Prince William Asked Harry and Meghan to Honor the Queen With Him and Catherine

Prince William believed the surprise joint appearance at Windsor was "an important show of unity."

Prince William, Princess Catherine, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry at Windsor
(Image credit: Getty)

On Saturday, for the first time in more than two years, Princes William and Harry and their wives—Catherine, the now-Princess of Wales, and Meghan Markle—made an appearance as a foursome, accepting tributes and condolences from well-wishes at Windsor Castle. Prince William, now formally the Prince of Wales and the heir to the throne, reportedly asked Meghan and Harry to join him for the occasion, believing it to be "an important show of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family," per People.

All four wore black to honor the Queen, who died on Thursday at the age of 96 in Balmoral, Scotland. The princes and their wives were visibly emotional as they accepted flowers and tributes from the crowds outside Windsor Castle on behalf of their family. The four walked closely together, with Meghan and Harry holding hands, and showed each other moving tributes amid the sea of flowers and condolence gifts outside of Windsor Castle.

Prince William, Princess Catherine, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry at Windsor

(Image credit: Getty)

Prince William, Princess Catherine, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry at Windsor

(Image credit: Getty)

Prince William, Princess Catherine, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry at Windsor

(Image credit: Getty)

Prince William, Princess Catherine, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry at Windsor

(Image credit: Getty)

Prince William, Princess Catherine, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry at Windsor

(Image credit: Getty)

Prince William, Princess Catherine, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry at Windsor

(Image credit: Getty)

The once-close brothers have experienced a public and painful falling out since Harry and Meghan's decision to leave the senior royal family and move to the United States in early 2020. During the couple's interview with Oprah in 2021, Harry said of his relationship with William, "The relationship is 'space' at the moment. "I love William to bits. We’ve been through hell together and we have a shared experience, but we are on different paths."

As the future King, however, Prince William seemingly believed that it was important to extend an olive branch to Harry and Meghan, though the couples reportedly weren't planning on seeing each other during this trip until the princes' grandmother, the Queen, passed away. Though Harry and Meghan last visited the U.K. in May to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, the foursome made no joint appearances at the time.

It was an important day for Prince William in a number of ways. Not only did he see his father proclaimed monarch on Saturday morning, but the prince and his wife released their first statement about the Queen's death, with William noting: "While I will grieve her loss, I also feel incredibly grateful. I have had the benefit of The Queen's wisdom and reassurance into my fifth decade. My wife has had twenty years of her guidance and support. My three children have got to spend holidays with her and create memories that will last their whole lives."

"She was by my side at my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life. I knew this day would come, but it will be some time before the reality of life without Grannie will truly feel real." He added: "I will honour her memory by supporting my father, The King, in every way I can."

Jenny Hollander
Director of Content Strategy

Jenny is the Director of Content Strategy at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless. Her first novel, EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, will be published by Minotaur Books in 2024.