"Come up to Sandringham the moment you land." That's what Prince Harry, in an unreleased clip from his and Meghan Markle's Oprah interview that aired Monday morning, said the Queen told him in January of 2020. For context: Prince Harry says that he had shared a letter with his family, explaining why he and his wife were stepping down as senior members of the royal family, in early January. A few days after the bombshell news, Harry flew home to England.
Yet, Harry said, something strange happened. Although the Queen had told him to come to see her "the moment" he landed, and that they would have tea and a chat—she had also told him to stay over and get some rest, the couple added—the second Harry landed in the UK, things changed.
"The moment we landed in the UK I got a message from Fiona, my private secretary in the time...the Queen's private secretary said, 'They cannot come to Norfolk [to see the Queen]. She's busy all week.'"
For context: This was at the very peak of international hysteria about Harry and Meghan leaving the royal family. It's hard to imagine that there was anything more pressing going on for the Queen.
Harry says he called the Queen to speak to her himself. "I was thinking of coming anyway, but I hear you're now busy," he said he told her. The Queen said there was "something in [her] diary" that she hadn't previously known about.
"I didn't want to push, I kind of knew what was going on," Harry said.
"Doesn't the Queen get to do what the Queen wants to do?" Oprah asked.
"No..." Harry said. "When you're head of the Firm, there are people around you who give you advice. Some of that advice has been really bad."