Prince Harry has flown home to California—missing the queen’s first birthday as a widow—amid growing evidence that his visit to the U.K. did not significantly improve “strained” relations with his father and brother despite some positive signs.
Harry arrived at LAX airport on Tuesday afternoon, getting back to his home in Montecito by 4 p.m. local time, dailymail.com reports.
He is understood to have flown into Los Angeles on an American Airlines flight from London Heathrow. A chauffeur-driven MPV was seen leaving the private terminal at LAX and arriving at their Montecito mansion.
However, hopes were fading Wednesday that a brief, carefully choreographed chat between Harry and William as they walked out of their grandfather’s funeral on Saturday would herald a new era of royal relations.
The Times reported that Harry’s relationship with his father and brother continues to be “strained” and said any exchanges between them at the funeral will have done little to improve matters.
Sources told The Times it was “unthinkable” there would have been serious discussions after the funeral on the grave matters raised by Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Harry told Oprah his brother and father were “trapped” in the monarchy and angrily criticized his father’s lack of understanding for his and Meghan’s unhappiness. The couple also accused an unnamed family member of making racist inquiries about the likely color of the skin of any children Meghan and Harry might have.
Harry returned home before his grandmother turned 95 on Wednesday, just days after the funeral of her husband of 77 years.
Having been obliged to sit alone at the funeral due to strict British coronavirus regulations, the queen is also thought unlikely to see her family on her birthday. She is likely to spend the day at Windsor Castle with only a small bubble of staff. Current English coronavirus rules forbid families from gathering inside, although gatherings outside or in gardens are permitted.
Harry’s speedy return to the U.S. comes after several days of mixed reports on the progress of reconciliation attempts with his father and brother.
Much seems unresolved, despite reports that Harry, William, and Charles spent several hours locked in conversation after the funeral.
Conflicting reports have emerged about this alleged conversation.
The Mail claimed that Charles and William insisted on meeting with Harry together so that nobody’s words could be misconstrued afterward, and that the meeting happened on the grounds of Windsor Castle. The Sun said the meeting happened at Harry’s home, Frogmore Cottage, and that Kate was present. The palace has refused to comment for fear of inflaming the delicate situation.
What is not in doubt is that after Saturday’s funeral, William and Harry walked back to Windsor Castle from St. George’s Chapel together. Harry’s brief visit to the U.K. for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh was his first trip back to Britain in a year. The brothers had not seen each other in person since a frosty encounter at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Upon leaving the funeral, Harry first spoke to Kate Middleton, who diplomatically appeared to engineer the situation so that the brothers walked together. Just weeks previously, Harry’s wife had accused Kate of allowing the uncorrected circulation of lies about who made who cry in the run-up to Meghan’s wedding. Meghan, who is expecting a baby girl in the summer, did not travel on doctor’s orders but did send a handwritten note and a wreath.
The trip marked the first time Harry has seen his family since making explosive allegations about royal racism during an interview with Oprah last month and claiming his father and brother are “trapped in the system.”
William is known to have been deeply hurt by what Harry said, and Charles was upset by Harry saying he felt let down by his father and Harry’s accusation that he cut him off financially, and refused to take his phone calls.
Harry will now begin another 10-day quarantine as recommended for travelers to the U.S. by the CDC.
The queen Wednesday issued a statement saying, “I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate.
“While as a family we are in a period of great sadness, it has been a comfort to us all to see and to hear the tributes paid to my husband, from those within the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world.
“My family and I would like to thank you all for the support and kindness shown to us in recent days. We have been deeply touched, and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life.”