The Queen reportedly told pregnant Meghan Markle she ‘understands’ why the duchess has not flown from the US with Prince Harry to Britain to attend Prince Philip’s funeral on Saturday.
Meghan, who lives in an £11million mansion in California, allegedly ‘wanted’ to attend the service for the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor but had been advised against making the 10-hour flight by her physician.
Her husband Harry is staying at Frogmore Cottage, the couple’s former home in the grounds of Windsor Castle, to quarantine for five days before attending the funeral at St George’s Chapel.
Amid claims in the US that the duchess skipped it to avoid being ‘centre of attention’, a source in California has insisted she and Harry were ‘in contact with the Queen’ after Philip’s death on Friday.
They told People magazine that it was ‘always a given that Harry would return to England for his grandfather’s passing’ and that Meghan had ‘expressed condolences’ when speaking with the grieving monarch. ‘The Queen understands why she can’t travel at the moment’, the source added.
Harry landed at London Heathrow Airport via a BA flight from LA at the weekend, making this journey his first back to Britain since his and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Meghan, who accused the royal family of racism in the explosive TV interview, is pregnant with Harry’s second child – a daughter. She is remaining in the US with their one-year-old son Archie.
The Queen and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 in London on March 9, 2020
Harry is staying at Frogmore Cottage, the couple’s former home in the grounds of Windsor Castle. They spent £2.4m of taxpayers’ money refurbing it but then gave it back after emigrating
Prince Harry’s tribute to his grandpa Prince Philip, who he called a ‘legend of banter’, was released via the Archewell charity he set up with Meghan, not Buckingham Palace
Prince William gave this moving tribute to his ‘grandpa’ Prince Philip, who died on Friday at the age of 99, pledging to continue his work and support the Queen. But some suggested it was a dig at his brother
Queen carries on: Grieving monarch ‘will still conduct state opening of Parliament on May 11’
The Queen will not delay returning to work after her husband’s funeral and plans to attend the state opening of Parliament next month, MailOnline can reveal today.
Her Majesty will attend the ceremonial event in the House of Lords without her husband Prince Philip and will be supported by her son Prince Charles at Westminster on May 11 instead.
She has entered an eight-day period of mourning following the death of her husband at the age of 99 – and there a further official period of 30 days for the Royal Family, after which the Queen will make a full return to public life and duties.
The monarch has overseen every one of the constitutional set pieces since taking the throne in 1952, apart from in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward respectively.
While the Duke of Edinburgh only missed the event once, 12 months before he retired in 2018, when he was hospitalised.
Today a well-placed Westminster source has said the Queen is still planning to conduct the state opening of Parliament on May 11. There had been speculation that she might not attend in person amid the pandemic and after the loss of Prince Philip. But one source said: ‘She is still coming, with Charles.’
It came as the Royal Family released more tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh, from officers at Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, where the Queen’s husband was awarded the King’s Dirk for the best all-round cadet of the term, as well as a prize for the best cadet in college.
One of the duchess’ friends told DailyMail.com that she is ‘ready to forgive’ the royal family despite telling Oprah they were racist towards Archie and ignored her claims she was suicidal.
The Duke of Sussex paid tribute to Philip just hours after landing in the UK and starting quarantine, calling the 99-year-old consort a ‘master of the barbercue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end’.
He used the Archewell charity he set up with Meghan to release his bold statement, which experts regard as a throwback to his cheeky prince persona – in stark contrast to Prince William’s sombre Buckingham Palace tribute.
It has also emerged that Harry is unlikely to wear an Army uniform at his grandfather’s funeral in Windsor after being stripped of his military roles by the Queen when he and Meghan quit royal duties last year.
Harry’s return to the UK ahead of Saturday’s funeral will be the first opportunity to reunite with his brother the Duke of Cambridge and his father Prince Charles, who is said to be ‘looking forward’ to a reunion with his son.
The Duke of Sussex is entitled to attend his grandfather’s funeral due to a provision in the law that allows mourners to leave quarantine on ‘compassionate’ grounds. It is understood Harry will be following all procedures to ensure he complies with Covid-19 regulations.
As Philip’s funeral is due to take place on Saturday, Harry will not have time to complete the full 10-day quarantine period. The rules, however, do allow a person to temporarily leave their place of quarantine on compassionate grounds, which includes funerals.
Harry will have had to return a negative coronavirus test result in the three days before he travelled, and will have completed a passenger locator form with details of where he will be spending his quarantine.
He will also have had to book a travel test package, which involves two tests, one to be taken on or before the second day of his quarantine, and the second on or after his eighth day of quarantine.
Harry could also participate in the ‘Test to Release’ scheme. Under the scheme, if he pays for a private test from an approved supplier five days into quarantine, he may be free to leave if the result is negative. Tests cost around £130.
If the dule was to break the Covid-19 quarantine rules, he would risk a penalty of up to £10,000, and if he fails to take the tests on day two and day eight, he could be fined a maximum of £2,000.
Harry is understood to have chosen to self-isolate at Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle where the Queen is based, rather than at Kensington Palace where his brother lives with his wife and three children.
Frogmore, a Grade II-listed property which has four bedrooms and a nursery, is set close to winding lakes, wooded mounds, glades, walks and bridges. The property underwent major work to turn five properties back into a single home which cost £2.4million of taxpayers’ money.
The couple have since repaid the cost of the renovations with money from a lucrative deal made with Netflix, rumoured to have been worth more than £100million.
In November 2020 it was reported that Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank had moved into Frogmore Cottage.
Some commentators have suggested the funeral could allow Harry to spend some quality time with his brother to heal their rift. But as they are from different households, they will still have to maintain social distancing.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said previously that the royal family would be following coronavirus rules throughout the funeral.
Mourners are also advised to be respectful of those who are clinically vulnerable to Covid-19 and ‘avoid close contact at any point’, potentially limiting Harry’s time with his 94-year-old grandmother, the Queen.
In his statement about his grandfather, Harry called Philip a ‘legend of banter’, signing off ‘Per Marre, Per Tarrem’ – the motto of the Royal Marines.
The statement read: ‘My grandfather was a man of service, honour and great humour. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm – and also because you never knew what he might say next. He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the monarch, a decorated serviceman, a prince and a duke.
‘But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end.
Prince Harry may have to isolate away from his pregnant wife Meghan Markle for 14 days when he returns to the US after Prince Philip’s funeral
Prince Harry and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final. Earlier today the Duke of Sussex released a statement paying tribute to his grandfather, saying he was ‘master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end’
Harry landed at London Heathrow Airport via a BA flight from LA yesterday, following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh (pictured together in June 2014)
‘He has been a rock for Her Majesty the Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage, and while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it!’ So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself.
‘You will be sorely missed, but always remembered – by the nation and the world. Meghan, Archie, and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts. Per Mare, Per Terram.’
Earlier, Harry and Meghan’s friend Omid Scobie claimed that William’s tribute to Philip was not ‘a dig’ at his younger brother and the siblings are ‘unified’ despite what it might look like to the outside world.
Mr Scobie, a journalist who wrote the Finding Freedom biography on the Sussexes, told Good Morning Britain (GMB) on ITV that he believes William was not attacking his younger brother, and their statements were just an expression of their ‘different personalities’.
He said: ‘I think for us on the outside it might look like that but I think we have to remember that that is William’s role, he is the future head of state and so he is really thinking about getting back to work. I don’t think it was anything aimed at his brother.
‘In fact I think across the board in the royal family right now everyone is really looking at putting differences aside to focus on what matters and that’s focusing on Prince Philip’s life and legacy but also rallying around the Queen during her time of need.
He added: ‘I think if there’s anything that’s sort of beautiful about this week and in the days leading up to the funeral it’s about seeing a family unified in a way that we haven’t seen in so many years’.
Sources close to the couple said former Suits actress Meghan wanted to join Harry but was advised against travelling by her physician because she is around six months pregnant with their second child – a daughter, due this summer.
But friends claimed to DailyMail.com today that Ms Markle stayed back in Montecito, California, while Prince Harry flew to London because she ‘doesn’t want to be the centre of attention’ at Prince Philip’s funeral.
Mr Scobie insisted her decision not to come was because of advice from her doctor. He said: ‘Despite wanting to be there, unfortunately due to a lack of medical clearance, Meghan was unable to come here’.
Harry and Meghan’s friend Omid Scobie has insisted that Harry and William are ‘unified’ despite two very differing statements in tribute to Prince Philip. Omid also claims that Meghan would have come to the UK if she wasn’t pregnant
The Duke of Cambridge also released a new photograph, taken by his wife Kate, of a then two-year-old Prince George with his great-grandfather in one of his beloved carriages on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk
William also thanked his ‘Grandpa’ for the ‘kindness’ he had shown her (pictured during the Trooping the Colour parade on June 17, 2017) since they became a couple in 2003
William, 38, described the Duke of Edinburgh as an ‘extraordinary man’, spoke of how touched he was by his kindness to Kate and vowed to ‘get on with the job’ as Philip would have wanted.
Harry light-heartedly summed up his grandfather as ‘master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end’.
The royal brothers are the first of Philip’s grandchildren to honour his memory publicly, after his four children each paid tribute at the weekend.
Their statements were released independently. William’s was issued by Kensington Palace, Harry’s was posted on the website home page of his new US-based organisation, Archewell.
But there was a sign the estranged brothers are at least willing to put disagreements aside for the sake of their grandfather’s memory by co-ordinating the release of their tributes via Buckingham Palace.
William’s tribute was issued at 2pm, followed by Harry’s at 2.30pm. Praising his grandfather’s sense of duty and service, William, who is at his Anmer Hall home in Norfolk with his family, said: ‘My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family.’
He also alluded to the support that Philip had given him in the dark days following the death of his mother in 1997.
Philip took William and Harry under his wing at Balmoral, taking them out stalking and shooting, and offering to walk beside them behind their mother’s funeral cortege. ‘I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days,’ William said.
And he made a point of singling out how kind Philip had been to his wife Kate. He made clear that he and his wife intended to follow in his footsteps by supporting the Queen and devoting themselves to their public duties.
‘My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation,’ William wrote. ‘Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support the Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job.’
Harry, who enjoyed an equally warm relationship with their grandfather, described him as a man of ‘service, honour, and great humour’.
He wrote: ‘He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm – and also because you never knew what he might say next.’
Yesterday the Daily Mail revealed how Philip regretted his grandson’s decision to quit royal life and thought it was ‘not the right thing either for the country or themselves’.
He thought their decision to do a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey was ‘madness’ and that ‘no good would come of it’. But biographer Gyles Brandreth said Philip also believed Harry was a ‘good man’ who had to live his own life.