Queen: Public 'have right to know' about health says expert
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But Jonathan Sacerdoti said it was nevertheless not out of the question that Meghan and Harry could bring their daughter, and her older brother Archie, back to the UK for a sensational Christmas visit – while stressing how difficult that would be to arrange. Mr Sacerdoti was speaking at a time when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, currently living in California after standing down as frontline Royals, are focusing on their philanthropic efforts, not least their recent letter urging G20 leaders to make good on the pledge to share vaccines with low-income countries.
Meanwhile, the Queen, 95, was recently forced to scrap plans to attend the COP26 summit in Glasgow after spending a night in hospital and being urged to rest.
Harry has only been back to the UK twice since he and his wife relocated to the US, once for Prince Philip’s funeral in April and again for the Princess Diana statue unveiling in July, and may not even have seen his grandmother on the second occasion.
Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, who was born in June, has never visited the UK or met any of her UK relatives in person.
Mr Sacerdoti, a regular on Sky News as well as a contributor to The Spectator, told Express.co.uk: “I think it’s so difficult for both sides of this equation, by which I mean the American side and the British side.
“I think whatever happens now it attracts masses of publicity and speculation about what’s going on and how relations are.
“It’s a shame really, that they can’t just step aside from all that and allow the Queen to meet the newest members of the family, especially Lilibet who she’s never met as far as we know.”
Any decision on the part of Harry and Meghan to visit the UK would undoubtedly fire up the rumour mill, Mr Sacerdoti stressed.
He said: “I think that that makes it very hard for them and I don’t think we should put the blame on them for that entirely.”
The Sussexes’ move to the US, and the massive publicity it had generated, had not made the situation any easier, he acknowledged.
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Whatever they do, now, it’s virtually impossible to see how it could happen smoothly
But he warned: “Whatever they do, now, it’s virtually impossible to see how it could happen smoothly without masses of speculation and complication.”
Mr Sacerdoti said it would be a “massive shame” if the Queen never met Lilibet in person.
He added: “I think many of us don’t get to meet great grandparents, and even those who do often don’t remember them in adulthood, but that’s not to say it’s irrelevant or doesn’t matter.
“Of course it does and it’s symbolically important in this case as well, especially as she’s named after the Queen.
“That said, they are believed to have “met” online through video calls although that might be a strange way to meet in this era, especially as a baby wouldn’t really be very aware of it.
“But babies of that age aren’t aware of too much.
“I think if there is an opportunity, both sides would gladly take it for the Queen and Lilibet to meet and indeed for the Queen to meet with Harry and Meghan privately perhaps.
“But I don’t see how that’s possible right now without some very careful planning.”
Asked whether a Yuletide visit might be one option, Mr Sacerdoti said: “It would certainly be a nice idea if they could be together for Christmas and I know that Christmas is very important to the Queen.
“As far as we’re all aware it’s always a special time of year for her, not just religiously, but in terms of a family as it is for most Brits.
“So I think that if it were possible, that would certainly be something that could be an opportunity.”
However, he once again emphasised the intense scrutiny which would result would be difficult.
He explained: “It will provide endless opportunities for speculation on the part of the media and all of us commentators, and I think they wouldn’t necessarily see that as desirable.
“I don’t think any of us knows what the real situation is. We aren’t privy to their private conversations and even the bits and pieces that leak out through close contacts and sources are not necessarily reliable.
“So I think in terms of whether or not they can meet for Christmas we have to leave it to them.”
Mr Sacerdoti suggested: “In a way I think the best thing for all of them would be if there was some sort of magical way they could meet totally secretly and privately, but that isn’t really possible and I can’t see them even attempting to plan something like that because were it to then leak out it will be even more explosive.
“I think there are obstacles in the way of reconciliation within the family, which is not to say they can’t necessarily be overcome, but it will take some really careful planning and some very good intentions on both sides to overcome those obstacles.”
He continued: “I think when any family has difficulties, it often takes a massive, gargantuan effort to overcome them for the sake of the individual and group familial relationships and the love and affection that families feel even when they are in disagreement or falling out with one another.
“And I just think that this being the Royal Family, and these people being as high profile as they are only makes that harder.
“It may make it impossible for them to overcome those obstacles. And that is one of the challenges.”
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