Prince Harry: Expert on whether he will ‘stay’ after funeral
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Harry and William will be reunited in person for the first time in more than a year this afternoon as the royals gather to say their final farewell to the Duke of Edinburgh in Windsor. Their grandfather, Philip, died last Friday at the age of 99, with the Queen by his side. His funeral will include a congregation of just 30 people, in line with current Covid restrictions.
Harry and William will be taking part in the procession behind Philip’s coffin, but the Palace revealed this week that they will not be standing shoulder to shoulder as their cousin Peter Phillips will be standing between them.
This was perceived as the latest indication of just how deep the rift between the brothers has become after the Sussexes’ dramatic exit from the Royal Family last year.
Royal commentator Duncan Larcombe then speculated that the brothers’ relationship could have gone either way in the aftermath of Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey last month.
Speaking before the dramatic tell-all aired, Mr Larcombe said: “I think the brothers are both very stubborn and each of them thinks, ‘Why should I make the first move?’
“But there could be an opportunity to move on.”
However, many believe the incredibly personal interview only worsened the situation, as the Duke of Sussex claimed his brother — second-in-line to the throne — was “trapped” in the system of monarchy.
He and his wife Meghan Markle also made a series of serious allegations against the Palace and its approach towards race and mental health.
US broadcaster Gayle King, a close friend of the couple’s, revealed last month that Harry had spoken to his brother and his father Prince Charles in the wake of the interview — but that talks were “not productive”.
Since arriving back in the UK, Harry is said to have contacted his close family members again in an effort to “park any disputes” for the tragic ceremony this afternoon.
A source told the Daily Mirror: “Despite everything that has gone on — and the wounds are still pretty raw — everyone is hoping any disputes will be parked for another day.
“This is about giving the Duke the send off he deserves surrounded by his family.”
Yet, some critics believe William took a sly dig at Harry when the brothers released two very different statements addressing their grandfather’s death earlier this week.
The Duke of Cambridge wrote: “I will be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her.
“I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa.”
Royal watchers will know that Harry’s wife Meghan was only a working royal for 22 months before the couple moved to North America permanently, so, unlike William’s wife Kate, she did not have much of a chance to get to know the Duke of Edinburgh.
Similarly, the couple’s son Archie left the UK in November 2019 when he was just seven months old.
William also concluded his statement by saying that Philip “would want us to get on with the job” of serving the monarchy — a “job” Harry rejected last year when he and Meghan dramatically left the Firm.
The Queen appeared to offer an olive branch to her rebellious grandson when she posted a photo montage on Instagram this week.
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The photos showed the royals sharing tender moments with her late husband, and she had included an image of Harry and Philip laughing together.
However, it is unlikely that the Duke of Sussex will be able to attend any commemorative family gatherings after the funeral.
Having travelled from his new home in California, Harry is only permitted to attend the ceremony on “compassionate grounds”, after quarantining in Frogmore Cottage for five days and if he tests negative for Covid-19.
Government rules stipulate he cannot attend any other gatherings until he has self-isolated for another five days.
He is reportedly thinking of returning to the US soon after the funeral, to return to his family.
His heavily pregnant wife Meghan did not accompany her husband to the UK as her doctor advised her against travelling.
OK! Magazine also speculated that it was unlikely the Sussexes would “fly in from LA to celebrate William and Kate’s 10th wedding anniversary” later this month — and that “recent events left many questioning whether they could ever make up”.
Get your copy of the OK! special collector’s edition in stores now priced £4.99 or buy online at ok.co.uk/cambridgespecial
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