Back on royal soil! Harry and Meghan visited the Queen during a pitstop in London on their way to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands, marking the first time the couple has reunited with the monarch since their royal exit two years ago.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who stepped back from their duties as senior royals in 2020, have been living in Montecito, California with their two children following their move from the U.K. In the years since, Harry has visited his grandmother and other royal family members only a handful of times. His first trip back to the U.K. took place in April 2021, when he attended his late grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral following his death at the age of 99.
Two months later, the Duke of Sussex flew back to his native England a second time to join his brother, Prince William, at a tribute event for their late mother, Princess Diana. At the time, the brothers unveiled a statue at the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace together, and Harry had a chance to briefly spend some time with the Queen, his father Charles and his sister-in-law, Duchess Kate.
Meghan, for her part, was unable to travel to the U.K. as she was heavily pregnant with her and Harry’s daughter, Lilibet Diana. As such, her visit to see the Queen alongside her husband in April 2022 is quite the cause for surprise. While it’s unclear precisely where or for how long their reunion took place, it’s worth noting that the Queen has been mostly residing at Windsor Castle following her husband’s death—so it’s possible their meeting was held there in private. According to a rep who spoke to E! News, the couple left their two children, Archie and Lilibet, at home in California during this visit.
News of Harry and Meghan’s reunion with the Queen came just days after speculation that the Duke of Sussex would not pay a visit to the monarch following a series of recent health struggles—including her battle with COVID-19 in February 2022. According to one royal expert, the California transplant may have been avoiding his return to the U.K. due to an ongoing feud with other members of the royal family. “He has said that he doesn’t feel safe without Scotland Yard security,” royal expert Phil Dampier told The Mirror on April 12, 2022. “But to me, that sounds like an excuse not to come back to the U.K. and indicates the rift with his blood family is still bad.” For now, at least, it looks like Harry is happy to make an exception for his grandmother.
For more about the British royal family, check out Sally Bedell Smith’s 2012 biography, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
. The New York Times bestseller, which includes the “real story” behind several storylines featured in Netflix’s The Crown, follows Queen Elizabeth II’s life from her childhood as the “heiress presumptive” to her father, King George VI; to the moment he et her husband, Prince Philip, when she was 13 years old; to her ascension to the throne at 25 years old in 1952. Elizabeth the Queen, which also includes interviews with Buckingham Palace sources and never-before-revealed documents, provides a deep dive into the Queen’s legacy as one of the most famous monarchs in recent history.
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