Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband of 73 years and grandfather to Prince Harry and Prince William, died Friday at the age of 99. The news comes at a rocky time for the royal family after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leveled accusations of racism (among other shocking things) against The Firm in a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in early March.
Royal followers are left wondering if Harry and Meghan—who have decamped to Montecito, California—will put aside the drama to reunite with the monarchy and how those public interactions will play out.
Here's everything we know about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Prince Philip's funeral.
Will Prince Harry return to London for Prince Philip's funeral?
It has been confirmed that Harry will attend his grandfather's funeral—which has been confirmed to be a private affair at St. George's Chapel due to pandemic restrictions.
On Saturday, royal reporters Omid Scobie and Rebecca English both confirmed via Twitter that Harry would be traveling back to the United Kingdom for the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral.
"Prince Harry will attend his grandfather’s funeral on Saturday (following all US and UK Covid-19 protocols in the process)," Scobie tweeted.
"There will be 30 guests in the royal party, including family—children and grandchildren - and long-serving staff such as his valet, page and private secretary," English wrote. "This includes Prince Harry, but not the pregnant Duchess of Sussex who has been advised by her doctors not to fly."
On Friday, several outlets were already reporting (via unconfirmed sources) that Harry will attend because of his close relationship with Prince Philip. "He will, of course, be there, no matter how difficult relations are between the Sussexes and the family," the New York Post reports. (Though if we've learned one thing from Harry and Meghan lately it's to not believe anything that doesn't come straight from them or their rep.)
Harry's relationships with his family are in a very precarious place following their Oprah tell-all; at the time, the Duke revealed he had not spoken with his father, Prince Charles, in some time, and had limited, strained communication with his brother, Prince William.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were last in London in March 2020 for a final round of engagements before officially stepping down as working royals. It was believed (prior to the Orpah interview) Prince Harry would return to the U.K. in the summer for the celebration of his grandmother's 95 birthday in June at Trooping the Colour or in July for the unveiling of a statue of his mother, Princess Diana, at Kensington Palace.
Will Meghan Markle attend Prince Philip's funeral?
Meghan Markle's ability to travel to London following Prince Philip's death will be impeded, not by royal drama, but by her pregnancy. In early February, the Sussexes announced Markle is pregnant with their second child—a girl, due this summer. Considering pregnant women are strongly advised not to travel in their third trimester (and it would be a long overseas flight from California to the U.K.) it seems Markle will physically not be able to attend the services. (The couple has also tried not to travel during the pandemic, especially with Archie.)
In tweets on Saturday, April 10, both Scobie and English confirmed that Meghan will, indeed, stay behind when Harry travels back to London for the funeral. The Duchess of Sussex made "every effort" to arrange to join her husband for the funeral, but was not cleared for travel by her doctor, according to Scobie.
Of course, pregnancy aside, Markle's return to London would be a stressful occasion considering her recent revelations about the toll that living and working as a member of the royal family took on her. She revealed that trauma brought on by the British tabloids as well as a lack of support and systemic racism within the monarchy led her to suicidal ideation. (And ultimately it was what led Prince Harry to decide to step back from the duties of the crown and move stateside.) The toxic tabloid culture even went as far to accuse Markle and the news of the Oprah interview for contributing to Prince Philip's ailing health. (And the news cycle has already begun perpetuating false narratives that the fallout caused his death.)
What was Prince Harry's relationship with Prince Philip?
The grandfather and grandson were reportedly close. (The Duke of Edinburgh also had somewhat of a supportive relationship with Harry's mother, Princess Diana; he famously penned her letters amidst her divorce with Prince Charles, offering his guidance.) According to reports that emerged in early March, the royal family also shielded Prince Philip from the problems with Harry and Meghan after his return from the hospital.
"He obviously knows about Harry and Meghan’s interview, but the queen, [Prince] Charles and [Prince] William are trying to avoid overwhelming him with their problems so are keeping their conversations with him about the aftermath light," a royal source told Us Weekly.
During the Oprah tell-all, Markle spoke kindly of Queen Elizabeth, saying that the monarch was warm and welcoming during their interactions. Sources also claimed that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had been staying in regular contact with Meghan and Harry despite their move (Prince Harry even said they've Zoom'ed a few times to show Archie his great-grandparents). After the Oprah interview, the Queen issued a statement that made it clear she (and, in turn, Philip) still hold the Sussexes close to their hearts.
"The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan," the statement read. "The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved family members."