The passing of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, started a period of national mourning in the U.K. The late duke was 99 and had been married to Queen Elizabeth II for 73 years.
A small, private funeral will take place on Saturday. Meanwhile, many wonder if it could be a chance to bring the royals and Harry closer again.
Generations Of Royals United By This Loss
For years now, the Queen stepped down from most official commitments. Princes Charles and William have been in charge of several royal duties instead.
Royal correspondent Wesley Kerr explained:
"The queen has been doing quite a lot less anyway, even pre-COVID. All the big foreign tours are now done by Charles and William. That's been happening for some time."
On the other hand, Prince Andrew had been in the shadows after the scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein. He appeared again after the passing of his father, stating:
"I feel very sorry, and supportive of my mother, who's, I think, feeling it probably more than everybody else."
Harry Comes Back After Interview With Oprah
Prince Harry is in the U.K. and self-isolating before attending the ceremony on Saturday. Meghan, on the other hand, could not travel due to her pregnancy.
This will be his first meeting with the royal family after the much-discussed interview with Oprah Winfrey. Kerr commented:
"I think he will be greeted as a very close family member by his granny, by his father, by his brother, and his cousins. I think they'll be absolutely delighted to see him. He and his wife have got off their chest whatever their beefs were."
"I think togetherness, especially at the funeral of a great patriarch, I think is going to be the key thing. In the end, this is Harry's family. I know Meghan has got a family but, really, this is his family as well as Meghan, and I think that reconciliation will be the theme… reconciliation is always a very, very powerful theme at a funeral."
A Chance For Reconciliation
According to Kerr, who is familiar with the dynamics among the royals, this could be a good chance to make up. He does not believe, in fact, in a lasting separation. He predicted:
"To me, what's key really is the queen, Prince Charles, William — that's the future. That's the key future of the institution. But Harry continues to be an important member of the royal family. He's definitely still a member of the royal family — he's definitely Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. She's definitely the Duchess of Sussex. So, I think the point is that they're still very much members of the royal family."
For the royal correspondent, a complete reconciliation is far from impossible. The approaching anniversary of Princess Diana's death could also bring the family close again, as Kerr explained:
"I think he'll be back on July the 1st, if it doesn't coincide with the birth of the child, to unveil the new statue to Diana. So I think, you know, in a family there are disputes, but there's also reconciliation."
Harry's Tribute To His Grandfather
While in self-isolation, Harry talked fondly about his grandfather, "a man of service, honour and great humour." For his, though, he was first of all:
"Grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right 'til the end."
Remembering the late duke, Harry said:
"He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm — and also because you never knew what he might say next. Meghan, Archie, and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts."
In sad times, family bonds often carry new meaning. Might this really be a chance for the British royals to let go of ill feelings?