Entertainment

Queen insisted Harry and Meghan meet Charles before audience with her, writes RICHARD KAY

Only the weather was the same. A bright sun shone from a blue sky just as it did on that May morning almost four years ago when Prince Harry took his new bride home through cheering crowds to Windsor Castle in a horse drawn carriage. 

This time, husband and wife retreated behind the blacked-out windows of a people carrier for the short drive from their former home, Frogmore Cottage, to the castle. 

And instead of thousands of well-wishers lining the route there was a rather modest turn out of spectators gathering for the spectacle of the Maundy Thursday service at St George’s chapel. 

Ahead of Harry and Meghan were two meetings of sombre gravity that will almost certainly have determined their long-term status within the Royal Family – as future participants or as mere observers. 

Harry’s offer of breaking his long flight from Los Angeles to the Hague in Holland, where he is attending his Invictus Games, with a stop-over in Windsor to see his grandmother a year after their last encounter at Prince Philip’s funeral, was warmly welcomed by the Queen. The timing was significant. 

To the Queen, Easter’s promise of spiritual renewal and forgiveness – such an important time of year to her – represented an opportunity. 

But there were strings attached: ahead of meeting the Queen, Harry would first have to see his father. 

Just as in the crisis over Megxit when she insisted that the Sussexes’ departure from Britain was overseen by Prince Charles, the Queen was again demonstrating that she had her own red lines. 

And since the Prince of Wales was also at Windsor – along with the Duchess of Cornwall – where he was standing in for his mother to distribute Maundy money to community figures, there were no logistical obstacles.

Today all sides agreed that if there is to be a reconciliation between Harry and his family then these meetings were a crucial first step. It is understood that Harry and Meghan met Charles around at around 10am for 15 minutes. 

Charles and Camilla then left the castle together for St George’s. In many ways this was the most important of the two meetings. Harry and his father have been barely speaking in recent months. 

He heavily criticised Charles in last year’s toxic interview with Oprah Winfrey for failing to adequately support him and also accused him, wrongly, of cutting him off financially. 

And Charles is said to be deeply concerned about Harry’s memoirs, due to be published later this year, which he fears will be used to settle more scores. 

Against such a background he was understandably anxious about yesterday’s meeting with Harry. 

As one long-standing friend of his told me: ‘He loves his son and he has been broken-hearted by everything that has taken place, although he fears history repeating itself with Harry just as it did with Princess Diana. But he also wants to keep the door open and keep talking, something he still regrets not doing with Diana.’ 

After saying their farewells to Charles, Harry and Meghan moved on to the Queen’s private apartment where I am told the atmosphere was a lot less edgy. 

Even though she has been both mystified and at times upset by many of Harry’s words and deeds in the past two years, her grandson is something of a favourite. 

‘He has always had the ability to make her laugh and she loves that about him,’ says a companion. 

‘To this day whenever she hears that Harry is on the phone her eyes light up.’ It can be no coincidence therefore, that for once Harry and Meghan’s social media cheerleaders have been unusually quiet about the content of both meetings. 

‘Not leaking details is being seen as a way of getting some trust back into the relationship,’ I am told. 

This was no last minute visit and had to take account of the Queen’s recent bout of ill-health, which included contracting Covid in February. 

It was also the first time Meghan had seen any of her royal in-laws since March 2020. Intriguingly it involved a fifth member of the Royal Family who was not present at either meeting – Princess Eugenie. 

The princess who is temporarily living in her cousin’s Frogmore Cottage with her husband Jack Brooksbank and their son August, is thought to have played an ‘encouraging’ role behind the scenes. 

She is Harry’s closest royal ally – she and Jack visited the Sussexes in California earlier this year – and is also close to the Queen. 

But it was the absence of one other royal figure that was most keenly felt – Prince William, who is on a family skiing holiday. 

The Duke of Cambridge has been his brother’s biggest critic, dismayed by allegations of bullying of royal staff and of claims of racism, and as a result a rift has opened up between them. 

He has not seen Harry since the two jointly unveiled a statue of their mother outside Kensington Palace last July and contact since has been sporadic. 

‘He doesn’t like talking about Harry,’ says a friend of the duke. ‘He says it gives him a headache.’ 

The breach between them is an open wound that has still not remotely begun to heal. William is especially uneasy about Harry’s book deal amid fears that both he and his wife Kate will be in the cross-hairs. 

‘He understands the need for reconciliation and all that, but at the same time he worries about his father being “ambushed” by Harry.’ 

It is understood Harry and Meghan arrived in Britain on Wednesday after an overnight British Airways flight from Los Angeles. It is thought they did not bring their children, Archie, two, and ten month old Lilibet – who the Queen has still not met. 

They were driven to Frogmore where they spent Wednesday night ahead of yesterday’s meetings. 

After his failure to attend his grandfather’s memorial service last month – amid an ongoing legal row with the Home Office over the removal of his police protection – Harry’s offer to visit the Queen was being viewed as an olive branch. 

Though it remains to be seen if it was a genuine wish for a rapprochement.

‘This has been a deeply troubling time for the Royal Family and the Queen would dearly love to put the recent bitterness behind her. 

‘Would she love to see Harry on the Buckingham Palace balcony during the Platinum Jubilee events? Of course, but she knows there has to be reassurance on all sides for that to happen.’

 Not since the days of Diana’s collaboration first with writer Andrew Morton and then with Panorama have the royals been quite so destabilised. But there is a pragmatism inside the Palace where aides recognise that Harry had to swallow some pride in making this week’s visit. 

Courtiers will be hoping that, having already resolved one highly damaging family issue involving Prince Andrew, they can similarly settle their differences with Harry and Meghan. 

Only time will tell if they are successful and confidence is not particularly high.

Was THIS Harry and Meghan’s incognito visit to see the Queen? Video shows blacked-out van leaving Windsor Castle on same day Sussexes snuck into UK while filming their new Netflix documentary        


Footage has emerged of a blacked-out van and 4×4 leaving Windsor Castle on the same day Harry and Meghan snuck in for an incognito visit – sparking speculation they were on board. 

The convoy travelled down Windsor High Street yesterday preceded by two police motorcyclists, in what could be the couple’s security escort. 

The video may spark questions about their security arrangements, given Harry had previously suggested he would not return to the UK unless he was given full police protection. 

The Sussexes have been accused of ‘exploiting the Queen for Netflix’ and making their trip for ‘clear the air talks’ with the Queen and Prince Charles to please American producers of their upcoming documentary.

Speaking to MailOnline, Meghan’s acid-penned biographer Tom Bower sensationally branded the Sussexes ‘the Royal Family’s worst traducers’ and accused the couple of ‘exploiting an old, unwell woman to boost their credibility and coffers’.

Netflix is expected to send a camera crew to follow Harry and Meghan when they meet the Ukraine team at the Invictus Games for injured military veterans in The Netherlands for their documentary about the Paralympic-style games.

But critics have accused the royal couple of ‘cashing in’ on the Games by allowing Netflix, with whom they have signed a $100million deal, into private meetings. And royal experts believe the VVIP status given to the couple will allow Netflix to portray the couple in a favourable light, as they deal with the fallout from their bombshell interview with Oprah last year. 

Talking about Harry and Meghan’s summit with the Queen and Charles, Mr Bower said last night: ‘I have no doubt it was all done for their Netflix documentary. The Queen’s advisers failed to protect her from being exploited by the Royal Family’s worst traducers, while the Sussexes exploited an old, unwell woman to boost their credibility and coffers.’

MailOnline has contacted representatives for Harry and Meghan for comment. Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the video. 

Other experts suggested that the surprise face-to-face meeting with the Queen, who  will be 96 next Thursday and has experienced a series of health problems recently, was an ‘olive branch’ after considerable tension between the Sussexes and royal family.

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, said the visit would have made the Queen very happy despite the couple’s highly publicised criticism of the royals. In their interview with Oprah, they accused an unnamed senior royal of racism.

Meanwhile, Meghan and Harry’s mouthpiece Omid Scobie used the visit to direct a jab at palace officials, tweeting: ‘Three years ago keeping plans to visit the Queen a secret would have been impossible. Yesterday was another reminder of where the constant and unwanted leaks were coming from. HMTQ will always opt for fuss-free, so I’m sure it was much appreciated on both sides.’

Harry and his father have spoken only rarely over the past two years and he heavily criticised Charles in last year’s tell-all Oprah interview in California last year for failing to support him and allegedly cutting the duke off financially. 

The claims were disputed by supporters of Charles, who say he has been left desolate by his younger son’s rejection. He is also said to be deeply concerned about Harry’s memoirs, due to be published later this year, which he fears will be further used to settle scores.  

The van travelled down Windsor High Street yesterday preceded by two police motorcyclists and a four by four behind, in what could be the couple's security escort

The video may spark speculation about their security arrangements, given Harry had previously suggested he would not return to the UK unless he was given full police protection

The van travelled down Windsor High Street yesterday preceded by two police motorcyclists (left) and a four by four behind, in what could be the couple’s security escort

A similar looking van was seen being used by a camera crew (circled) who followed the couple during a trip to New York in November last year, sparking speculation the visit was part of their Netflix show

A similar looking van was seen being used by a camera crew (circled) who followed the couple during a trip to New York in November last year, sparking speculation the visit was part of their Netflix show 

The van in Windsor yesterday

The one seen with the Sussexes in America

The van in Windsor yesterday (left) and the one seen with the Sussexes in America (right). It is unlikely a film crew would have taken a van across the Atlantic, but the similarity between the two vehicles may invite speculation 

Harry and Meghan pictured at the Global Citizen Live event in, New York, USA, September 25, 2021

Speaking to MailOnline, Meghan's acid-penned biographer Tom Bower branded the Sussexes 'the Royal Family's worst traducers' and accused the couple of 'exploiting an old, unwell woman to boost their credibility and coffers'

Speaking to MailOnline, Meghan's acid-penned biographer Tom Bower branded the Sussexes 'the Royal Family's worst traducers' and accused the couple of 'exploiting an old, unwell woman to boost their credibility and coffers'

Speaking to MailOnline, Meghan’s acid-penned biographer Tom Bower branded the Sussexes ‘the Royal Family’s worst traducers’ and accused the couple of ‘exploiting an old, unwell woman to boost their credibility and coffers’

The Queen arrives to view a display of artefacts from British craftwork company, Halcyon Days, to commemorate the company's 70th anniversary in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, on March 23, 2022

The Queen arrives to view a display of artefacts from British craftwork company, Halcyon Days, to commemorate the company’s 70th anniversary in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, on March 23, 2022

Meghan last saw the Queen at an awkward Commonwealth Day service on March 8, 2020 (pictured) but has claimed since to regularly speak to her on the phone and over video calls

Meghan last saw the Queen at an awkward Commonwealth Day service on March 8, 2020 (pictured) but has claimed since to regularly speak to her on the phone and over video calls

The Queen, Harry and Meghan pictured on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday July 10, 2018

The Queen, Harry and Meghan pictured on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday July 10, 2018

Hilariously, given their efforts to keep the visit secret, Harry and Meghan, 40, were spotted walking over to Windsor Castle early yesterday (Thursday) morning by a coach of excited churchgoers arriving for the Royal Maundy service

Hilariously, given their efforts to keep the visit secret, Harry and Meghan, 40, were spotted walking over to Windsor Castle early yesterday (Thursday) morning by a coach of excited churchgoers arriving for the Royal Maundy service

Miss Seward told The Sun newspaper: ‘It is a wonderful opportunity to clear the air and offer an olive branch. After everything that has gone on it must have taken a lot for Harry and Meghan to go to Windsor. Also Maundy Thursday is a very special day for the Queen as it is about forgiveness. She is not one to hold grudges and I think she would have happily welcomed them with open arms.’

The Sun reported a busload of tourists had seen the couple visiting Windsor Castle, with one telling the paper they ‘couldn’t believe it when I saw who it was. We waved and they waved back. They looked happy and relaxed and waved to everyone on the bus’.   

Meghan last saw the Queen at an awkward Commonwealth Day service on March 8, 2020 but has claimed since to regularly speak to her on the phone and over video calls.

Harry has not seen his grandmother in person since Prince Philip’s funeral last April when he flew over briefly from their new home in the US. And the Queen has not met their baby daughter Lilibet. But their contact would have been limited because of Covid restrictions. 

The duke has since launched a High Court legal action against the Home Office claiming it is too dangerous to bring his family to the UK after being stripped of his official Metropolitan Police protection. 

The couple are understood to have left Windsor yesterday afternoon and are now more than likely in the Netherlands to attend the prince’s Invictus Games, the Paralympic-style event he set up for wounded service personnel, which opens tomorrow in The Hague.

Prince Harry used secret visit to Windsor to ‘slowly start rebuilding some bridges’ with Charles, royal biographer claims 

Prince Harry’s secret visit to Windsor was a way of ‘slowly starting to rebuild some bridges’ with his father, a royal biographer claims.

The Duke of Sussex and wife Meghan flew in to the UK together on Wednesday for the first time in two years.

As well as meeting the Queen at her official residence, it is believed the couple also made arrangements to see Prince Charles, and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Harry was heavily criticised for not attending last month’s memorial service for his late grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died a year ago last Saturday. But at the time his spokesman said he hoped to see his grandmother ‘soon’.

Harry and his father have spoken only rarely over the last two years and he heavily criticised Charles in last year’s tell-all Oprah interview for failing to support him and allegedly cutting him off financially – claims roundly disputed by supporters of the future king who say he has been left desolate by his younger son’s rejection.

He is also said to be deeply concerned about Harry’s forthcoming memoirs due to be published later this year which he fears will be further used to settle scores.

Royal biographer Phil Dampier said the meeting was likely an opportunity to try and begin mending some of the damage the relationship has suffered in recent years.

It is not believed that Harry and Meghan met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their 24 hours on British soil. William and Harry’s relationship has been at rock bottom since Harry pressed the nuclear button on his royal life.  

Harry is suing the Home Office after he was stripped on his round the clock taxpayer- funded police protection after quitting the UK.

He has since told the High Court that he is willing to pay for it himself when in the UK as he does not believe he and his family are safe in this country as his own privately-funded civilian team of US bodyguards cannot carry arms and will, he argues, not be kept updated of the relevant intelligence.

Last night a spokesman for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed that they had been to Windsor to see the Queen. 

It comes after sources close to the couple revealed that Harry and Meghan will be given the ‘VVIP’ status in the Netherlands, affording them top-level local protection – which will be seen as an attempt to justify their non-attendance at Prince Philip’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey last month over security concerns. 

‘The Netflix film crew will most certainly favourably capture Harry and Meghan,’ said Talk Radio royal commentator Charles Rae.

‘It will look as if they are still members of the royal family when they are private citizens. That will be the whole aim to show people they are still considered very important people. It will no doubt make great play of the ‘VVIP’ status they have been given by the Dutch authorities.’

The film crew are expected to travel in the same armed police protected motorcade that will take Harry and Meghan to the Zuiderpark stadium where the opening ceremony takes place on Saturday.

They will also film the emotional moment Harry and Meghan meet members of the Ukrainian squad whose presence is tinged with heartache over the loss of four of their former colleagues who died defending their country.

Metal barriers to prevent a car bomb attack have been lowered in place at one of the five entrances to the Zuiderpark in The Hague where the Invictus Games are being held.

Police also completed a bomb sweep of the area ahead of the couple’s arrival when they will meet friends and family of the 500 competitors taking part in the event.

Meghan is expected to stay until Monday when she will return to California while Harry, the founder of the games, will be in The Hague until the end of the week.

Unlike previous royal visits involving the couple their presence in the Dutch capital has not led to much excitement among the locals.

Fans of the couple were noticeable by their absence in the areas where members of the public could stand to try and see the California based ex-royal couple.

Even at a nearby café at the entrance to the copper coloured stadium there was not much enthusiasm for the pair’s attendance.

Café servers were more concerned over the metal security barriers at the entrance putting off customers than the presence of Harry and Meghan.

One said: ‘They do not have any meaning for us here. We have our own royal family who we consider more important. They are more interested in the showbusiness life.’

A police officer on duty said they were not expecting any crowds at the main entrance to the Zuiderpark.

Access to the couple inside the stadium and the surrounding grounds is being tightly controlled as Netflix will be filming the couple for their docu-series on the Invictus Games.

Only those media approved by their company Archewell will be allowed to photograph the couple when they meet competitors, including members of the Ukrainian team who were given a standing ovation by other competitors at their hotel.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (pictured in 2018) are off to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands which start on Saturday

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (pictured in 2018) are off to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands which start on Saturday

The Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague, which is hosting the Invictus Games event this year

The Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague, which is hosting the Invictus Games event this year

Security at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague is being stepped up, two days before the start of the Games

Security at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague is being stepped up, two days before the start of the Games

Police, military personnel and security guards patrol the Zuiderpark in The Hague in the Netherlands

Police, military personnel and security guards patrol the Zuiderpark in The Hague in the Netherlands

Security at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark ahead of the Invictus Games which begins with the opening ceremony on Saturday

Security at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark ahead of the Invictus Games which begins with the opening ceremony on Saturday

Police, military personnel and security guards patrol the Zuiderpark in The Hague in the Netherlands

Police, military personnel and security guards patrol the Zuiderpark in The Hague in the Netherlands

How has she got the front to face them after all she’s said? Social media users are shocked as Meghan meets Queen and Charles for the first time since Megxit and the ‘royal racist’ row 

Social media users expressed their shock last night after Meghan Markle met the Queen and Prince Charles for the first time since Megxit and the ‘royal racist’ row.

The Duchess of Sussex, along with husband Harry, finally returned to Britain this week after acrimoniously quitting as working royals.

The couple then left the royal family reeling with their score-settling Oprah interview in which they accused an unnamed senior royal of racism. 

But royal watchers on Twitter were critical of the visit against the backdrop of so much controversy.

One wrote: ‘How has she got the front to face them after all she’s said?’

Another added: ‘Think they would have been booed if it had been announced.’

The trip marks a return to the spotlight for Meghan whose previous high profile appearances have been the Oprah Winfrey interview and a much panned appearance on the Ellen DeGenres show.

The Netflix doc series being filmed over the course of a week while the games are staged is called ‘Heart of Darkness.’

It is the first co-production with the couple’s Archewell Productions and is being made by the Oscar-winning team of director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara.

They were responsible for the widely acclaimed documentary ‘White Helmets’ about first responders during the Syrian conflict.

According to Archwell, the docu-series will ‘ showcase powerful stories of resilience and hope from competitors on their journey to Invictus Games’.

The meeting between the royal couple and the Ukrainian team is expected to be one of the most emotional moments of the week-long games attended by competitors from 20 nations.

Their arrival at Schiphol Airport was tinged with heartache after four members of the squad died defending their country.

Sergey Smilin was killed in service on March 18 while former Invictus competitors Vladimir Motelchuk and Dmytro Oliynyk lost their lives in rocket attacks on March 29, and former trialist Serhii Karajvan died in combat on March 13. 

‘They were all extremely active in the international Invictus community on the We Are Invictus platform, competing in events over the past year including the virtual London Marathon, and online Rowing championships,’ a spokesperson for Invictus said.

Meghan is expected to arrive with her husband in The Netherlands on Friday and she is expected to stay for four days.

A minute’s silence will be held for those who have died in the Ukraine conflict at the start of the opening ceremony at the Zuiderpark in The Hague on Saturday night.

It will be Meghan’s first overseas trip since quitting the royal family in 2020 and moving to California.

The event has been postponed twice due to the pandemic and it was at the 2017 games in Toronto that the royal couple were seen together for the first time. Months later they announced their engagement.

It is understood Harry and Meghan will not get an audience with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima during their stay and will have to instead spend the night at a hotel in The Hague.

Traditionally, the Dutch royal family hosts stays of foreign royals, but a spokesperson has confirmed no such olive branch will be extended to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

Did Harry wait for William to be away before secret chat with the Queen? Duke jets in with Meghan for ‘clear the air’ meeting with the Queen and Charles… while brother and wife are skiing in Alps 

By Stewart Carr and Jack Wright and Paul Thomson in The Hague, Netherlands, for Mailonline, and Rebecca English, Royal Editor for the Daily Mail 

Reports have emerged that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are away holidaying in the French Alps with their children – just as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit the Queen and Prince Charles for a peace offering in Windsor.

Prince William and Kate are understood to be staying in the resort of Courcheval, with a picture circulating online of them watching their eldest son Prince George enjoy a skiing lesson.  

Royal correspondent Robert Jobson said that it was ‘significant’ that the couple were not involved in the meeting between Harry and Meghan and other senior royals. 

The brothers’ relationship is understood to be at rock bottom since Harry pressed the nuclear button on his royal life.

Speaking to MailOnline, Meghan’s acid-penned biographer Tom Bower sensationally branded the Sussexes ‘the Royal Family’s worst traducers’ and accused the couple of ‘exploiting an old, unwell woman to boost their credibility and coffers’.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are understood to be holidaying in the French Alps as Harry and Meghan visit the Queen

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are understood to be holidaying in the French Alps as Harry and Meghan visit the Queen

Netflix is expected to send a camera crew to follow Harry and Meghan when they meet the Ukraine team at the Invictus Games for injured military veterans in The Netherlands for their documentary about the Paralympic-style games.  

But critics have accused the royal couple of ‘cashing in’ on the Games by allowing Netflix, with whom they have signed a $100million deal, into private meetings. And royal experts believe the VVIP status given to the couple will allow Netflix to portray the couple in a favourable light, as they deal with the fallout from their bombshell interview with Oprah last year. 

Talking about Harry and Meghan’s summit with the Queen and Charles, Mr Bower said last night: ‘I have no doubt it was all done for their Netflix documentary. The Queen’s advisers failed to protect her from being exploited by the Royal Family’s worst traducers, while the Sussexes exploited an old, unwell woman to boost their credibility and coffers.’ 

Mr Jobson told the Mirror: ‘Hopefully, in time the royal brothers too can break bread and end this new war of the Wales’s, which is in danger of turning into one of the fictional soap style dramas Meghan used to star in. For William to do that, however, Harry will have to show that he (and his team of PR image gurus and advisers) can keep their counsel at this early and delicate stage. If not, this promising development would all have been for nothing.’  

Other experts suggested that the surprise face-to-face meeting with the Queen, who  will be 96 next Thursday and has experienced a series of health problems recently, was an ‘olive branch’ after considerable tension between the Sussexes and royal family.

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, said the visit would have made the Queen very happy despite the couple’s highly publicised criticism of the royals. In their interview with Oprah, they accused an unnamed senior royal of racism.

Harry and his father have spoken only rarely over the past two years and he heavily criticised Charles in last year’s tell-all Oprah interview in California last year for failing to support him and allegedly cutting the duke off financially. 

The claims were disputed by supporters of Charles, who say he has been left desolate by his younger son’s rejection. He is also said to be deeply concerned about Harry’s memoirs, due to be published later this year, which he fears will be further used to settle scores.  

Harry and Meghan pictured at the Global Citizen Live event in, New York, USA, September 25, 2021

Harry and Meghan pictured at the Global Citizen Live event in, New York, USA, September 25, 2021

Speaking to MailOnline, Meghan's acid-penned biographer Tom Bower branded the Sussexes 'the Royal Family's worst traducers' and accused the couple of 'exploiting an old, unwell woman to boost their credibility and coffers'

Speaking to MailOnline, Meghan's acid-penned biographer Tom Bower branded the Sussexes 'the Royal Family's worst traducers' and accused the couple of 'exploiting an old, unwell woman to boost their credibility and coffers'

Speaking to MailOnline, Meghan’s acid-penned biographer Tom Bower branded the Sussexes ‘the Royal Family’s worst traducers’ and accused the couple of ‘exploiting an old, unwell woman to boost their credibility and coffers’

The Queen pictured on a visit to Porton Down science park near Salisbury, October 15, 2020

The Queen pictured on a visit to Porton Down science park near Salisbury, October 15, 2020

Meghan last saw the Queen at an awkward Commonwealth Day service on March 8, 2020 (pictured) but has claimed since to regularly speak to her on the phone and over video calls

Meghan last saw the Queen at an awkward Commonwealth Day service on March 8, 2020 (pictured) but has claimed since to regularly speak to her on the phone and over video calls

The Queen, Harry and Meghan pictured on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday July 10, 2018

The Queen, Harry and Meghan pictured on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday July 10, 2018

Hilariously, given their efforts to keep the visit secret, Harry and Meghan, 40, were spotted walking over to Windsor Castle early yesterday (Thursday) morning by a coach of excited churchgoers arriving for the Royal Maundy service

Hilariously, given their efforts to keep the visit secret, Harry and Meghan, 40, were spotted walking over to Windsor Castle early yesterday (Thursday) morning by a coach of excited churchgoers arriving for the Royal Maundy service

Prince Harry used secret visit to Windsor to ‘slowly start rebuilding some bridges’ with Charles, royal biographer claims 

Prince Harry’s secret visit to Windsor was a way of ‘slowly starting to rebuild some bridges’ with his father, a royal biographer claims.

The Duke of Sussex and wife Meghan flew in to the UK together on Wednesday for the first time in two years.

As well as meeting the Queen at her official residence, it is believed the couple also made arrangements to see Prince Charles, and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Harry was heavily criticised for not attending last month’s memorial service for his late grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died a year ago last Saturday. But at the time his spokesman said he hoped to see his grandmother ‘soon’.

Harry and his father have spoken only rarely over the last two years and he heavily criticised Charles in last year’s tell-all Oprah interview for failing to support him and allegedly cutting him off financially – claims roundly disputed by supporters of the future king who say he has been left desolate by his younger son’s rejection.

He is also said to be deeply concerned about Harry’s forthcoming memoirs due to be published later this year which he fears will be further used to settle scores.

Royal biographer Phil Dampier said the meeting was likely an opportunity to try and begin mending some of the damage the relationship has suffered in recent years.

Miss Seward told The Sun newspaper: ‘It is a wonderful opportunity to clear the air and offer an olive branch. After everything that has gone on it must have taken a lot for Harry and Meghan to go to Windsor. Also Maundy Thursday is a very special day for the Queen as it is about forgiveness. She is not one to hold grudges and I think she would have happily welcomed them with open arms.’

The Sun reported a busload of tourists had seen the couple visiting Windsor Castle, with one telling the paper they ‘couldn’t believe it when I saw who it was. We waved and they waved back. They looked happy and relaxed and waved to everyone on the bus’.   

Meghan last saw the Queen at an awkward Commonwealth Day service on March 8, 2020 but has claimed since to regularly speak to her on the phone and over video calls.

Harry has not seen his grandmother in person since Prince Philip’s funeral last April when he flew over briefly from their new home in the US. And the Queen has not met their baby daughter Lilibet. But their contact would have been limited because of Covid restrictions. 

The duke has since launched a High Court legal action against the Home Office claiming it is too dangerous to bring his family to the UK after being stripped of his official Metropolitan Police protection. 

The couple are understood to have left Windsor yesterday afternoon and are now more than likely in the Netherlands to attend the prince’s Invictus Games, the Paralympic-style event he set up for wounded service personnel, which opens tomorrow in The Hague. 

Harry is suing the Home Office after he was stripped on his round the clock taxpayer-funded police protection after quitting the UK.

He has since told the High Court that he is willing to pay for it himself when in the UK as he does not believe he and his family are safe in this country as his own privately-funded civilian team of US bodyguards cannot carry arms and will, he argues, not be kept updated of the relevant intelligence.

Last night a spokesman for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed that they had been to Windsor to see the Queen. 

It comes after sources close to the couple revealed that Harry and Meghan will be given the ‘VVIP’ status in the Netherlands, affording them top-level local protection – which will be seen as an attempt to justify their non-attendance at Prince Philip’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey last month over security concerns. 

‘The Netflix film crew will most certainly favourably capture Harry and Meghan,’ said Talk Radio royal commentator Charles Rae.

‘It will look as if they are still members of the royal family when they are private citizens. That will be the whole aim to show people they are still considered very important people. It will no doubt make great play of the ‘VVIP’ status they have been given by the Dutch authorities.’

The film crew are expected to travel in the same armed police protected motorcade that will take Harry and Meghan to the Zuiderpark stadium where the opening ceremony takes place on Saturday.

They will also film the emotional moment Harry and Meghan meet members of the Ukrainian squad whose presence is tinged with heartache over the loss of four of their former colleagues who died defending their country.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (pictured in 2018) are off to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands which start on Saturday

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (pictured in 2018) are off to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands which start on Saturday

The Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague, which is hosting the Invictus Games event this year

The Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague, which is hosting the Invictus Games event this year

Security at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague is being stepped up, two days before the start of the Games

Security at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague is being stepped up, two days before the start of the Games

Police, military personnel and security guards patrol the Zuiderpark in The Hague in the Netherlands

Police, military personnel and security guards patrol the Zuiderpark in The Hague in the Netherlands

Security at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark ahead of the Invictus Games which begins with the opening ceremony on Saturday

Security at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark ahead of the Invictus Games which begins with the opening ceremony on Saturday

Police, military personnel and security guards patrol the Zuiderpark in The Hague in the Netherlands

Police, military personnel and security guards patrol the Zuiderpark in The Hague in the Netherlands

How has she got the front to face them after all she’s said? Social media users are shocked as Meghan meets Queen and Charles for the first time since Megxit and the ‘royal racist’ row 

Social media users expressed their shock last night after Meghan Markle met the Queen and Prince Charles for the first time since Megxit and the ‘royal racist’ row.

The Duchess of Sussex, along with husband Harry, finally returned to Britain this week after acrimoniously quitting as working royals.

The couple then left the royal family reeling with their score-settling Oprah interview in which they accused an unnamed senior royal of racism. 

But royal watchers on Twitter were critical of the visit against the backdrop of so much controversy.

One wrote: ‘How has she got the front to face them after all she’s said?’

Another added: ‘Think they would have been booed if it had been announced.’

The trip marks a return to the spotlight for Meghan whose previous high profile appearances have been the Oprah Winfrey interview and a much panned appearance on the Ellen DeGenres show.

The Netflix doc series being filmed over the course of a week while the games are staged is called ‘Heart of Darkness.’

It is the first co-production with the couple’s Archewell Productions and is being made by the Oscar-winning team of director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara.

They were responsible for the widely acclaimed documentary ‘White Helmets’ about first responders during the Syrian conflict.

According to Archwell, the docu-series will ‘showcase powerful stories of resilience and hope from competitors on their journey to Invictus Games’.

The meeting between the royal couple and the Ukrainian team is expected to be one of the most emotional moments of the week-long games attended by competitors from 20 nations.

Their arrival at Schiphol Airport was tinged with heartache after four members of the squad died defending their country.

Sergey Smilin was killed in service on March 18 while former Invictus competitors Vladimir Motelchuk and Dmytro Oliynyk lost their lives in rocket attacks on March 29, and former trialist Serhii Karajvan died in combat on March 13. 

‘They were all extremely active in the international Invictus community on the We Are Invictus platform, competing in events over the past year including the virtual London Marathon, and online Rowing championships,’ a spokesperson for Invictus said.

Meghan is expected to arrive with her husband in The Netherlands on Friday and she is expected to stay for four days.

A minute’s silence will be held for those who have died in the Ukraine conflict at the start of the opening ceremony at the Zuiderpark in The Hague on Saturday night.

It will be Meghan’s first overseas trip since quitting the royal family in 2020 and moving to California.

The event has been postponed twice due to the pandemic and it was at the 2017 games in Toronto that the royal couple were seen together for the first time. Months later they announced their engagement.

It is understood Harry and Meghan will not get an audience with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima during their stay and will have to instead spend the night at a hotel in The Hague.

Traditionally, the Dutch royal family hosts stays of foreign royals, but a spokesperson has confirmed no such olive branch will be extended to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

 

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