EXCLUSIVE: Prince Harry is back in the UK sooner than expected – and a palace insider hopes the family will recover after a painful year.
The Duke of Sussex was originally due to return in July to join his older brother Prince William for the statue, which is unveiled to honor their late mother Princess Diana. She would have turned 60 on July 1st.
However, the 36-year-old arrived Sunday to attend the funeral of his grandfather Prince Philip, who died on Friday at the age of 99. Harry was traveling alone when his wife Meghan Markle remained in California with their nearly 2-year-old son Archie.
The Duchess of Sussex is expecting her second child, a girl expected this summer. The 39-year-old was advised by a doctor not to travel.
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The funeral will take place on Saturday. It will also be the first time Harry has come face to face in public with the royal family since he and his wife stepped down from royal duties last March.
While this departure caused a huge split within the palace, family relations took a further dive last month when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex gave a bomb shell, all to Oprah Winfrey, who was seen by nearly 50 million people globally.
“It’s all speculation right now about what’s going to happen,” True Royalty TV co-founder Nick Bullen told Fox News. “But funerals, weddings and births often reunite families. And I think both William and Harry will know – and know – that the Duke of Edinburgh wants them reunited.”
The award-winning documentary has made programs about the royal family for almost 20 years and has worked closely with Harry’s father Prince Charles for eight.
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The bull said it’s important now more than ever for “The Firm” to put a united front for the grieving queen who lost her husband of 73 years.
“Let’s all hope this is a catalyst for them to heal,” Bullen said. “Especially for the Queen’s sake. It’s important that all members of the royal family pull in the same direction as she enters her platinum anniversary year. So fingers crossed that this is a positive that is coming together.”
It would not be the first time William (38) and Harry shared grief. More than two decades ago, the brothers attended another royal funeral – the mother, who died in 1997 at the age of 36.
On Saturday, William and Harry are expected to join the other elderly royals and walk behind their grandfather’s coffin as the funeral process finds its way through Windsor Castle.
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It was clear from at least in 2019 that Harry wanted a break from the constraints of the monarchy to create his own narrative. That year separated the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from the Royal Foundation, originally set up as the brothers’ joint charity so they could have their own platform.
The princes’ separate statements this week in tribute to Philip reflected their personality and different styles. While William said he and his wife Kate Middleton will “continue to do what [Philip] would have liked and will support the Queen in the years to come, ”Harry’s tone was much more informal and fair-haired.
The younger brother praised Philip for being “authentic himself” and thanked him for his “dedication to grandmother.” He also wrote: “While I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us with beer in hand, ‘Oh, go on with it.’ “”
After Harry and Markle got married in May 2018 at Windsor Castle, the royal family seemed to welcome the Duchess of Sussex, a glamorous former TV star. The couple was considered to be giving a new young face to the monarchy in an increasingly multicultural nation.
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It did not take long before the adventure ran out.
The couple stepped away from royal duties last year and eventually settled in California, saying they wanted to escape racist coverage and unwanted intrusions into their privacy from the British media.
Harry admitted to Winfrey that he and his brother are on “different paths.”
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“I love William to pieces,” Harry explained. “He’s my brother. We’ve been through hell together. But we’re on different paths.”
While Harry described his relationship with William as “space”, the prince stressed that he “will always be there” for him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.