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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are to visit the U.K. in early September, their first joint visit since the queen’s jubilee celebrations in June, which was itself only their second visit to the U.K. together since they exited the ranks of the working royal family.
In a sign that relations between the palace and the Sussexes may be stabilizing, a source at Buckingham Palace told The Daily Beast they had received advance notice of the announcement made Monday morning, but declined to say how much. The palace seems relaxed about the visit.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes said that they would be visiting Britain to support charities “close to their hearts.” However it was not revealed whether they will have an audience with the queen, or meet Charles or William, from whom they have become distanced. The Daily Beast understands that Charles and William are treating Harry with caution until his memoir, due out later this year, is published.
Earlier this year, Harry declined to say he “missed” his brother and father in an interview with Hoda Kotb.
The British stopovers will happen while en route and returning to an Invictus Games event in Düsseldorf, Germany. Harry helped set up the Paralympic-style event for wounded former service people over a decade ago, and it has become one of his most enduring legacies.
It was not specified whether the couple would bring their children with them on the visit, however it is considered unlikely.
A statement issued on behalf of the couple said: “Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are delighted to visit with several charities close to their hearts in early September.”
The published schedule will see them attend the One Young World 2022 Summit in Manchester on Sept. 5, followed by a morale-raising visit to Düsseldorf for Sept. 6 for a “One Year to Go” event for the 2023 games to be held there. On Sept. 8, while returning home, they will attend Britain’s WellChild Awards.
Harry has been embroiled in a legal battle with the British government, saying that he was unfairly stripped of the automatic police protection he once enjoyed, and that he should receive such protection along with his family, when he is on British soil, having “inherited” a security risk at birth.
The police have said that Harry will be adequately protected but that the protection will occur on an ad hoc basis. However Harry was said to have been severely rattled when, on a solo visit to London last year to unveil a statue of his mother in Kensington Gardens, he was pursued aggressively by photographers when leaving a charitable event. It is likely that a side arrangement for these visits has been struck that satisfies Harry and means he feels he can keep his family safe.
It will be fascinating to observe the British public’s reaction to the arrival of Harry and Meghan on British soil.
While they undoubtedly have a significant fan base, the couple remains polarizing figures in the U.K., where some believe they have abandoned their duty and betrayed the monarchy by giving a series of accusatory interviews in which they have indicted the royal family as racist and uncaring.
In their interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry and Meghan said that an unnamed member of the royal family raised concerns about the likely skin tone of their then unborn children. Harry and Meghan have vowed never to reveal the identity of the person who made the alleged comment, however there has been speculation with various authors and reports naming different senior members of the family.
The couple’s last visit to the U.K. for the jubilee celebrations saw them be given a largely non-visible role. At the one event at which they did make a public appearance, a church service, they were booed on arrival by some in the crowd and cheered by other parts of it. They were not invited to appear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with other members of the royal family and were also apparently not invited to attend a charity music concert at Buckingham Palace on the final day of the celebrations. The couple took a private jets home to California before the concert began in what many interpreted as a fit of pique.