William and Harry could walk side by side behind the Queen’s coffin at her funeral

Could William and Harry be reunited once again? Palace to discuss plans which could place feuding princes next to each other at Queen’s funeral – after William’s walkabout ‘olive branch’ – while Prince Andrew is also set for ‘central role’ in procession

Advertisement

<!–<!–<!–<!–<!–<!–<!–

William and Harry could walk side by side behind the Queen‘s coffin at her funeral next week in a potential royal truce, according to reports.

Days after the Prince of Wales offered his brother an ‘olive branch’ by inviting him on a walkaround to meet mourners outside Windsor, there is a suggestion they could put their differences aside during the time of national mourning. 

The pair had been separated by their cousin Peter Phillip at the funeral of Prince Phillip last year, and since then have only been seen in public together once before Saturday’s surprise walk.

What form the truce takes at the Queen’s service on Monday, September 19, remains to be seen, with reports suggesting that Prince Andrew is also set to play a key role despite controversies in the last few years.

The Duke of York, who has been in hot water over his links to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, is expected to join his family as they unite in their grief, with sources saying it would be ‘out of the question’ for him to be excluded.

However, despite this apparent reprieve for the disgraced prince, there would seem to be now way back into public life for him, with both the king and the Prince of Wales previously saying he would have no formal role during their reigns.

It comes as the royal family attempts to put on a united front during the period of national mourning, as they try to put aside their differences for the greater good following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral on Thursday.

William and Harry could walk side by side during the Queen's funeral procession on Monday, September 19

William and Harry could walk side by side during the Queen’s funeral procession on Monday, September 19

The brothers, pictured here with their wives outside Windsor Castle on Saturday, could call a temporary truce to pay their respects to their grandmother

The brothers, pictured here with their wives outside Windsor Castle on Saturday, could call a temporary truce to pay their respects to their grandmother

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away at the age of 96 at her summer home in Balmoral, Scotland, on Thursday.  Pictured is her coffin arriving at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh yesterday

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away at the age of 96 at her summer home in Balmoral, Scotland, on Thursday.  Pictured is her coffin arriving at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh yesterday

There are reports that Prince Andrew will be allowed a temporary return to public life to mourn his mother. He is pictured here at Holyroodhouse yesterday awaiting the arrival of the Queen's cortege

There are reports that Prince Andrew will be allowed a temporary return to public life to mourn his mother. He is pictured here at Holyroodhouse yesterday awaiting the arrival of the Queen’s cortege

Princess Anne curtseys as the Queen's coffin is carried into the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh yesterday

Princess Anne curtseys as the Queen’s coffin is carried into the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh yesterday

Royal sources say Prince William extended an '11th-hour olive branch' to his young brother Prince Harry by asking him to join him on a walkabout (pictured) outside Windsor Castle following a phone call with his father Charles

Royal sources say Prince William extended an ’11th-hour olive branch’ to his young brother Prince Harry by asking him to join him on a walkabout (pictured) outside Windsor Castle following a phone call with his father Charles

Experts predict the moment could prove a turning point in the frayed relationship between newly-titled Waleses and the Sussexes (pictured here together in 2020), who have been at odds following a number of damaging interviews by Harry and Meghan about the royals

Experts predict the moment could prove a turning point in the frayed relationship between newly-titled Waleses and the Sussexes (pictured here together in 2020), who have been at odds following a number of damaging interviews by Harry and Meghan about the royals

The deterioration in the 96-year-old monarchs health was sudden, with Charles being the only one of her children or grandchildren to make it to her side before she passed away.

While arrangements for the funeral service are still being ironed out, the Sun reports that discussions are underway that could see William and Harry stand side by side during the procession.

Harry and Meghan may fly in their children for  the Queen’s funeral

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may fly Archie and Lilibet to the UK for the Queen’s funeral, it has been suggested.

The US-based Duke and Duchess of Sussex have reportedly confirmed they will be staying in Britain until the end of the royal mourning period, which finishes seven days after the service on September 19.

However, the couple’s children, Archie, three, and Lilibet, one, remain in California with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, 66, and have already spent more than a week apart from their parents, who were coming to the end of a whistlestop tour to Europe when the Queen died on Thursday.

According to The Telegraph, the Sussexes are now trying to work out whether Doria and the children should fly out to the UK.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess confirmed the couple will stay in the UK for the period of royal mourning, reported The Express.

Meghan and Harry had only expected to be away from their Montecito mansion for seven days for their mini European tour, in which they were supporting various charities close to their hearts.

However, the Queen’s death at Balmoral on Thursday, aged 96, pushed them to extend their stay in the UK.

On Saturday evening, Prince William and Kate Middleton, and Meghan and Harry made a surprise appearance together at Windsor Castle to inspect the sea of floral tributes laid outside the gates of the Berkshire estate in tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The reunion marks the first time that the two couples have all appeared in public since Commonwealth Day on March 9, 2020, just weeks before the Covid lockdown.

Harry and Meghan, who quit frontline duties two years ago to strike out on their own in California and then levied a series of bombshell allegations against The Firm, held hands as they looked at the tributes, with Harry at one point affectionately putting his hand on Meghan’s back.

They were seen pointing at different tributes and discussing them as members of the crowd waved at them.

One well-wisher who spoke to Harry and Meghan told MailOnline: ‘It’s lovely to see them both together. Maybe they can get back to a proper relationship.

‘Lovely ripple went through the crowd as they approached. Hopefully the healing between Harry and his brother can start now. I’m just so excited to have seen them both together. It’s lovely.’

Another mourner said: ‘We couldn’t believe it when the gates opened, and we saw William and Harry walk down with Meghan and Kate. I’ll be honest there was a little bit of a groan when Harry and Meghan came down our side, but I passed him a bunch of flowers and he was happy to take them.

‘I’m pleased that they came out together and as a family I’m delighted that they all took the time to come and say hello to the crowds. Sad things like funerals bring families together so I hope that when they get back to California they think long and hard about everything that’s happened.’

Harry only took place after an extended negotiation which delayed the Sussexes arrival by at least 45 minutes.

Royal sources say William attempted to bury the hatchet by extending an ’11th-hour olive branch’ to his younger brother Harry, by asking him to join him on a walkabout outside Windsor Castle following a phone call with his father Charles III.

In a scene that clearly delighted royal fans, who had come in their hundreds to the gates of the Windsor estate to mourn the Queen’s death, William and Harry walked out side-by-side with wives Kate and Meghan.

Last night, a Kensington Palace spokesman said that the Prince of Wales had invited the Sussexes to join him and the Princess of Wales during yesterday evening’s walkabout.

However, according to The Times, the camps required extended negotiations beforehand which delayed their arrival by 45 minutes.

A senior Palace source said: ‘The Prince of Wales invited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to join him and the Princess of Wales earlier. The Prince of Wales thought it was an important show of unity for the Queen at an incredibly difficult time for the family.’

Experts predict the moment could provide a turning point in the frayed relationship between newly-titled Waleses, and the Sussexes, who have been at odds following a series of damaging interviews by Harry and Meghan.

Advertisement

It would mark a significant improvement in their relationship – at the funeral of their grandfather, Prince Phillip in April last year, the pair were separated by their cousin Peter Phillips.

However, relations between the brothers seem to have improved since then, with William inviting Harry to meet wellwishers and mourners outside Windsor on Saturday.

The 11th hour ‘olive branch’ was offered by William to his brother as hundreds of people gathered outside the royal residence to pay tribute to Her Majesty.

The brothers, accompanied by their wives, greeted mourners outside the gates of the royal residence and thanked them for their tributes and condolences. 

The Sun reports an insider as saying: ‘We are certainly not in the same place as Philip’s funeral when William and Harry didn’t walk side by side.

‘Things haven’t changed but it is not as intense and they can co-exist.

‘But the flower visit really doesn’t change anything. It is the same situation as at Prince Philip’s funeral when William and Harry put their differences aside and supported each other and their families in that moment.’

The temporary nature of the truce could be laid bare in the coming months with Harry set to release his ‘tell-all’ memoirs and Meghan set to continue her series of podcasts.

A royal source told the Mirror: ‘We must remember that amid the intense grief of a nation there is, at its heart, a family in mourning. It is undeniable that there are certain ­factions within the family.

‘However, it was the Prince of Wales’s firmly held belief that the passing of his grandmother should be a period of togetherness.

‘That said, there remains a great sense of distrust in the air and for that to dissipate there needs to be some major reconciliation on the part of those making the most noise.

‘Until that is forthcoming, then there may be little point taking things any further.’

It is understood that the pair, who travelled separately up to Scotland after finding out their grandmother was seriously ill, did not see each other in the immediate aftermath of her death.

Harry travelled on his privately charted plane while William joined his uncle’s Andrew and Edward on a flight up to Balmoral. 

At the royal residence itself neither brother spoke to the other, it is alleged, with Harry leaving on his own less than 12 hours after he arrived.

Instead of joining his father and brother at Charles’s home in Birkhall, Harry decided to remain at Balmoral Castle where Prince Andrew and the Earl of Wessex had joined their sister, Princess Anne.

‘Two dinners were being hosted on the royal estate that night and there was a clear divide: One was for the new king and his heir, the other was for the rest of the family,’ said an insider.

On Saturday, while Charles was sworn in as king, Anne, Andrew, Edward and their children thanked wellwishers who had gathered outside the gates of Balmoral.

It is understood that in Windsor William and his wife Kate were about to do the same when the Prince of Wales who had already raised the idea with his brother that they might view the flowers together, texted Harry with a proposed time.

According to a source: ‘It happened very quickly – remarkable really considering they didn’t see each other in Scotland.’

The source added it was not done on the orders of their father.

The last minute nature of the walkabout led to it being pushed back by 45 minutes, but when the pair did go out they put on a united front to comfort those who had gathered outside.

It is the first time William and Harry have been seen together in public since they joined for the opening of the memorial in honour of their mother, Princess Diana.

Harry and Meghan, who sensationally quit frontline duties two years ago to strike out on their own in California and then levied a series of bombshell allegations against The Firm, held hands as they looked at the tributes, with Harry at one point affectionately putting his hand on Meghan’s back. 

They were seen pointing at different tributes and discussing them as members of the crowd waved at them.

At one moment, a small Paddington Bear toy was given to William, which he passed on to an aide. He was seen lightly touching Kate’s back at one poignant moment. At one point Kate crouched down and began speaking to a child who had started to cry. The child stopped crying when Kate approached her.

One well-wisher said Kate ‘welled up’ as she told children that her youngest son Louis – who stole the hearts of the nation during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations – consoled her by telling her: ‘At least Grannie is with great grandpa now.’

Another royal fan who spoke to Harry and Meghan told MailOnline: ‘It’s lovely to see them both together. Maybe they can get back to a proper relationship. Lovely ripple went through the crowd as they approached. Hopefully the healing between Harry and his brother can start now. I’m just so excited to have seen them both together. It’s lovely.’

Another added: ‘It might build some bridges. It might have been the Queen’s wish.’ And one girl, who hugged Meghan during the walkabout, said she was pleased to see the Waleses and the Sussexes back together again.

In a scene which delighted royal fans, who had come to the gates of the Windsor estate mourn the Queen's death, William and Harry walked out side-by-side wives Kate and Meghan (pictured)

In a scene which delighted royal fans, who had come to the gates of the Windsor estate mourn the Queen’s death, William and Harry walked out side-by-side wives Kate and Meghan (pictured)

One excited little girl gets special attention from the Duchess of Sussex she kneels down to clasp hands and share a kind smile

One excited little girl gets special attention from the Duchess of Sussex she kneels down to clasp hands and share a kind smile

The Prince of Wales yesterday paid tribute to his late 'Grannie' Queen Elizabeth II, describing the beloved monarch as an 'extraordinary leader, whose commitment to the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth was absolute'. In a heartbreaking statement, Prince William revealed how Her Majesty - who died at Balmoral Castle on Thursday aged 96 - had provided him and his wife Kate Middleton 'wisdom and reassurance' and their children 'memories that will last them a lifetime'
The Prince of Wales yesterday paid tribute to his late 'Grannie' Queen Elizabeth II, describing the beloved monarch as an 'extraordinary leader, whose commitment to the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth was absolute'. In a heartbreaking statement, Prince William revealed how Her Majesty - who died at Balmoral Castle on Thursday aged 96 - had provided him and his wife Kate Middleton 'wisdom and reassurance' and their children 'memories that will last them a lifetime'

The Prince of Wales yesterday paid tribute to his late ‘Grannie’ Queen Elizabeth II, describing the beloved monarch as an ‘extraordinary leader, whose commitment to the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth was absolute’

King Charles III meeting well-wishers as he returns to Clarence House from Buckingham Palace

King Charles III meeting well-wishers as he returns to Clarence House from Buckingham Palace

Just moments earlier, the Prince of Wales paid an emotional tribute to his late ‘Grannie’, describing the beloved monarch as an ‘extraordinary leader, whose commitment to the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth was absolute’ and admitting it would be ‘some time’ before her loss ‘will truly feel real’.

Both princes have been contacted for comment.

Meanwhile, the apparent banishment of Prince Andrew from public life seems to have been brought to a temporary halt, as he joined other members of the family in Edinburgh yesterday for the arrival of the Queen’s coffin. 

Prince Andrew returns to the fold – but not for long

For the last couple of years Prince Andrew has been keeping a relatively low profile after allegations about his links to notorious paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

He has been rarely seen in public and was only scheduled to appear at one event during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations – something he ended up missing due to getting Covid.

With his mother’s passing he has been allowed to return to the public eye to take part in the national mourning that will come over the next couple of weeks. 

However, this is not expected to be a permanent return, with the Telegraph reporting the new king is not likely to allow him to restart formal functions.

King Charles, along with his son, Prince William, were two of the key driving forces behind Andrew’s banishment from public life as they fought to contain the fallout from his relationship with Epstein and subsequent civil sex abuse case with one of the paedophile’s victims.

It reports they are likely to force him back out of the public eye once the mourning for Her Majesty is over. 

Advertisement

The Duke of York was present at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in the Scottish capital with his sister Princess Anne, and brother Prince Edward, as the cortege arrived.

Andrew is thought to have been incredibly close to his late mother, and is believed to have spent large amounts of time in recent months.

He has rarely been seen in public since his association with notorious paedophile Jeffrey Epstein became public knowledge, with other members of the family railing against his involvement in royal functions.

However, despite this he will place a key role in the coming period of national mourning, something that has the blessing of the king. 

The Telegraph quotes a palace source as saying it would be ‘out of the question’ for him not to be involved when the royal family is trying to present a united front.

But this temporary reprieve is not set to become permanent, with both King Charles and Prince William making it clear that Andrew will not play any formal role in their reigns.

In the period leading up to the Queen’s funeral on September 19, she will spend a number of days lying in state. 

From Wednesday, September 14, her body will be placed at Westminster Hall, where the public will be able to view her coffin.

Officials believe up to 325,000 mourners will pay their respects to Her Majesty, and have warned they may have to queue ‘for many hours, possibly overnight’ to see her.

Officials are preparing for 3,000 people an hour to file past the coffin, meaning around 325,000 mourners in total, including other royals, foreign dignitaries and diplomats. Some 200,000 people visited Westminster Hall to pay respects to the Queen Mother in 2002.

A Government source said: ‘It is like trying to organise something on a similar scale to the London Olympics in a matter of days.’

Further details of where to queue will be released today. Westminster Hall will be open 24 hours a day. 

The coffin will be draped in the Royal Standard and adorned with the Imperial State Crown – worn by the Queen after her coronation – with sceptre, orb and flowers from royal gardens.

Tens of thousands of well-wishers are expected to line the streets as it makes a journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. The procession will travel via The Mall, Horse Guards, Whitehall and Parliament Square. It will be screened live in Hyde Park, with a viewing area opening at 11am on Wednesday. 

King Charles, the Queen Consort and other members of the Royal Family will witness the arrival of the coffin. Units from the Sovereign’s Bodyguard, the Household Division, or Yeoman Warders of the Tower of London will guard the coffin day and night.

It was yesterday carried by hearse in a procession from Balmoral Castle to Edinburgh. This evening King Charles and his brothers will form a guard of honour around the coffin at the four corners of a raised platform known as a catafalque.

In a moving tribute known as the Vigil Of The Princes, they will take the places of guardsmen from the Royal Company of Archers for about an hour. Wearing ceremonial uniform, each will face outwards with their heads bowed in respect. Charles and other senior royals performed the tradition when the Queen Mother died.

They will do so again when the Queen reaches the Palace of Westminster this week. Because the monarch died in Scotland, an additional lying-in-state in Edinburgh was arranged.

Yesterday the coffin arrived at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Today King Charles and the Queen Consort will fly into the Scottish capital and travel to the palace to inspect a guard of honour. At 2.35pm, Charles and Camilla will join a procession to St Giles’ Cathedral 1,200 yards away.

Charles and other royals will walk behind the hearse as it makes its way along the Royal Mile.

At the cathedral, the Crown of Scotland will be placed upon the coffin. After a service, members of the public will be allowed to file past to pay their respects.

At 7.20pm the King and his brothers will perform the Vigil of The Princes. The coffin is expected to be flown to London tomorrow evening, with Princess Anne accompanying her mother.

On arrival at RAF Northolt in west London at 6.55pm, the coffin will be transferred to the State Hearse. At Buckingham Palace, a guard of honour will receive the coffin. A bearer party of the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, will carry it to the Bow Room where it will be placed on trestles, witnessed by King Charles and the Queen Consort. Chaplains to the King will keep watch over the coffin.

Lying-in-state is an honour given to the sovereign as head of state, consorts and some former Prime Ministers, including Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

 

Reconciliation… or only a truce? The ‘Fab Four’s’ unexpected reunion happened after William sent Harry a text asking if he and Meghan wanted to view flowers left for the Queen at Windsor and was NOT on the orders of King Charles III, reveals RICHARD KAY 

By Richard Kay for the Daily Mail

Just for a moment it was like turning back the clock. William and Harry, side by side with their wives, radiating the kind of goodwill that we all once took for granted.

It was almost as if that brotherly bond of affection that has been so catastrophically absent for the past two years had, somehow, magically returned.

Of course it was awkward and at times both of them looked strained, with Harry especially hesitant as they honoured their grandmother’s memory by greeting well-wishers and viewing the flowers outside the gates of Windsor Castle on Saturday afternoon.

For so many years their mutual reliance had been an enduring and endearing part of the royal story, but that trust and common dependency, forged from the tragic loss of their mother in their early teens, had vanished in the aftermath of Harry and Meghan’s bitter break from the Royal Family.

RICHARD KAY: Just for a moment it was like turning back the clock. William and Harry, side by side with their wives, radiating the kind of goodwill that we all once took for granted

RICHARD KAY: Just for a moment it was like turning back the clock. William and Harry, side by side with their wives, radiating the kind of goodwill that we all once took for granted

In place of that once familiar bonhomie was silence, resentment and anger. Nothing it seemed could heal the rift; not the entreaties of family and friends and not even fatherhood, a shared passion for them both – until that unexpected public reunion at the weekend.

For 45 minutes, the two couples moved among the crowds, shaking hands, accepting condolences and flowers which they placed on the growing pile of tributes while thanking the public in turn for their kindnesses.

It was, of course, a powerful echo of similar images from a quarter of a century ago when, after the death of Princess Diana, the brothers greeted mourners outside Kensington Palace.

Even at the end of their walkabout, the sense of togetherness persisted. All four climbed into the same car and, with William very much in charge at the wheel, headed up the Long Walk in the direction of Frogmore Cottage, his brother and sister-in-law’s home in the UK.

The Duke of Sussex joined other members of the Royal Family in mourning the Queen’s death

Prince Harry is swept out of Balmoral by security in the back seat of this Range Rover this morning following the death of the Queen

The question last night was whether this rare moment of unity promises anything more than mere symbolism. Is it indeed a reconciliation or the beginnings of one – or was it simply a truce?

Certainly its importance to the long-term vitality of the monarchy cannot be underestimated. The pictures of the new Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex succeeded in upstaging the proclamation of King Charles as the new monarch, a reminder, should he need it, of the star quality of his sons and their wives.

The initiative was Prince William’s but it required Harry to agree. And that in itself is certainly something of a breakthrough. Both are stubborn and both have blamed the other for the estrangement.

That it happened at all is even more remarkable considering Harry’s apparent sidelining as events which unfolded in the hours immediately before and after the death of the Queen on Thursday.

The 'fab four' reunited at Windsor to mourn the death of The Queen; it was the first time the couples have been together in public since March 2020

The ‘fab four’ reunited at Windsor to mourn the death of The Queen; it was the first time the couples have been together in public since March 2020

When William flew up to Scotland he was accompanied by his uncles Andrew and Edward. Harry’s absence remains unexplained but rumours abound.

Some reports have suggested he had insisted Meghan accompany him until it was pointed out to him that Kate would not be there supporting her husband.

The upshot was that instead Harry travelled alone on his own privately chartered plane and did not arrive at Balmoral until several hours after his grandmother’s death. But then instead of joining his father and brother who were ensconced at Charles’s home Birkhall, he remained at Balmoral Castle where the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex had joined their sister Princess Anne.

‘Two dinners were being hosted on the royal estate that night and there was a clear divide: One was for the new king and his heir, the other was for the rest of the family,’ said an insider.

By Saturday events had moved fast: King Charles III had been sworn in as monarch and in Scotland Anne, Andrew, Edward and their children were thanking mourners who had gathered to pay their respects at Balmoral.

Meanwhile, there was anticipation that William and Kate would perform a similar function in Windsor. It is understood that at some stage that day William, who had already raised the idea with his brother that they might view the flowers together, texted Harry with a proposed time – a text which Harry acknowledged.

The Prince and Princess of Wales and the Sussexes waves to members of the public at Windsor Castle

The Prince and Princess of Wales and the Sussexes waves to members of the public at Windsor Castle

King Charles III waving at well-wishers as he arrives at Buckingham Palace this afternoon

King Charles III waving at well-wishers as he arrives at Buckingham Palace this afternoon

According to a source: ‘It happened very quickly – remarkable really considering they didn’t see each other in Scotland.’

The gesture was certainly decisive. One thing we have learned is that it was not done on the direction of their father as was being widely reported over the weekend. A royal source said such suggestions were ‘absolutely not the case’. Nor is it true that William acted only after learning Harry was set on his own walkabout among the crowds complete with an attendant TV crew. ‘Complete b******s,’ said a source.

However, the walkabout had originally been planned for 4.30pm but was pushed back by 45 minutes as the brothers communicated with one another, reinforcing the last minute nature of the olive branch.

But it surely can be no coincidence that in his first television address as Sovereign on Friday, Charles made a point of expressing his love for Harry and Meghan. This must have emboldened William in his course of action.

Camilla, the Queen Consort, waving to people gathered outside Buckingham Palace from her car today

William, it is understood, took the view that at this time of national mourning a show of unity was needed out of respect to the Queen. As an insider put it: ‘These coming days are going to be extremely intense and getting through them without distraction can only be a good thing.’

But was it anything more that pragmatism? At the time of Prince Philip’s funeral in April last year, the brothers were urged to try and settle their differences. And there was hope when, immediately after the service, they were pictured leaving St George’s chapel side by side to return to the castle.

But the optimism was misplaced and the rift remained. In the intervening months things have not improved and looming over the relationship and whether it can be salvaged is Harry’s forthcoming memoir. ‘William loves his brother but there is this matter of trust,’ says one figure.

It is this issue that will ultimately decide if Saturday’s walkabout heralds a sea change in the brothers’ relationship or is merely a temporary respite.

For many, seeing the pair working together once again as they inspected the floral tributes and talked to the crowds will be all the proof needed that they are indeed reconciled. That, of course, is the miracle of monarchy.

For years, William and Harry’s parents put on a convincing show of togetherness at national events long after their separation, such as those marking the 50th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War in 1995. They even allowed themselves to be photographed travelling together to watch their sons at school events.

The reality often was that no sooner were they out of view of photographers than they were switching into separate cars. And so cynics could be forgiven for wondering if that is what happened in Windsor Great Park on Saturday once their Range Rover had evaded long lenses.

On arrival at Holyroodhouse she was met by three of her children and other family members. Pictured here from left to right is Prince Andrew, the Countess of Wessex and the Earl of Wessex

On arrival at Holyroodhouse she was met by three of her children and other family members. Pictured here from left to right is Prince Andrew, the Countess of Wessex and the Earl of Wessex

What then are the chances of a reconciliation? Slight, but not impossible, according to one informed figure. ‘The problem is,’ says the source, ‘that they have barely spoken for two years and there is both anger and grief about it all on both sides.’

Each expects the other to apologise. If the death of their grandmother is to continue to be a healing balm on these two warring princes then it will take more than texting each other to achieve a proper rapprochement.

And what would a resolution look like? Publication of Harry’s book is crucial. He has promised the ‘definitive account’ of ‘experiences, adventures, losses and life lessons’. At such a late stage, might publication be stopped or is he bound by the terms of a restrictive contract?

For William the issue of trust is truly at the heart of the breakdown in relations with his brother. His fear is that a book which discusses any intimate family secrets will be a deal-breaker in reconciling.

And what about their other deals, so important to fund the Sussexes’ California lifestyle and meet their security bill? If there is no breakthrough between the brothers, then Harry and Meghan will return to the US and continue their lives and all that entails.

Friends of Harry are keen to suggest that the couple can be pragmatic themselves. Meghan, they point out, has cancelled the next episode of her Archetypes podcast and an appearance on a US chat show. The pair have also pulled out of an appearance at this week’s UN General Assembly.

Could those gestures be interpreted as an olive branch, too?

But it surely can be no coincidence that in his first television address as Sovereign on Friday, Charles made a point of expressing his love for Harry and Meghan. Pictured: Meghan comforting Harry by the tributes to the Queen

But it surely can be no coincidence that in his first television address as Sovereign on Friday, Charles made a point of expressing his love for Harry and Meghan. Pictured: Meghan comforting Harry by the tributes to the Queen

Some now say it is possible that with the headwind and good will of a new reign and the benevolence of his father, the international roles first mooted for Harry and Meghan could be offered again.

All the same it is hard to see how Meghan, who has voiced so much criticism of royal life, could agree to any kind of arrangement that would diminish her ability to speak as she chooses. And that, ultimately, may make any peace offering worthless.

Much may depend on how the Sussexes conduct themselves in the coming days. Meanwhile, their own plans are unknown. Although Harry is expected to remain in the country until the funeral, will Meghan? She has already been apart from her children for more than a week. There are suggestions that rather than returning to the US and then flying back, her mother Doria may travel to Britain with Archie and Lilibet so they can be reunited with their parents.

Perhaps we should see Saturday’s exercise among the mourners at the gates to Windsor Castle as a first step and that both William and Harry will be able to reflect that they – and the Royal Family – are better and stronger together than they are apart.

At the moment, the closest analogy to the events of the past few days is that of soldiers on the Western Front during the First World War when they held their own ceasefire with the enemy on Christmas Day in order to play football. Those soldiers famously returned to their trenches and carried on hostilities.

For the new King such a prospect is a troubling one. He may not have instructed his sons to get together on Saturday but it was his fervent wish. Indeed, the Daily Mail understands he spoke to both of them during the day following his proclamation.

‘His view, basically, is ‘sort it out’,’ says an aide. ‘He hates any kind of confrontation but he does see this period [of mourning] as an opportunity for his sons.’

Advertisement