This Royal Will Be Harry's "Safe Haven" When He Returns to the U.K., Say Sources
"This is going to be a highly emotional trip for Harry," an insider said. But he has this "sole ally."
The guessing game about whether Prince Harry would attend the July 1 unveiling of the statue of his mother, Princess Diana, may finally be over. On June 22, a source confirmed to The Independent that the prince would be attending the ceremony. On the same day, the Daily Mail reported the Duke of Sussex may be back in England "within the next 24 hours" in order to fulfill his quarantine requirement ahead of the unveiling, which will be held on what would have been Diana's 60th birthday. Because the United States is on Britain's "Amber List," the prince would have to quarantine for 10 days upon arriving from his home in California, which would mean he would have to arrive in London by today, June 23.
Harry does have other options, however. Sources have told Best Life that the prince "doesn't want to be away from [Duchess] Meghan and the children for that long," so he may decide to go with the British government's "Test to Release" plan, which cuts the quarantine time in half if the visitor takes a COVID test on the fifth day and the results are negative. "Just as he did when he returned to attend Prince Philip's funeral in April, his stay was as short as possible," said one source. "Harry got out of England as soon as he could. He left one day before the Queen's 95th birthday because he couldn't bare to stay a minute longer."
This time, there is one royal who is planning to make Harry's stay more comfortable and drama-free. Read on to find out which royal will be offering Harry a "safe haven" in the days leading up to the unveiling of Diana's statue and why this "sole ally" is willing to go against the royal tide.
Harry will be staying with Princess Eugenie in the U.K., according to sources.
Just as Princess Eugenie did when Harry returned to England for Philip's funeral, she will reportedly welcome her cousin back to Frogmore Cottage in the days ahead, where he will stay for the duration of his trip. Eugenie has always "been there for Harry," said a royal source.
When Harry and William were children, they spent a great deal of time with Eugenie and her sister, Princess Beatrice, because Diana and the girls' mother, Sarah, Duchess of York, were great friends until they had a falling out in the early '90s. (Sarah was not invited to Prince William and Duchess Catherine's wedding, but attended Harry and Meghan's.) After Harry and Meghan announced their engagement, Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, her boyfriend at the time and now her husband, would often go out as a foursome.
Harry and Eugenie have remained close after the prince's move to California—insiders say they text each other constantly. However, the cousins were once embroiled in their own conflict. When Harry and Meghan chose to announce they were expecting their first child at Eugenie and Jack's wedding in Oct. 2018, her parents, Sarah and Prince Andrew, were reportedly furious that Harry and Meghan stole Eugenie's thunder on her wedding day. Eugenie seems to have gotten over it and her relationship with her cousin remains strong.
While she won't be at the unveiling of the Diana statue, Eugenie will be able to offer Harry the "moral support" he will need during the difficult days leading up to the ceremony, said one source. "This is going to be a highly emotional trip for Harry, especially because Meghan won't be at his side, but he can count on Eugenie, his sole ally, along with Jack, to be understanding and offer their support."
Harry needs someone from the royal family "in his corner" for the difficult visit, insiders say.
It's very likely Harry could receive a chillier reception than he did at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral. Last month, the prince made scathing comments about the Royal Family that raised plenty of eyebrows and, reportedly, tempers, when he was interviewed on the Armchair Expert podcast. He likened royal life to "being in a zoo" and heaped more criticism on his father, Prince Charles, who he said passed on a cycle of "genetic pain and suffering" to him and William that stemmed from his grandparents.
Harry's indirect criticism of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's parenting style left William and several other royals "positively incandescent," said an insider. On The Me You Can't See, Harry's Apple TV+ series on mental health, which he co-produced with Oprah Winfrey, he showed footage from Diana's funeral and talked about his struggle with anxiety, saying he didn't think his family could help him with his issues. Most recently, Harry and Meghan became embroiled in another battle with the Palace over what and when Her Majesty was told by the couple about naming their baby daughter Lilibet Diana, the first name being the Queen's deeply personal nickname.
"Harry has not spoken to his brother since their brief encounter at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral," said one source. "It's a good thing Harry will have a safe haven and someone in his corner when he goes back. He's going to need it."
Some members of the royal family want "nothing to do with" Harry, insiders say.
Ever since William and Harry announced they were commissioning the statue of Princess Diana in 2017, there has been speculation about which other royals, if any, would be in attendance for the unveiling. Although it was never expected that Charles would attend with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, it's been reported he will be on a trip to Scotland before Harry is out of quarantine, so there will be no in-person meeting between father and son. That seems to be for the best. An insider told Best Life that Harry's "relationship with Charles is in the worst place it's ever been."
Kate joined William and Harry at the opening of Diana's White Garden at Kensington Palace in 2017 and was reported only to attend the unveiling if Harry was a no-show. Now a royal source tells Best Life, "She may attend the statue unveiling to act as a bridge between the brothers. Harry is more comfortable with Kate than he is with William." Last week, it was announced Meghan, who recently gave birth, would not make the trip.
With everything that's happened this year between the Sussexes and the Palace, it's clear Harry will be walking into an environment where some royals "want nothing to do with him." A source told Best Life, "There is also this sense that anything anyone says to Harry goes straight back to Meghan and becomes fodder for their next interview. In the space of the last few months, the situation between them has gone from bad to worse."
Harry will be staying at the house he and Meghan once shared in Windsor.
Queen Elizabeth gave Harry and Meghan Frogmore Cottage on the grounds of the Home Park in Windsor as a wedding gift in 2018. The residence then underwent a £2.4 million ($3.3 million) renovation paid for by the British taxpayers before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved in. When the couple stepped down as senior royals and left for America in the spring of 2020, they agreed to pay back the cost of upgrading the house. Eugenie and Jack moved in after the Sussexes' departure and now live there with their son, August Philip Hawke, born February of this year.
Frogmore Cottage was reportedly five separate cottages before Harry and Meghan's renovation transformed it into a single family home. The Sun reports the house has now been "spilt in two" with two self-contained cottages in order to ensure it's "COVID-safe" prior to Harry's arrival. A source told the outlet that Harry will be able to isolate in one half of the house safely away from Eugenie and her family until his quarantine is over. This latest configuration was first put into place prior to Harry's arrival in April for Philip's funeral.
"Harry loves spending time in Windsor with his cousin and her family. The burden of worrying about getting snubbed by the rest of the family isn't there, so he can let his guard down," a source told Best Life. "Eugenie is very fond of Harry, so it makes sense she and Jack would welcome him at Frogmore during what are sure to be very difficult days."