Reunited in grief: How Prince Harry spent a golden hour talking with his family

Victoria Ward
·5-min read
Both brothers have made it clear that they will always love and be there for each other and would both want to be united on what would have been their mother’s 60th birthday - WPA Pool/Getty Images Europe
Both brothers have made it clear that they will always love and be there for each other and would both want to be united on what would have been their mother’s 60th birthday - WPA Pool/Getty Images Europe

They gamely presented a united front in the aftermath of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, strolling side by side and chatting amiably as they emerged from St George’s Chapel into the sunshine.

But the Duke of Sussex, 36, was afforded a rare opportunity to have a proper heart to heart with his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, his father and his grandmother on Saturday, as they returned to the confines of Windsor Castle.

There, a couple of hours after the ceremony, when most other guests had melted away, senior members of the Royal family spent around an hour together, face to face for the first time in more than a year.

There, reunited in grief and in their support for the Queen, Prince Harry is understood to have spent valuable time with Her Majesty, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

It was the first time they had been together under one roof since the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey last March, when the frostiness and the tension was palpable.

Watch: Prince Harry meets with family for clear-the-air talks

The group remained locked in conversation, no doubt comforting the Queen in her darkest moment.

But it would have been odd had they not also addressed the elephant in the room, the Duke’s televised interview with Oprah Winfrey and the hugely damaging allegations made by both him and the Duchess.

Aside from suggesting members of the family were racist and had ignored the Duchess’s pleas for help with she felt suicidal, the Duke accused his brother of being “trapped” within the monarchy and said he felt “really let down” by his father.

In response, the Queen said the "serious allegations" would be addressed privately, but added that "recollections may vary".

The Duke of Cambridge was understood to have been furious by the turn of events, while Prince Charles, 72, was said to feel “let down” by his son and daughter-in-law, whom he had supported “more than he would care to say.”

But on Saturday, they were there to support the Queen and it was she, more than anyone, who has been desperate for her family to get together and resolve their differences.

If anyone is the driving force behind a reconciliation, it will be the sovereign, sources insist.

But while conversations may have begun, they were brief. 

The group are thought to have had around an hour together. 

Most of the 30 mourners are thought to have left Windsor Castle shortly after the service. Princess Eugenie and Zara Tindall have newborn babies, while the Earl and Countess of Wessex were there with their two children.

The Duke of York left shortly before 5pm, while Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Cambridges, all left at around 6pm.

Prince Harry, who is staying at Frogmore Cottage, on the Windsor estate, might have taken the opportunity for a final word with his grandmother before heading back home.

Watch: Queen Elizabeth 'isn't in the mood to discuss Prince Harry's interview', royal expert claims

While there were suggestions this weekend that the Duke might stay in the UK until the Queen’s birthday on Wednesday, others said he wanted to return to his pregnant wife, Meghan, and their son Archie, two, in California as soon as possible.

He would likely have cherished the opportunity to see his nephews and niece, Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis, who will turn three on Friday. But with the elder two returning to school on Tuesday, there was only a small window of opportunity.

Sources close to him refused to divulge his travel plans, keen to avoid him being followed or mobbed by paparazzi at the airport.

The Duke is understood to have brought his own private security team from the US, who travelled with him on a British Airways flight from Los Angeles to Heathrow.

Although the Sussexes were stripped of their round-the-clock royal protection when they stepped back from royal duties, it is thought the group were met at the airport by personal protection officers from Scotland Yard.

One senior policing source said: "Like any high profile individual an assessment will be made to assess the risk and threat and in the circumstances there will be no question that the Duke is afforded personal protection. Given that he will be in quarantine for most of the time and then is attending a private funeral service, the issue is also a very simple one."

The Duke’s private team is likely to have stayed at Frogmore before returning with him, potentially as early as Monday.

The Duchess, 39, is due to begin maternity leave in around three weeks, with the couple's second child, a daughter, thought to be due in around a month.

However, he has committed to being back in the UK for the unveiling of the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, on July 1, suggesting they expect her to have given birth a reasonable time before that.

The event will be the next time the two brothers are seen together in public, and the first occasion since Prince Harry moved abroad that the focus is solely on them.

But both brothers have made it clear that they will always love and be there for each other and would both want to be united on what would have been their mother’s 60th birthday.