“Prince Harry feels very strongly he deserves an unequivocal apology,” royal historian Gareth Russell exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, May 9. “I don’t think the royal family … believe he deserves one.”
The Duke of Sussex, 38, raised eyebrows when he and wife Meghan Markle moved to the U.S. in 2020 after stepping back as senior royals. The following year, they taped a CBS tell-all interview in which they accused The Firm of not supporting them amid their first year of marriage and throughout Meghan’s pregnancy with son Archie, now 4.
Meghan, 41, claimed during the tell-all that the family expressed “concerns” to Harry over Archie’s skin tone ahead of his birth. Prince William, for his part, denied the allegations of racism in March 2021, telling a Sky News reporter, “We’re very much not a racist family.”
The couple, who also share daughter Lili, 23 months, continued to make waves when they detailed their ups and downs on Netflix’s 2022 docuseries, Harry & Meghan. Harry’s memoir, Spare, which was released in January, furthered the tension between him and his father, King Charles III, and his brother, William, 40, as it revealed past fights — some physical in nature — and negative remarks about the monarchy.
Russell, who wrote Do Let’s Have Another Drink! about the Queen Mother, explained on Tuesday that Harry has been “fairly open that he believes he is owed an apology, a profound and unequivocal apology.”
The royal expert pointed out that while reading Spare, there are “not many times” if any that Harry “says that he did something that pushed an argument forward.” More often than not, the former military pilot alludes to the fact that “he doesn’t seem to think that he really did anything wrong when it comes to dealing with his family.”
Russell added that the “royal family don’t think it’s quite a 100 to zero percent [balance] of the blame” and they “don’t believe he merits an unequivocal apology.”
Despite all the drama, Harry was on hand for his father’s coronation on Saturday, May 6, which happened to fall on Archie’s birthday. His effort to travel to the U.K. — which he did solo as Meghan stayed in the U.S. with their kids — appeared to be a “pause of intentions rather than a resolution” to the group’s problem, Russell told Us.
Us confirmed on Saturday that Harry headed to London’s Heathrow Airport shortly after the service at Westminster Abbey concluded. During the church ceremony, he was not seen interacting with Charles, 74, or William. (He was also seated in the third row away from William and his wife, Princess Kate. Princess Diana’s youngest son’s view was partially obstructed by his aunt Princess Anne, who was seated in the second row, and had a large feather on her hat.)
“Coming through such a short window of time implies that he wanted to be there to honor and support his father,” Russell said on Tuesday, referring to Harry’s choice to be in the U.K. for less than 48 hours. “Leaving again so quickly suggests that maybe relations with the rest of the family and his stepmother, [Queen Camilla], and his eldest brother are not yet restored.”
Despite the tension, the royal expert Nick Bullen exclusively told Us on Tuesday that Harry “did have a conversation with his father the night before.”
The True Royalty TV editor-in-chief added: “Everybody knew he was intending to get home, but there was a hope, I think, that he might be part of some of the family celebrations back at the palace. So, I think that there was a sadness that he wasn’t part of the fuller day, but, you know, they all knew he was gonna get [on] that plane.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi