Prince Harry and Meghan Markle plan to return to UK, royal family
It was four simple words, dropped in a high-profile TV interview – but Prince Harry might have revealed more than he bargained for.
When it comes to indulging their whims at great expense, the British royal family stands their ground.
The Queen spends a literal fortune on her racehorses, Prince Charles is believed to have parted with some serious dough to acquire the jewels his great-great-grandfather Edward VII gave to his mistress Alice Keppel, who was his wife Camilla, the Grand Duchess of Cornwall -grandmother, and someone paid for the commercial quantities of hairspray that Princess Anne receives.
Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may have long since flown for all the vitamin D and paid whatever checks they can get their hands on, but they’re not immune to the habit special royal.
For two people now making millions of their own, albeit offering a list of pale streaming rates, they’re oddly willing to keep paying rent on their home in the UK, Frogmore Cottage even though they’ve only had one lonely night there since 2019.
For years now, they’ve made California their home: first living in Tyler Perry’s borrowed $24 million bolthole in Los Angeles, then getting their own mansion in Montecito, an area about an hour and 45 minutes north of Los Angeles.
With 16 restrooms, a koi pond, a designer chicken coop perfect for totally spontaneous TV moments, and their own mortgage, they clearly saw their future in the United States.
Which is why he was curious when it was revealed in February this year that they had agreed to renew their paid lease on Frogmore Cottage.
Now we have a big clue as to why they agreed to keep shelling out for a house they never use: Harry might just want to come back into the royal family.
Last week, while in the Netherlands for his hugely successful Invictus Games, Harry was doing his bit of PR for the event and sat down for a TV interview with the American Today programme.
True to form, he managed to stray from the safe territory of anodyne comments about the bravery and healing power of sport to hit this family in Blighty.
Host Hoda Kotb asked about her recent plane visit with the Queen.
“Being with her was awesome,” he said. “It was so nice to see her. You know, she’s in great shape. She’s always had a great sense of humor around me and I just make sure she’s protected and has the right people around her.
Immediately, his “protected” comment sparked a multi-day media storm given that this same man so determined to “protect” his grandmother is also the same person who spent the last year telling the world how it was negligent, institutionally racist and general. the palate is rotten.
But lost in the hype, he said another thing to Kotb, who was throwing softballs at him like a nervous Under-3 T-ball coach. “You make her laugh, that’s what she always says. Did you do it again?” she asked.
Rather than just taking the question and using it to paint himself as grandson number one, again, he managed to get into a serious non-sequence.
“Yeah I did. I had tea with her,” Harry said. -United. And it also feels good.
See what he slipped in there? “For the time being.”
How I would like to imagine the Queen muttered, pausing in the middle of a slice of richly buttered marmalade toast at her breakfast table and in her impeccable, very interesting French.
It’s the first clear public indication Harry has given that he and Meghan might – and a very strong emphasis on ‘could’ here – be open to spending some real time in the UK one day.
Remember, after all, it was their original plan when they first dropped their nuke from an Instagram post announcing Megxit in January 2020, writing, “We now plan to balance our time between the Kingdom United and North America.”
The sticking point here, and with their do-it-yourself semi-royal plans, was that the couple had concocted this royal restructuring over their own cups of oat milk chai tea, away from Windsor and without the Queen’s consent.
What followed was the nonagenarian monarch put her little foot down and read them the riot act: they could be in or they could be out but they couldn’t have their Battenberg cake and cash in Netflix checks too.
So they sped off into the sunset to seemingly spend their days doing… god knows what. Aside from Invictus, the duo managed to not release any major charity or professional projects in two years.
For Harry, this exit from official working royal life came at a high price, namely the formal withdrawal of his honorary military titles as Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commander, RAF Honington, and Commodore in Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command in January 2021. The loss of those links hurt, with a source telling the Time at the time, “He’s very upset to be in this place.”
“His military work is one of the most important things to him.”
The tantalizing question now is whether Harry has a more substantial return to Britain on his vision board?
Over the past few months, there have been a few crumbs supporting this idea.
This month, Harry and Meghan made this fast and furious trip to see his family on their way to the Netherlands, meeting his father, Prince Charles, as well as the Queen. Although the visit appears to have been measured in hours, not days, it was the first little green shoot we’ve seen in terms of the transatlantic fault that has overshadowed the palace for years now.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, Shaheed Fatima QC, who is representing Harry in his legal approach to the Home Office over his withdrawn official protection, said: ‘This is and always will be his home. (Okay, that argument over his protection is a sticking point, but surely could be settled right away if the Sussexes indicated they were considering returning to Britain part-time.)
Then there’s Harry himself, as it increasingly seems like being so isolated and disconnected from his family and friends has taken its toll. How long has it been since you saw a picture of him laughing or looking like the ginger equivalent of a thundercloud? For a man who has ostensibly “found freedom,” he doesn’t look like someone who revels in the joy of emancipation.
In 2020, legendary primatologist and Sussex family friend Jane Goodall revealed that Harry “finds life a bit difficult” while late last year a source close to Celia Walden confirmed Telegraph that “he had lost contact with many of his friends in the UK”. ”.
Given this situation, it would make sense that Harry would still have hope that one day some of the transatlantic ice could melt and the Sussex family could spend some time in Windsor.
There is another situation, much sadder, which could see the return of the prodigal duke.
Society insider and quintessential royal biographer Tina Brown recently said she believes when Her Majesty dies, “Harry will really want to come home then.
“He won’t want to be sitting in Montecito while the whole of the UK is in mourning. I think he’ll feel hugely left out and sad if he can’t play a part in that and I think that it will be up to Charles and William to use this moment to retrieve it.
However, before we all get our eyes cloudy imagining this harrowing scenario, there are a few hurdles to overcome, the biggest being what the Duke himself is up to right now. Later this year, Harry will publish his memoir which, according to some reports, could see him painting targets on the backs of Charles, his mother-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and his brother Prince William.
No matter what dirty laundry he decides to air, telling it all in exchange for a check for $27 million obviously wouldn’t help the intrafamily get-together become more cordial or pave the way for the show Harry ‘n’ Meghan to make any kind of real return to the UK.
(There’s also the pesky fact that his cousin Princess Eugenie, her husband Jack Brooksbank and their little son August now call Frogmore Cottage too. Yet, with over 140 Royal Houses of Grace and Favor on the Crown’s books, I’m sure this situation can be resolved quite easily.)
Still, I find something affectionate in Harry’s “for now” line. Does anyone else have a palpable hit of decided nostalgia in their words? Even HRHs who can’t actually use their HRHs can feel homesick.
So here’s what I think: Hope is eternal, as are the 40 direct flights from LAX airport in Los Angeles to Heathrow.
Daniela Elser is a royal pundit and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a number of top media titles in Australia.