The Daily Telegraph

United in grief, brothers put their difference­s aside

- Camilla Tominey Associate editor

TThe Sussexes were said to have ‘no plans’ to see William and Kate this week

he Duke of Sussex yesterday raced to Balmoral to be at his beloved grandmothe­r’s bedside, but arrived more than an hour after Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen had died, aged 96.

Prince Harry flew to Scotland separately from the rest of the Royal family and without his wife, Meghan, despite sources close to the couple saying they both planned to make the journey to Royal Deeside earlier in the day.

As news broke of the 96-year-old monarch’s deteriorat­ing health, it was announced at around 2pm that the Sussexes would travel together to Her Majesty’s home in the Scottish Highlands.

But at the last minute it emerged that the Duchess of Sussex would not be accompanyi­ng her husband.

He finally arrived at Balmoral Castle just before 8pm – 90 minutes after the statement dropped at 6.30pm.

The last-minute decision for Meghan not to accompany Prince Harry follows ongoing tensions between the Sussexes and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who are now the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, after they gave an interview to US chat show host Oprah Winfrey in March last year accusing an unnamed member of the Royal family of making a racist remark about their son, Archie, three.

It was only 10 days ago that Meghan, 41, once again hit the headlines over her relationsh­ip with her in-laws after she gave a 6,500-word interview to The Cut magazine, an offshoot of New York magazine in which she claimed that “just by existing” she and Prince Harry “were upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy” as well as suggesting her husband had “lost” his father in the “Megxit” process.

She also spoke of her relief at being “able to tell [my] own story” before issuing what some interprete­d as a message to the Royal family, warning she is free to “say anything”, and saying it is taking “a lot of effort” to forgive them and her estranged family.

Revealing she was “still healing” from her experience­s, she said: “I’ve really made an active effort, especially knowing that I can say anything. I’ve never had to sign anything that restricts me from talking. I can talk about my whole experience and make a choice not to.”

The comments were greeted with a combinatio­n of anger and dismay behind Palace gates, where aides were already growing increasing­ly concerned about Prince Harry’s forthcomin­g autobiogra­phy, due to be published by Penguin in the coming months.

The Sussexes, who arrived in the UK from the US on Saturday for two engagement­s here and one in Germany, had initially declined an offer to see the Queen in Scotland “for security reasons”, amid a continuing row over their police protection.

But after Buckingham Palace announced that Her Majesty was under medical supervisio­n following doctors’ concerns, a source close to the couple confirmed at around 2pm that they would be travelling up to Scotland to be at her bedside.

They later said the Sussexes would be making the journey separately to the rest of the family, but that plans had been coordinate­d with the other Royal Households. But then at 4.40pm, the source clarified the Duchess would not, in fact, be “travelling today”.

The decision came after Prince William, 40, landed at Aberdeen airport in one of the Dassault Falcon 900LX jets that convened Boris Johnson and Liz Truss to Balmoral on Tuesday for the prime ministeria­l handover. He was accompanie­d by the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

The Prince of Wales arrived at Balmoral by helicopter from Dumfries House at around noon, closely followed by the Princess Royal, who travelled by car from nearby Blairgowri­e, where she had been carrying out an engagement for the Riding for the Disabled Associatio­n, of which she is president.

The Duchess of Cambridge, 40, remained at the couple’s new home, Adelaide Cottage, in Windsor to collect Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven and four-year-old Prince Louis after their first day at their new school, Lambrook Prep in Berkshire.

Despite staying just a stone’s throw from Adelaide Cottage at Frogmore Cottage, their Windsor home, the Sussexes were said to have “no plans” to see William and Kate this week.

Sources have previously told The Daily Telegraph that William and Kate believe Prince Harry and Meghan “crossed a line” with their comments on Oprah – and are not just waiting for an apology from the couple but “an acknowledg­ement of the hurt it caused”.

News of Prince Harry’s forthcomin­g autobiogra­phy has also caused mounting alarm – not least as it is thought the Palace will not have advanced sight of the book before it is published in the coming months.

The manuscript for the “definitive account” of the Duke’s “experience­s, adventures, losses, and life lessons” has reportedly been completed and signed off by lawyers after being submitted by its ghostwrite­r, JR Moehringer, earlier this summer.

The Duke’s book was due to hit bookshelve­s in the autumn but has been delayed until later this year, landing in time for the Thanksgivi­ng and Christmas gift market.

Whether the publicatio­n will still go ahead as scheduled remains to be seen.

Prince Harry, 37, who will donate the proceeds to charity, said in a statement that the book would be “a firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful”. He added: “I’ve worn many hats over the years, both literally and figurative­ly, and my hope is that in telling my story – the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned – I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think.”

Relations between the royal brothers reached rock bottom following the Oprah interview, in which Meghan accused the Duchess of Cambridge of making her cry during a bridesmaid­s’ dress fitting, and Prince Harry claimed his father and brother felt “trapped” in the monarchy.

Although Prince William and Prince Harry were reunited a month later for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral – and again in July last year for the unveiling of the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales – there was no interactio­n between the Cambridges and the Sussexes during Queen Elizabeth II’S Platinum Jubilee weekend in June.

There is a perception within the House of Windsor that Prince Harry and Meghan’s revelation­s caused unnecessar­y upset to the Queen when the Duke of Edinburgh was ill and a general suspicion around the couple’s attempts to maintain a relationsh­ip with her but not the rest of the family.

Despite all that has been said and done since the Sussexes stepped down from public duties in March 2020, the Queen always insisted – both publicly and privately – that Prince Harry and Meghan “remain much loved members of the family”.

Nothing would have made her happier than to see her warring grandsons finally putting their difference­s aside.

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