harry did that interview,” Denise King, 62, of Windsor said. “They could have pushed it back because they knew Prince Philip was sick.”