A heartbreaking update about Her Majesty’s final moments.
Obviously for any passing matriarch, being surrounded by family on your deathbed is an important comfort. But for Queen Elizabeth II, her family is, rather infamously, splintered at the moment. We had wondered if everyone getting together to say goodbye might actually bring some kind of peace to the relationship between Prince Harry and Prince William. Especially if it was her final wish.
However, that isn’t how things ended. We’ve just learned that, tragically, Prince Harry did not make it to his grandmother’s bedside. He wasn’t even at Balmoral Castle yet.
The Palace announced the Queen’s passing at 6:30 p.m. local time. According to flight data, we now know Harry’s plane did not even touch down at Aberdeen Airport until 6:46. According to DailyMail.com, he was rushed to the castle by car but did not arrive until 7:52. By that time all there was to do was mourn with the rest of the family. He never got to say goodbye.
Despite his difficulties with the Royal Family writ large, Harry remained close to his grandmother, as close as he could from across the world.
Harry and his wife Meghan Markle were already in the UK on an unrelated reason; they were scheduled to attend the WellChild Awards in London, where Harry was to make a speech on Thursday night. He and Meghan had not planned to visit family.
This should have been a serendipitous coincidence, Harry being close enough to see Queen Elizabeth before she passed. After all, on most days he’d have to travel all the way from Los Angeles — that’s a nearly 17-hour flight.
To be so close and not make it in time… we can’t imagine how much pain he must be in.
It’s unclear why Harry was not on the flight with most of his family. His father Prince Charles was already in Scotland, at Dumfries House; he flew by royal helicopter. But seven members of the Royal fam — including Prince William, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex — all took a flight together that landed hours earlier, around 4 p.m. Did Harry and William’s rift keep him off that plane??
Duncan Larcombe, former Royal editor for The Sun, pondered the exclusion of Harry to The Daily Beast, speculating:
“It does, admittedly, also look strange that no room could be found for Harry on the earlier flight. But it has been a chaotic day, and they do fly separately as a rule. For example, when I was on a joint royal tour of South Africa by both brothers, they always took different flights. But it’s not as strict a rule as it used to be, especially given George, Charlotte and Louis have all displaced Harry in the order of succession.”
“I would suspect that for Harry, getting off that plane and actually seeing the announcement had already been made was a very humbling experience.”
We’re not sure “humbling” even covers it.
As of now, it seems the last time Harry saw his grandmother — and indeed will ever see her — was in June, amid the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, when he and Meghan got to introduce her to baby Lilibet, her namesake great-granddaughter.
As for why Meghan didn’t travel with Harry to Balmoral, that is anyone’s guess. Larcombe reasons:
“It’s not clear why she didn’t come. She may have made a very sensible decision not to intrude on the family’s grief. But it is at least a possibility that Charles asked her not to.”
We suppose that change in plans could also have caused a delay?
The public may never know why Harry didn’t make it in time, unless he chooses to include the story of the tragic day in his much-discussed tell-all memoir. What do YOU think??
[Image via MEGA/WENN.]