Friends of Prince William and Kate Middleton have said the couple will be irritated at Prince Harry’s decision to give a speech in London on the eve of the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death, while sources have also told The Daily Beast that Harry is not likely to see his father or brother, and will not be expected to attend any private or public family gatherings to mark the late queen’s passing.
The distinctly chilly welcome comes after Harry’s office announced Thursday that he would be appearing at the WellChild awards on Sept. 7, and making a speech.
Given that Sept. 8 is the anniversary of the queen’s death it seems inconceivable he won’t refer to or pay tribute to his late grandmother, especially as he missed last year’s WellChild Awards as he scrambled to get to his grandmother’s side.
William and Kate are due to make an as-yet unconfirmed public appearance outside of London on Sept. 8, at which they will remember the late queen—and there will inevitably now be questions as to whether Harry’s dramatic insertion of himself into the week’s events will overshadow their plans. A source in their office told The Daily Beast that the precise details of their engagement would be announced soon.
A friend of William and Kate’s said the couple would likely have no intention of meeting up with Harry or doing a joint engagement with him, unsurprisingly, some might say, given the parlous state of relations between the formerly very close brothers.
Meghan Markle is not coming with Harry to the U.K., it was also reported, instead traveling direct from their home in California to Dusseldorf, Germany, for the opening of the Invictus Games, the Paralympic-style event for wounded former servicemen that Harry established.
Harry is reportedly going to still be in the U.K. on Sept. 8—and his decision to be in the country on the actual anniversary of the queen’s death will look to some like a calculated provocation.
The royals have previously said that, despite William and Kate’s engagement, there will be no formal public events specifically structured around marking the anniversary. King Charles and Queen Camilla will not appear in public, instead spending the day in what courtiers have termed “private reflection.” This follows the precedent set by the late queen herself who would spend the anniversaries of her father’s death privately.
“William and Kate will be irritated, especially by the date, but will just ignore it. What else can they do?”
— Friend of Prince William’s
A friend of Prince William’s told The Daily Beast, “It is increasingly hard to work out what Harry wants to be and do. He was appointed to be a patron of WellChild because he was a member of the royal family. Now this is something that he apparently wants to carry on doing in his capacity as a private individual. William and Kate will be irritated, especially by the date, but will just ignore it. What else can they do?”
They said that William and Kate would not extend an olive branch to Harry by inviting him to appear with them, or to meet for private conversations.
Earlier this week, a source told The Daily Beast that reports that Harry was due to meet his father for what was termed ‘peace talks’ were incorrect, saying: “Charles won’t be seeing Harry and nor will William. No chance. He feels utterly betrayed by what Harry wrote about him in the book and said about him on Netflix.”
William, in particular, feels deeply wounded by what he sees as his brother betraying him by relating family secrets and private conversations in his memoir Spare. William and Kate were also angered by Harry appearing to criticize their decisions around bringing up their children as young royals, The Daily Beast understands.
Staff at Kensington Palace have already said that William and Kate will make a public appearance on the one-year anniversary of Elizabeth’s death. Given that this is the day after Harry makes his speech, there might yet be a possibility that the two camps can accommodate each other, if Harry avoids any public engagements on the actual anniversary.
The real nervousness at the palace will be that Harry may choose to further disrupt the delicate choreography of the day by making some kind of surprise appearance on the 8th itself.
“Harry is a private citizen. What he does on the anniversary of the queen’s death is entirely a matter for him. The king certainly won’t be changing his plans in reaction to what Harry is doing.”
— Friend of King Charles
A friend of King Charles sought to shrug off the impact of Harry’s visit, telling The Daily Beast: “Harry is a private citizen. What he does on the anniversary of the queen’s death is entirely a matter for him. The king certainly won’t be changing his plans in reaction to what Harry is doing.”
Asked if the king would be concerned that an appearance by Harry at a marquee charity event could distract media focus, the friend said, “I don’t think anybody is under any illusions about the challenges that they face going forward with Harry. But the bigger picture here is that this is the anniversary of the monarch’s death, people will want to mark it in different ways.”
The friend said Harry, who is expected to be based in London, would not be meeting with his father in Scotland.
There is little doubt however that Harry’s arrival in London for the WellChild charity, of which he has been a patron for many years, will be the subject of intense media attention, not least because it will be in many ways a re-run of the dramatic events which occurred in 2022.
Harry and Meghan were in the U.K. to attend the ceremony last year when news broke that the queen was dying. Harry canceled his WellChild commitment and raced to Scotland in a desperate effort to see his grandmother one last time, but she had died by the time he got there. He wrote in his memoir that he was told by Charles not to bring his wife, who wanted to come. He was also excluded from joining a royal party onboard an RAF jet, and was forced instead to charter a small aircraft to make his own way to Scotland.
Harry complained in his memoir that he learned of her death via a BBC news alert on his phone as his small plane came in to land at Aberdeen airport, although the palace said he had been told the news privately before it was announced in public.
Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, and the Sussexes did not respond to requests for comment on whether Harry would meet other member of his family while visiting the U.K.