Prior to Thursday’s loss of Her Majesty the Queen, if reports are to be believed, brothers Prince William and Prince Harry were at rock bottom in their relationship, barely speaking and having no plans to see one another while Harry and wife Meghan were in the U.K., despite being just a few moments’ drive away from one another in Windsor.
Then, September 8 happened—the world was rocked by the death of the beloved monarch at 96 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, with no one as affected as the two brothers and the rest of their family.
Grief is a brutal force to be reckoned with, but if it is good for anything, it does unite, and yesterday was proof: in a stunning display of unity, William invited Harry and Meghan to walk alongside him and wife Kate as they greeted mourners outside of Windsor Castle. It is a moment, writes Jennie Bond for The Mirror, that would have left the Queen “relieved and proud.”
“If there is a positive legacy from this saddest of weeks, it is the sight of the Queen’s feuding grandsons William and Harry united, at last, in grief, with their wives at their side,” she writes.
Bond writes the new Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent 40 minutes “working their way through the crowds, accepting their condolences, their hugs, and their handshakes,” she writes. “It was the greatest gift the Queen could have hoped for.”
Despite the bitterness of the past two years since Harry and Meghan stepped back as working members of the royal family in January 2020, “grief had finally brought them together,” Bond writes.
“But surely, in that Scottish castle where almost exactly 25 years ago the brothers were woken in the early hours to be told that their mother had died in a car crash in Paris, the death of their beloved granny would make them see beyond the rift between them?” she continues. “Surely it must have re-awoken the memories of those dark days when, as the new Prince of Wales said in his tribute yesterday, their grandmother had been there in the saddest of times as well as the happiest. Last night it seemed that progress had been made.”
The two couples, Bond notes, had not been seen together since the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in March 2020—one of Harry and Meghan’s last official duties as working royals, one that was fraught with tension.
And the new King Charles III seems to be doing his part as well to mend familial relations, speaking affectionately of William and Kate as well as extending his love to Harry and Meghan as they “build their new life overseas.”
“It was an olive branch which, it would seem, both Harry and William recognized,” Bond writes. “The path ahead is still strewn with obstacles. There is deep mistrust and suspicion about what Harry has written in his memoir, due out this autumn. The concern is that anything that is said confidentially may subsequently appear in a podcast or broadcast as a result of the Sussexes’ deals with Netflix and Spotify remains as pertinent as ever. But last night marked a significant turning point.”
Bond writes that yesterday’s walkabout proved that the two couples can “at least put on a show of unity when it is needed,” she explains. “They can act with decorum and dignity.”
There is a long way to go, Bond concludes, “but their grandmother would surely be relieved and proud.”
Yes, somewhere (of this fact this writer is quite certain), two of the most well-known women of the modern era—Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana—are very, very pleased.
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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