‘Grandpa: Master of the Barbecue, Legend of Banter’: Back in Britain Without Meghan, Harry Releases Statement on Duke

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MAY 18: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex leave after the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor to Thomas Kingston at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 18, 2019 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, has returned to England for the first time in a year to attend the funeral of his grandfather, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.

Prince Harry, whose relationship with Britain’s Royal Family has become strained over his decision to step back from his official duties last year and the now-infamous Ophrah Winfrey interview, arrived back in the UK on Sunday afternoon on a flight from Los Angeles, The Sun reported.

The prince was not accompanied by the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, who has reportedly been barred from travelling by her doctors due to her being heavily pregnant with the couple’s second child.

Though Prince Harry will reportedly be self-isolating upon his return, he will be permitted to attend the funeral, as international travellers are permitted to break quarantine on compassionate grounds to attend funerals in the UK.

Releasing a statement on the death of Prince Philip on Monday, Harry said: “My grandfather was a man of service, honour and great humour,”

The Prince said:

He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm – and also because you never knew what he might say next.

He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the monarch, a decorated serviceman, a prince and a duke.

But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end.

Harry and Meghan were previously criticised by Brexit leader Nigel Farage for releasing a one-sentence statement following the passing of the duke, which read: “Thank you for your service… you will be greatly missed.”

In response, Mr Farage predicted: “The British public will not welcome Harry and Meghan back, even for the funeral.”

On Monday, Prince Philip’s sentiments towards the tell-all Oprah Winfrey interview with the woke couple were revealed.

The biographer Gyles Brandreth, who claims to have close ties with the Royal Family, told the Daily Mail that the duke had described the idea of doing the interview as “madness” and that “no good would come of it”.

“The fact that the Meghan and Harry interview was aired while Philip was in hospital did not trouble him. What did worry him was the couple’s preoccupation with their own problems and their willingness to talk about them in public,” the biographer said.

Brandeth reported that the duke said: “Give TV interviews by all means… but don’t talk about yourself”.

Prince Philip was also said to have been saddened “that it should come to this” after Harry renounced his official duties as a working royal, including his position as the Captain-General of the Royal Marines, a position the Duke of Edinburgh held for over six decades.

“Philip had done the job for 64 years. Harry had barely managed 30 months. The Duke of Edinburgh was not pleased, nor did he believe that Harry and Meghan were doing the right thing either for the country or for themselves,” Brandreth said.

Ultimately, however, the His Royal Highness reportedly supported Harry’s wishes to “do his own thing in his own way” saying that “people have got to lead their lives as they think best”.

Harry’s return will also mark the first time that he has seen his brother William since the Commonwealth service in March of last year when the two apparently refused to speak to each other, over Harry’s decision to abandon the Royal Family and move to America.

In a separate statement Prince William, who is second in line to the British throne, said:

My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family.

I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days.

I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her.

I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humour!

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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