Royal heartbreak: Prince Harry's final birthday message from Queen Elizabeth II

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Her Majesty died “peacefully” at Balmoral Castle last week, on September 8, after it was confirmed the monarch’s health was ailing. Members of the Royal Family, including the Duke of Sussex, travelled to Scotland to be together in mourning. Harry did not arrive at Balmoral until approximately 8pm, four hours after the Queen’s death, and after the news was announced to the public via an official Buckingham Palace statement. 

The Duke was the first royal to leave the Scottish estate the following morning, believed to be travelling back to Windsor to be with his wife Meghan Markle. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were in the UK for the last leg of their European trip, during which the couple visited charities and organisations “close to their hearts”. 

Originally, it is understood that Harry and Meghan had no plans to see the UK-based royals. Their visit came amid reports of tension between the Sussexes and the Royal Family following the Duchess’ explosive interview with The Cut, and speculation regarding the Duke’s upcoming memoir. 

However, the royals have seemingly put their differences aside to unite in mourning the late monarch. Harry and Meghan joined senior royals at Westminster Hall following a procession from Buckingham Palace, which saw the Queen’s coffin carried by carriage to the catafalque on which she will lie-in-state until the morning of her funeral.

The Sussexes’ involvement harks back to the Queen’s continuous message following the Duke and Duchess’ exit from the Firm, that Harry and Meghan remain “much-loved members of the Royal Family”. And despite their difficult decision to leave royal life in favour of a new start in the US, the Queen still showed her support for her beloved grandson and his family. 

READ MORE: What happens next? Funeral and day-by-day plans in full as world mourns the Queen

It is an organisation that remains close to the Duke’s heart and one that he still works with. Most recently, Harry took part in a polo match which benefitted the charity, leading his team to victory at the tournament named the Sentebale Polo Cup. 

The Queen has previously shown her support for her grandson’s charitable endeavours, accompanying him on a trip to the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show, where Sentebale had commissioned a special garden. 

In his own words, the Queen was a “guiding compass” for him, describing the late monarch as his “commander-in-chief”. 

Harry paid tribute to his grandmother following her death in a heartfelt statement published on the Archewell website. It read: “In celebrating the life of my grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen — and in mourning her loss — we are all reminded of the guiding compass she was to so many in her commitment to service and duty.”

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It continued: “Granny, while this final parting brings us great sadness, I am forever grateful for all of our first meetings — from my earliest childhood memories with you, to meeting you for the first time as my Commander-in-Chief, to the first moment you met my darling wife and hugged your beloved great-grandchildren.”

It is understood that the Queen met her great-granddaughter and namesake Lilibet for the first time earlier this year. Harry and Meghan returned to the UK for the monarch’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June; and for the first time, the Sussexes were accompanied by their two children — three-year-old Archie and Lilibet, who turned one during the bank holiday weekend. 

Lilibet also reportedly met her grandfather, King Charles III, during the Jubilee celebrations, with insiders describing the introduction as an “emotional” one. 

While Harry’s relationship with the new King and Queen has been under scrutiny in recent months, his recent inclusion in the royal events to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s death signals an olive branch has been extended. 

In his first TV broadcast as monarch, Charles spoke highly of his second son, saying: “I want to also express my love to Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.” 

Similarly, Harry honoured his father in his touching tribute to the Queen. He said: “We now honour my father in his new role as King Charles III.” 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will join other royals at Westminster Abbey at the funeral on Monday. 

There have been reports that the couple’s children will be flying from the States with Doria Ragland, but there has been no confirmation. 



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