After a tumultuous past year for the royal family in which tensions have been high between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and other senior members of the family, Prince Harry has arrived back in the UK for the funeral of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
The funeral, to be held this coming Saturday, will be the first time Prince Harry has been seen in public with his family since the Commonwealth Day service in March 2020, which was his and Meghan Markle’s final public engagement before stepping down as senior royals. At the time, there seemed to be visible tension between the Cambridges and the Sussexes during the service with press reporting the brothers were no longer on speaking terms.
Of course, Prince Philip’s death comes just one month after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, which no doubt escalated the rift between the couple (who now reside in Los Angeles) and those left inside the palace walls.
Following the airing of the CBS special, during which Prince Harry and Markle detailed the extent of their struggles over the past few years and alleged there were conversations about the color of their son, Archie Harrison’s, skin tone, CBS host Gayle King revealed no one in the family had spoken to Markle and that conversations with Prince Harry were “not productive.”
Furthermore, reports allege Prince William thinks his younger brother is putting “fame over family.”
But now that Prince Harry is back on British soil without Markle, who was advised to stay in Los Angeles to avoid flying while pregnant in the pandemic, is there a chance at reconciliation?
According to Vanity Fair, Prince William and Prince Harry were in touch with each other in the days following their grandfather’s death, and members of the family are hoping that Philip’s funeral will be an opportunity for the pair to heal their relationship.
“Harry has been in touch with his father, and his brother, and his grandmother,” a source told the publication. “He was told about his grandfather’s death at the same time as the rest of the family and he is grieving just like the rest of them.”
Robert Lacey, author of the book Battle of Brothers, told Vanity Fair, he thinks Markle’s absence will definitely help to ensure the brothers speak properly one-to-one.
“Now the family — and the brothers, in particular — can concentrate on rebuilding a human relationship, and I would have thought the solemnity of their grandfather’s passing and the quiet family time together will paradoxically provide a very stimulating occasion to get started on that brother to brother. If they want to. The fact that Meghan is not there — for a very good family reason — should, in fact, greatly help with that.”
It’s unclear when Prince Harry last spoke to his grandfather but Prince Philip, who was hospitalized when the Winfrey interview aired, and was apparently deeply disappointed by what the couple said and how much it had upset the family. In an interview with James Corden prior to speaking with Winfrey, Prince Harry said he Zoomed with the Queen and had a video call with Philip, who he joked tended to end calls by slamming the laptop closed.