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Prince Harry received news of Queen’s death ‘five minutes before the world’

The Duke of Sussex was reportedly told while mid-air en route to Balmoral

Kate Ng
Monday 19 September 2022 09:38 BST
Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren hold vigil at her coffin in Westminster Hall

The Duke of Sussex was only informed of Queen Elizabeth II’s death minutes before the official announcement was made publicly, it has been reported.

Prince Harry reportedly received a call from his father, King Charles III, about his grandmother’s passing while he was mid-air on his flight to Aberdeen on Thursday (8 September).

By the time he landed, Buckingham Palace had announced to the world that the Queen had died, according to The Telegraph.

A spokesperson for the King said in a statement: “The public was only informed after every family member had been informed.”

The newspaper quoted a source as saying that the King was “adamant” that all members of the royal family be informed of the monarch’s death before the official statement went out.

“Everybody was trying to get where they needed to be,” the source was quoted as saying. “That was the focus.

“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.”

The Queen died at the age of 96 in Balmoral Castle, after 70 years on the throne. Members of the royal family, including the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, and the Earl of Wessex, rushed to Aberdeen on the day to be by her side.

The Princess Royal was with her mother in her final moments, and released a statement that said she felt “fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest mother’s life”.

Harry was due to make an appearance at a charity awards ceremony in London on 8 September, but cancelled it to fly to Scotland to join his family.

Prince William flew to Aberdeen on the same flight as Princes Andrew and Edward. Harry travelled on a separate plane, but was understood to have been in coordination with other family members’ plans.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Westminster Hall, London after the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II was brought to the hall to lie in state ahead of her funeral (Getty Images)

He arrived just after the other senior royals and was driven in a convoy of cars, whilst William drove his uncles and the Countess of Wessex to Balmoral castle.

Despite the separate travel plans, the brothers reunited along with their wives, the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Sussex, to view floral tributes to the Queen at Windsor Castle on Sunday (11 September).

It marked the first time all four royals have appeared in public together since the Queen’s service of thanksgiving in June, which was part of her platinum jubilee celebrations.

The heartfelt moment came after the King sent a message of “love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas” in his first address to the nation hours after his mother’s death.

(Getty Images)

However, the royal family has come under scrutiny after it emerged that Harry would not be permitted to wear his military uniform during official events in the lead-up to the Queen’s funeral on Monday (19 September), but his disgraced uncle Prince Andrew could wear his during the Vigil of the Princes.

The decision was reversed by order of the King and Harry donned his Royals and Blues uniform for the first time since 2020, during the historic vigil of the grandchildren on Saturday evening (17 September).

Although his appearance in uniform garnered praise from members of the public, Harry was reportedly “heartbroken” at the removal of his grandmother’s “ER” initials from his shoulder. The initials remained on Andrew’s vice-admiral uniform, and also appeared on William’s.

The Independent has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.

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