LONDON — Prince Harry is back.
There had been much speculation about whether he’d attend at all. But on Monday, he was in quarantine at Frogmore Cottage, the Windsor residence where he and Meghan lived — which undertook a massive and controversial renovation — before departing for Canada and then California.
The Sun tabloid reported that Harry was spotted emerging from a British Airways flight at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday afternoon.
Harry’s wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who is pregnant, will remain at their coastal estate in Southern California on the advice of doctors, Buckingham Palace said.
Britain is in the middle of eight days of national mourning, which is timed awkwardly, as after 100 days of national lockdown, pubs began outdoor service on Monday. The media showed split screens: one with hordes queuing in the April snow flurries to get their first pints and the other from Parliament, which was recalled a day early for a marathon of tributes to Philip.
On Monday, Prince William, 38 and second in line to the throne, released a statement honoring his grandfather’s life “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,” said William, in a nod to the death of his mother, Princess Diana, killed in a car crash in 1997.
Prince Harry, 36, released a separate statement on Monday, remembering a grandfather who “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,” Harry said. “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.”
Britain’s travel rules allow people flying from the United States to end their quarantine after five days if they test negative for the coronavirus. Regardless, Harry would be allowed to attend a funeral for a family member “on compassionate grounds.” The royal family has said that only 30 people will attend the Saturday ceremony and that strict pandemic guidelines will be followed.
While Harry will be keeping to himself before attending the funeral, the prodigal son returns to another gusher of coverage, where the emergent narrative now appears to be: Will the royal family and Harry patch things up?
None other than former prime minister John Major thinks they should.
Major, who was appointed a special guardian to princes Harry and William after the death of their mother, told the BBC on Sunday, “The friction that we are told has arisen is a friction better ended as speedily as possible.”
He continued, “They share grief at the present time because of the death of their grandfather. I think [this] is an ideal opportunity. I hope very much that it is possible to mend any rifts that may exist.”
● His father, Prince Charles, “stopped taking my calls” when the couple left for Canada.
● “My family literally cut me off financially.”
● Harry suggested his family is as unhappy as he was. “My father and my brother, they are trapped,” he said.
● He loves Prince William “to bits,” but “the relationship is ‘space’ at the moment.”
For many, the most jaw-dropping moment of the interview was when Meghan, who is biracial, said that when she was pregnant with her first child, questions had been raised about the color of the baby’s skin.
By which member of the family?
Prince Philip was notorious for his quips and gaffes, some funny and surprising, others derogatory and even bigoted — which has been part of the discussion in Britain about how he should be remembered.
But Harry made a point to tell Winfrey the comments about Archie didn’t come from his grandparents.
Eyes turned to Charles. And to William, who felt it necessary to say that the royal family was “very much not” racist.
Robert Lacey, a royal historian and author of “Battle of Brothers,” a book about William and Harry, said there is a “serious rift” between Harry and his family, and “the Oprah interview certainly made it worse.”
But Lacey said that the family coming together, in person, for the funeral may “contain ingredients for some kind of family reconciliation.”
As Harry told Winfrey: “Time heals all things, hopefully.”