The Prince and Princess of Wales stepped out side by side with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for the first time in more than two years for a surprise walkabout at Windsor Castle on Saturday where they viewed floral tributes to the late Queen and greeted crowds. The reunion comes as brothers Prince William and Prince Harry, who is living in the US with Meghan Markle after quitting royal duties, have been at the centre of a well-documented rift.
At one point Kate said to a family that “at times like these you’ve got to come together”, the Telegraph reports.
William, Kate, Harry and Meghan put on a show of unity as they greeted members of the public who had gathered outside the Berkshire royal residence.
The Prince of Wales reportedly made a last-minute invitation to the Sussexes, who are staying at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
A royal source said: “The Prince of Wales thought it was an important show of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family.”
The two couples put their differences aside during the 40-minute walkabout as the once-close brothers united in their grief for their grandmother, who died peacefully aged 96 at Balmoral last Thursday.
They viewed flowers left by the public at the royal residence and made their way down part of Windsor’s famous Long Walk to the delight of well-wishers.
It has been two years since William, Kate, Harry and Meghan were together side by side in public during the 2020 Commonwealth Day service at Wesminster Abbey.
Nicola Standen, 44, from Essex, who was at Windsor Castle, said the late Queen would be proud of her grandsons for coming together.
Mrs Standen said: “That’s probably what she ultimately wanted. Nobody wants any upset in their family and you have to support each other at this time.
“I’m sure she’s looking down and is very proud of the brothers together. They’ve had such grief themselves so it’s good that they can support each other.”
Royal well-wisher Beverley Hole, from Buckinghamshire, said the brothers and their wives appearing together was “very symbolic”, adding: “It might build some bridges. It might have been the Queen’s wish.”
Reacting to the walkabout, royal author Robert Jobson said: “I am so pleased the William, Prince of Wales reached out to his brother Harry so they could put on a united front at this difficult time of family grief.
“A typically magnanimous move by William in memory of our late Queen.”
Finding Freedom co-author Omid Scobie said: “The Waleses had always been scheduled to greet well-wishers at Windsor Castle, but royal sources say the decision to invite the Sussexes was made in the eleventh hour. It is, without a doubt, a significant moment in the history of the relationship between the two brothers.”
But ITV’s royal editor Chris Ship said the reunion “might prove to be very short-lived”. He added: “It was, I hear, very difficult for both William and Harry to bury their differences and step out in public together in this way.”
It comes as the Waleses and the Sussexes have had a strained relationship amid the Megxit fallout.
Harry and Meghan made a series of damaging claims about the monarchy in their Oprah Winfrey interview in 2021.
And the Duke of Sussex’s tell-all memoir is due out later this year, although there have been reports it could be delayed.