Meghan and Harry devastated by Prince Philip’s sad death
But how will he cope seeing his family again?
As the sad news of Prince Philip’s death was announced last week, the royal family was left devastated at the loss of the man who was once described as their “rock”.
The 99 year old passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle, where he had been living since he was released from hospital last month. Buckingham Palace released a statement detailing the Queen’s “deep sorrow” at the death of her “beloved” husband of 73 years. Tributes soon poured in from around the world, with the Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury and a whole host of celebrities tweeting their condolences. But as a muchloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, his death has hit his family hard, none more so than Prince Harry.
Harry had not seen his grandfather in over a year, after he and wife Meghan Markle quit the royal family – and the UK – for a new life in America with their 23-month-old son Archie. Relations between Harry and the rest of the royals have been strained since then, and while Harry has always maintained a close relationship with his grandparents, his and Meghan’s recent tell-all chat with Oprah caused huge damage. He is said to be barely on speaking terms with his dad Prince Charles and brother Prince William after criticising them in the interview last month, but he will reportedly put that aside, as he is determined to fly back to the UK to pay his respects to his grandfather.
“Harry will absolutely do his utmost to get back to the UK and be with his family,” an insider said last week. “He will want nothing more than to be there for his family – and particularly his grandmother – during this awful time. Meghan is obviously pregnant, so she will need to take advice from her doctors about whether it is safe for her to travel, but I think Harry will definitely go.”
Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, paid tribute to Philip by thanking him for his service and saying he would be “greatly missed”. The couple have been living in California for over a year, and are currently awaiting the arrival of their second child, a daughter. They have both said that quitting the UK was essential for them as they were both so unhappy – so much so, they decided to sit down with Oprah to tell “their truth”. The interview sent shockwaves across the world, with allegations of racism, and Meghan saying she was told she couldn’t get help when she felt suicidal. The fallout was huge and, as heat has reported, the damage could take years to fix, something the Queen had to come to
terms with during her last few months with Philip. And, we’re told, Harry and Meghan do have regrets about how things are now.
“Leaving the royals and speaking out was something that was very important to them,” a royal source says. “But they never wanted to hurt anyone, and relations with Harry’s family are the worst they’ve been. The timing of the interview was unfortunate, as it aired while Philip was in hospital, but they had no control over that. They needed to have their say, and they couldn’t see any other way to do it. Harry and Meghan’s love and respect for
Prince Philip and the Queen was clear and never in doubt. They wish things could’ve been different and that they had a better relationship with Charles, William and Kate, and hopefully they will one day.”
Philip’s funeral will take place at St George’s chapel in Windsor, where Harry and Meghan got married nearly three years ago. Due to COVID restrictions, it will be a private affair with only close family members, and it will no doubt be awkward for Harry, as this will be the first time he’s seen any of them face-to-face since the interview. But, we’re told being able to say goodbye to his grandfather is what is most important to him now.
He has often talked about their closeness. In an interview earlier this year, James Corden asked Harry if the Queen and Philip knew how to use Zoom, to which Harry replied. “Yes… we’ve Zoomed them a few times. They’ve seen Archie running around.” He added that, instead of leaving a meeting, Philip would just slam his laptop shut.
Harry was very complimentary about his grandparents during his chat with Oprah, too – and, after allegations that a member of the royal family voiced concern about how dark Archie’s skin would be, Harry wanted to make it clear that it wasn’t the Queen or Philip who had said it.
Having both seen active service in the military, Harry and Philip formed a close bond, and Harry praised him for how supportive he always was of the Queen. “Regardless of whether my grandfather seems to be doing his own thing, sort of wandering off like a fish down the river, the fact [is] he’s there,” he said. “I don’t think that she could do it without him, especially when they’re both at this age.”
‘Prince Philip was another father figure for Harry’
And it was Philip who spoke up for both Harry and William after their mother Princess Diana died in 1997. During talks about the funeral arrangements between Downing Street, the royal family, the Metropolitan Police and Buckingham Palace, the Duke of Edinburgh apparently intervened. Anji Hunter, one of former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s advisers, recalled, “It sends a tingle up my back thinking about it. We were talking and then from the speakerphone on the table came Prince Philip’s voice – and it was anguished. ‘These are the boys here. We are talking about these boys – they have lost their mum.’ It brought it all home to us.”
At Diana’s funeral, it was decided William, then 15, and 12-year-old Harry should walk behind their mother’s coffin with their father and Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer. William was very reluctant, as was Harry, and it was Philip who helped them through the ordeal. It has been reported, “As William shied away that evening from the ill-feeling between his uncle and father, and while Harry remained fearful and undecided, Prince Philip – who had never been scheduled to walk – intervened. ‘If I walk,’ he asked his grandson [William], ‘Will you walk with me?’” Philip joined both of his grandsons in the cortège, supporting them through the worst day of their lives.
As Harry grew up, the close bond between him and Philip was obvious and they were often spotted laughing together at official events – and, we’re told, one of Harry’s biggest regrets is that his grandfather didn’t get to know his great-grandchildren.
“Becoming a father is the best thing that ever happened to Harry,” our source says. “He’s often had a strained relationship with his dad, and Philip has been another father figure. Him not really getting to know Archie and then never being able to meet his daughter, really upsets Harry. But he’s glad they have been in contact this past year, and that the Queen and Prince Philip could see how happy he finally is.” n