In a twist that’s already stirring conversation among the royals, Prince Harry will return to the UK on the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death—but not for the reason you might expect.
The Duke of Sussex, 38, is set to deliver a speech at the WellChild awards in London on September 7. The timing of his appearance is raising eyebrows, as it falls on the eve of the first anniversary of his grandmother’s passing. According to The Daily Beast, some members of the royal family are already taking issue with Harry’s visit—and that includes Prince William and Kate Middleton, who will reportedly be “irritated” by the estranged prince’s return.
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If you’re wondering why Prince Harry’s return to the UK would strike such a sour chord for the royals—you know, aside from the ongoing, years-long feud between Harry and William—it’s worth noting that plans have already been set in place by the Cambridges to honor the late Queen Elizabeth on September 8. While there will be no large public event in honor of the Queen, The Daily Beast reports that William and Kate will be marking the somber milestone with an engagement outside of London. According to insiders who spoke to the publication, the royal couple are now worried that Harry’s visit could “overshadow” the plans they have to remember the Queen on her anniversary.
“It is increasingly hard to work out what Harry wants to be and do. He was appointed to be a patron of WellChild because he was a member of the royal family,” a friend of Prince William’s reportedly told the outlet. “Now this is something that he apparently wants to carry on doing in his capacity as a private individual. William and Kate will be irritated, especially by the date, but will just ignore it. What else can they do?”
An insider also revealed that William and Kate have no plans to reunite with Harry during his visit to the UK, considering the strained relationship between the brothers. Meanwhile, Meghan Markle won’t be accompanying Harry on this UK journey, instead heading directly to Germany for the Invictus Games opening.
King Charles and Queen Camilla are also expected to “privately reflect” on the anniversary, with The Daily Beast reporting that the king will not see his son during this upcoming visit. “Harry is a private citizen. What he does on the anniversary of the queen’s death is entirely a matter for him. The king certainly won’t be changing his plans in reaction to what Harry is doing,” a source told the outlet.
For now, it remains to be seen how Harry’s presence will impact the day’s proceedings. The real concern among royal critics is whether Harry’s involvement will disrupt the flow of the day’s events, with some speculating that he might make an unexpected appearance on the 8th itself.
Others worry that Prince Harry’s return to the U.K. is “a calculated provocation.” However, it’s important to note that Harry’s connection to the WellChild organization runs deep: last year, he missed the awards ceremony because he was trying to rush to Queen Elizabeth’s side before her death. It’s entirely possible that the Duke of Sussex will take the opportunity to honor his late grandmother as part of his appearance at this year’s ceremony.
For more about Prince Harry and Prince William’s feud, check out historian Robert Lacey’s 2020 book, Battle of Brothers. In this New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller, Lacey takes a close look at Harry and William’s relationship throughout the years and considers each moment that led to their eventual estrangement. From the impact of their mother Princess Diana’s tragic death and the pressures of their roles in the royal family (William, the future king vs. Harry, the “spare”), to the influence their wives Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have had on their differing paths, Battle of Brothers reveals all the “highs, lows, and discretions” of these brothers’ lives in a way “never offered before.”
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