Queen Elizabeth II’s death could help start a reconciliation between Prince Harry and his wife Meghan and the rest of the royal family, following a reported rift and their move to the United States.
The couple, on a rare visit to Britain when the queen died on Thursday, reunited with Harry’s brother William and his wife Kate at Windsor Castle on Saturday. This is their first public appearance together since they moved to the state in early 2020.
All dressed in mourning black, they gazed together at the burgeoning flowers left by the public before greeting the wise as separate couples, giving a little bit about the status of their relationship.
But the quartet’s decision – once dubbed the “great quartet” in recent times – to step out together in front of the camera seems to be a sign of progress in repairing broken relationships. severe fracture.
British royal correspondents say heir to the throne William has proposed the “olive branch” to his younger brother, who has become increasingly critical of the family since leaving front-line royal duties.
Just two days before that, it was a different story, with a tearful-looking 37-year-old Harry arriving alone at the Balmoral estate, where the queen had previously died.
William and several other close family members – but not Kate – had previously arrived together in a single car, but also arrived too late to see the queen before her death.
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams said private arrivals on Thursday showed the brothers had become “estranged”.
He argues that Harry and Meghan are seen as having “caused a lot of damage to the royal family in recent months” with their flip side against the monarchy.
Fitzwilliams added: “For the future, the ball is in their court and it depends on how they want to play.
Things used to be very different.
After the mother of the Princes Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, they moved the world by walking behind her coffin at her funeral.
William is 15 years old while Harry is 12 years old.
They seem to share a close bond as adults, unbroken by William marrying longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton in 2011 and starting a family.
But relations soured after the 2018 marriage of former British army captain Harry to Meghan – a multiracial American television actress – at Windsor in 2018.
He said in a 2019 interview that he and his brother “go on different paths”. A year later, Harry and Meghan made a sensational announcement of their move to the US.
The pair’s subsequent explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 saw Meghan publicly claim Kate made her cry.
The most damaging claim, however, is that an unnamed royal has speculated about the skin color of Meghan’s future child of mixed race.
William reacted later by telling a journalist that the royals were “very not” a racist family.
The relationship between the two brothers turned icy when they reunited last year to inaugurate a statue for their mother.
They didn’t see each other during the queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.
More recently, Meghan told The Cut magazine in a lengthy interview that she now feels “free” to tell her own story, which some see as a veiled threat to the regime. monarchy.
Since the queen’s death, however, there have been tentative signs that the estrangement may be easing.
Despite Harry’s announcement to Winfrey that his brother and father were “trapped” in the monarchy, Charles remained open to reconciliation with his exiled son during his speech. first as Britain’s new king, specifically expressing “love” for him and Meghan.
“He was offering an olive branch, but he was offering[it]very carefully because he knew they were unpredictable,” says Fitzwilliams.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are popular with young people, he added, but it can take great risks to publicly criticize the monarchy, especially at a time of national mourning and its aftermath. .
Fitzwilliams noted: “There’s no doubt that the Sussexes are going to attract a lot of attention right now,” noted Fitzwilliams, with British public opinion already firmly on the side of the remaining family.
Saturday’s joint appearance with William and Kate, who this week became the prince and princess of Wales after Charles ascended the throne, could herald a new chapter to the family relationship.
But with Harry anticipating the release of his potentially controversial memoir later this year, things could also easily go backwards.
“Obviously they will attend the funeral. More than that, it’s impossible to predict,” Fitzwilliams said.
“If in Harry’s memoirs he had stopped criticizing, that would have been different.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the syndication feed.)