LONDON – As Queen Elizabeth II and her family bid their final farewells to Prince Philip on Saturday, it was Prince Harry’s return to the UK that captured much of the public’s attention.
Earlier this week, Harry, the Queen’s grandson, arrived in the UK and headed straight to Frogmore Cottage, his home on the grounds of Windsor Castle, where he is in quarantine under regulations on coronaviruses. His wife, Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child, is believed to have remained at their home in California on the advice of her doctor.
This is the first time the Duke of Sussex has visited Britain in over a year and since he and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex stepped down from their roles as royals and crossed over Atlantic. It also comes just over a month after the couple gave a revealing interview to media mogul Oprah Winfrey, where Meghan discussed her suicidal thoughts while working as a royal.
“There will be a close scrutiny of the brothers on Saturday. Everyone is going to be looking for clues as to how they’re feeling, how they’re doing,” Emily Nash, royal editor of Hello !, said on NBC. Show “TODAY”. “I am sure the royals will want more than anything to stand on a united front and really show their support for the Queen. This must be a priority this weekend.”
Professional Royal Watchers and Family Therapists agree that Harry’s relationship with his family, and his brother, William, in particular, has caught the attention of so many, especially as divisions are common in so many families. .
“We forget that the Royal Family is a family and that they go through the same ups and downs as most of us,” said Victoria Howard, editor of The Crown Chronicles. “When someone dies, it gives you a pause to think and a chance to think.”
London-based behavioral psychologist Jo Hemmings has said that as a nation, the royal family yearns to resolve their differences – especially after the death of William and Harry’s mother, Princess Diana.
“As a nation, we want them to reconcile. It’s uncomfortable, scary and sad, whatever the rights or wrongs, whether it’s two boys who were traumatized at such a young age by the tragedy of their dying mother, that you just want them to be ‘come out one way or another takes,’ Hemmings said. “They are not part of our family, but we feel that we have grown up with them through their problems and their joys.”
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Even former prime ministers weighed on the brothers’ relationship and hopes for reconciliation.
“The friction which we believe has arisen is friction which is best to end as quickly as possible,” said the former prime minister. John Major, who was William and Harry’s keeper after Diana’s death.
Philip’s funeral “is a perfect opportunity,” he said on BBC, adding that he hopes “very much that it is possible to mend any divisions that may exist”.
But recent events, claims and allegations will surely weigh on the family as they prepare for the darkest day for the Royal Family since the Queen Mother was buried almost 20 years ago.
In the interview with Winfrey, Harry said he had been cut off financially and his father, Prince Charles, had stopped answering his calls at some point. He described the relationship with his brother, William, as a “space”.
Meghan, whose mother is Black, also said that an unidentified royal insider had spoken to Harry about the dark color of their children’s skin.
The interview followed the announcement in February that Harry and Meghan would not be returning to their roles as active royals. The couple left the UK last year, first living in Canada and then settling in California soon after. Then the pandemic struck, giving them no opportunity to return to the UK and see Harry’s family face to face.
William has not commented publicly on the accusations made by the couple in the interview, other than a terse one-sentence response to a questioning reporter a few days after the interview aired.
“We are really not a racist family,” the Duke of Cambridge said a few days after the Harry and Meghan interview aired.
The last time the brothers were seen together in public was during Harry’s last appearance as a royal at Westminster Abbey in March 2020, where they did not appear to interact. Their relationship has long been the subject of media speculation, and Harry’s early return grabbed the headlines almost as soon as Philip’s death was announced.
On Monday, the brothers released separate statements about their grandfather. William has said his grandfather wants the royal family to “do the job” and posted a photo of his son Prince George, who is third to the throne, sitting in a horse-drawn carriage with Philip.
Harry remembered Philip as “my grandfather: barbecue master, joke legend and cheeky to the end”.