According to The Telegraph, the 38-year-old prince was informed that his 96-year-old grandmother had died five minutes before the official announcement on September 8 — and was the “last to know.” The British outlet reports that King Charles III called Harry when he was still on his way to Balmoral Castle in Scotland and by the time he landed, Buckingham Palace had informed the public of the queen’s death.
A spokesperson for the king reacted to the reports in a rare statement to the Daily Mail on Sunday, September 18, hours before the queen’s state funeral on Monday, September 19. “The public was only informed after every family member had been informed,” the statement read, without going into the details of when Harry was clued in.
Us Weekly confirmed at the time that Harry was on his way to see the queen after the palace announced that doctors were “concerned” about her health. Charles and his siblings, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, and Prince William also traveled to Scotland at the time. Harry, for his part, flew in from London as he and Meghan Markle, who moved to the United States in 2020, were overseas for a scheduled appearance at the WellChild Awards.
Harry and Meghan, 41, have since reunited with members of his family for several outings, including joining William and Princess Kate to speak to mourners who lined the streets of Windsor on September 10 and at a service at Westminster Hall on September 14. Two days before the monarch’s state funeral on Monday, the brothers stood guard at the queen’s coffin for a final vigil outside of the Hall on Saturday, September 17.
While the Duke of Sussex was granted last-minute permission to wear his military uniform — he was stripped of his titles when he and Meghan stepped back from their senior royal duties in 2020 — for Saturday’s event, Harry was not in uniform for the state funeral on Monday. Prince Andrew, who lost his titles after he was accused of sexual assault, was also not in uniform. Both princes were, however, part of the processions leading the queen’s coffin into Westminster Abbey and escorting her to Wellington Arch after the service.
Charles’ statement about the Telegraph report comes after he gave Harry and Meghan — who share son Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 15 months — a brief shout-out in his first address as king.
“I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan, as they continue to build their lives overseas,” he said on September 9.
Royal expert Gareth Russell subsequently told Us that the remark was an “olive branch” from the king to his younger son: “I think the king has made it very clear that he wants to heal the rift. Family dynamics, of course, are always complicated, but I think we can all see that there’s a great deal of pain.”
While Harry and Meghan were part of the funeral on Monday, conflicting reports surfaced about why they weren’t in attendance at a gathering hosted by Charles the night prior.
“A Palace spokesperson has reiterated this morning that Sunday’s state reception is ‘for working royals only,’” royal reporter Omid Scobie tweeted on Saturday after reporting that the duke and duchess would be in attendance. “No further comment or guidance on why the Sussexes were invited (and now seemingly uninvited).”