Meghan Markle 'will stay home while Prince Harry visits the UK'
Meghan Markle ‘will stay home while Prince Harry visits the UK’ to see his family for the first time since Megxit – but insiders say it’s not a snub and will avoid a diplomatic drama
- Prince Harry is expected to fly into Britain over the summer, royal sources claim
- No firm plans have yet been made because of the ongoing travel restrictions
- It is unlikely that the Duchess of Sussex or Archie will make any trip to the UK
- Insiders claim Harry and Meghan’s arrival could undermine major royal events
The Duchess of Sussex is ‘unlikely’ to accompany her husband, Prince Harry, when he plans to return to the UK in early summer.
The sixth in line to the throne will almost certainly travel to see his family for the first time since the couple acrimoniously quit as working royals alone, multiple sources have told the Daily Mail.
Insiders stress that the couple’s plans have yet to be finalised and much depends on the pandemic and whether travel restrictions remain in place at the time.
Prince Harry is expected to fly back to the UK over the summer – depending on Covid-19 travel restrictions – though it is not known whether he will be joined by his wife and son
In June and July there are some important dates on the royal calendar that Meghan might miss
Sources were at pains to stress that Meghan’s tentative decision not to accompany her husband is for ‘personal and practical’ reasons and is not in any way being construed as a ‘snub’. But if she decides not to travel it will save royal officials something of a diplomatic headache
But their understanding, at this time, is that Harry, 36, will fly to the UK to see the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William – along with his niece and nephews – without Meghan and, probably, their son Archie.
Sources were at pains to stress that Meghan’s tentative decision not to accompany her husband is for ‘personal and practical’ reasons and is not in any way being construed as a ‘snub’. But if she decides not to travel it will save royal officials something of a diplomatic headache.
The couple had been expected to attend key royal events in June, including Prince Philip’s 100th birthday celebrations and Trooping The Colour, the official celebration of the Queen’s 95th birthday. Harry is also due in the UK in July for the long-awaited unveiling of the statue that he and William commissioned in memory of Diana at Kensington Palace.
But there has been widespread, quiet concern that the couple’s involvement in the larger family events – and the inevitable public and media furore that would surround their appearance – could detract from the significance of such key occasions.
A source said: ‘It should be strongly stressed that there is still an element of uncertainty about this because of the unpredictable Covid situation, but the understanding is the duke is more than likely to come back on his own.
‘This is a personal and practical decision by the couple, but it would certainly help officials navigate what is likely to be a fairly tricky situation.’
Meghan, pictured here with her husband and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, may miss the Duke of Edinburgh’s 100th birthday, Trooping of the Colour and the unveiling of a memorial to Princess Diana
Another added: ‘Her Majesty made very clear when they left the UK that Harry and Meghan were still much loved members of her own family and would be very welcome to attend family events. That still holds true.
‘Practically, however, it comes with the need for a certain amount of diplomacy. There is still a great deal of distance between Harry and many family members, particularly his brother. No one wants a repeat of the Commonwealth Service.’
This refers to the Sussexes’ final official engagement at Westminster Abbey last March, which saw Harry and William barely acknowledge each other, such was the depth of their rift, which is far from healed.
It will be the first time Harry has seen any of his family since quitting royal duties to pursue lucrative business deals abroad.
Harry, Meghan and Archie have been living in North America, first Canada and then California, since November 2019.
While the couple returned to the UK in early March for a last round of official engagements and meetings, Archie – who will turn two in May – did not accompany them. He has not seen any of his British relatives since he was six months old.
Harry and Meghan have since made clear they have no plans to return to the UK in any meaningful way – as revealed a year ago by the Mail. They have bought an £11million mansion in Montecito in California, bagged multi-million-pound deals with companies including Netflix and Spotify and set up an office and non-profit foundation, Archewell.
A third source confirmed they had also been told Harry was likely to return home alone.
‘Harry wants to come back for The Queen and Prince Philip’s big birthdays. But it looks likely it will be just him,’ they said. ‘If Meghan comes back, the feeling is that it would overshadow the occasion. People would only be looking at the “drama” of it all.
‘Of course she would be welcome, but a decision not to come would postpone that headache for a while at least.’
The prince is expected to stay at Frogmore Cottage at Windsor, the home he and Meghan decided to keep as a UK base. The couple have temporarily lent it to Princess Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank.
A spokesman for the Sussexes did not respond to a request for comment.
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