Prince Harry reportedly found out about his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II’s death just five minutes before the palace’s official announcement.
The Duke of Sussex received a call from his father, King Charles III, while he was mid-air on Sept. 8, shortly before landing in Aberdeen, Scotland, 50 miles away from Balmoral Castle, where the 96-year-old monarch died, The Telegraph reported Sunday. By the time his plane landed, a statement announcing the news had been released.
In response to the report, a spokesman for the king stressed in a rare statement, “The public was only informed after every family member had been informed.”
Charles’ rep did not, however, share when Harry, who is fifth in line to the British throne, was told in relation to other family members.
A royal source stressed to The Telegraph that Harry, 38, was not treated differently from other relatives and that Charles, 73, was “not in regular contact” with anyone while his mother’s health rapidly deteriorated.
“Everybody was trying to get where they needed to be,” the source added. “That was the focus.
“And the king was adamant that the official statement must not be released until all members of the family had been informed. That was a father talking because he cares.”
A source tells Page Six that “while it is true that Harry only found out just before the public, it was because he was on the flight to Scotland and not contactable.”
Family members were told the previous evening about the Queen’s downturn in health, but it was not considered serious enough for everyone to rush over to Balmoral, according to the report.
However, by the following morning, the situation changed, and plans were hastily hatched for Charles to fly to Balmoral from Dumfries House. Later that morning, he called both Prince William and Harry with the news that their grandmother was failing fast and that they should make their way to Scotland as soon as possible.
Harry reportedly received the call “some time” after his brother, which left him scrambling to find transportation from Germany, where he was visiting for the Invictus Games.
Meanwhile, William, 40, joined his uncles Prince Andrew and Prince Edward to fly from RAF Northolt to Aberdeen, landing at 3:50 p.m.
Harry’s flight reportedly did not take off from Luton Airport until 5:35 p.m.
The statement was released at 6:30 p.m., and Harry’s plane landed 16 minutes later. He was photographed arriving at Balmoral an hour later, looking shattered.
“The release of the public statement was delayed until the king managed to reach [Harry] on board the aircraft shortly before he touched down,” The Telegraph reported.
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The allegedly delayed call seems in keeping with the way the palace has treated Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, over the last week.
The couple, who quit their royal duties in 2020, were invited and then disinvited from a state reception for world leaders and foreign royals.
Page Six exclusively reported that they only found out they were “uninvited” after reading about it in press reports.
Harry was also left “devastated” and “heartbroken” when the military uniform he wore to stand vigil by his grandmother’s casket on Saturday evening was stripped of the late Queen’s royal cypher, her initials, “ER.”
“He is heartbroken,” a friend told the Sunday Times of London. “To remove his grandmother’s initials feels very intentional.”
So “devastated” was he, the friend said, that the prince nearly donned a morning suit to avoid the “humiliation.”
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