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Prince Philip Went From "Furious to Deeply Saddened" Over Prince Harry

Prince Harry's grandfather was initially "seething with anger," an insider says.

Over the years, Prince Harry's close relationship with Queen Elizabeth has been front and center on many occasions, from the time he broke into a grin while she reviewed his graduating class at Sandhurst in 2006 to the hilarious video of the two of them playfully taunting President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama about the Invictus Games. Harry's relationship with his grandfather, Prince Philip, has always been a strong one, but a royal insider has revealed that the Duke of Edinburgh has gone from "furious to deeply saddened" since Harry and Meghan Markle announced they would officially depart royal life.

According to the insider, when Philip was first told the news, he was "seething with anger" asking, "Bloody h***, what do they think they're doing?" He was so incensed while the "Sussex Summit" was taking place at Balmoral that he insisted on being driven off the estate while the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William, and Harry were left to negotiate Megxit.

Now 98, Philip has been largely absent from the public eye and has lived in a cottage on the Sandringham estate since his retirement from public life in 2017. According to insiders, he spends his time reading, painting, writing, and seeing friends. He finally gave up driving last February after his headline-making accident involving his Range Rover and a passing motorist in Norfolk. He was uninjured even though his car overturned. He was not charged in connection with the crash.

Philip made his last solo appearance in public in Aug. 2017, when he paid tribute to a group of Royal Marines. He did, however, resurface in 2018 at Harry and Meghan's wedding.

"He was very insistent on walking in on his own, which he did, looking happy and proud for his grandson," said my source.

The insider continued, "The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Harry have always been quite close. The Duke was very much the competitive sportsman in his day and has a fierce devotion to the military. Duke saw a lot of himself as a young man in Harry and their connection through their military service is very special to him."

Philip served in World War II as an aide-de-camp for Lord Mountbatten and was later appointed to the highest ranks in the British military, including Marshal of the Royal Air Force. When he retired from public life, he had been Captain General of the Royal Marines for 65 years. He was succeeded by Harry, who held the post for less than two years. Harry was also Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Navy, and Honorary Air Commandant of Royal Air Force Honington. One of the conditions of Harry's release from his official duties was to relinquish all of these appointments.

"That is a cause of great sadness to both the Duke and Prince Harry," said my source. "The separation from duty cuts very deep on both sides."

Ironically, in 2018, I reported that one of Harry's greatest worries about his wedding was that his grandfather would miss it due to ill-health and a hip operation performed only a few months before the nuptials. According to several royal insiders, Harry had grown increasingly concerned about the health of his grandfather. "Harry did not want to risk not having his grandfather there to see him get married," one royal source told me at the time.

Many in the British media questioned Harry's decision not to return to the U.K. from Canada in Dec. 2019 when the Duke was hospitalized. "It seemed so out of character for Harry, but now we know there was a lot going on for the family during that time," my source said. "The good news is the Duke came through it all."

Days before Harry and Meghan completed their last engagements as senior royals, Harry had a private four-hour lunch with the Queen where insiders told me he reassured his grandmother that he wanted "to make her proud" in his new life. It is not known if Harry spent any time with his grandfather during the visit.

"I surely hope he did," said my source. "There has been so much rancor and sadness throughout this entire episode and it has taken its toll on everyone. The Duke is 98, the Queen is 93. Neither has seen their youngest great-grandchild [Harry and Meghan's son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor] since last fall. This has rocked them both because of their love of Harry and strong desire for him to remain part of the family here in Britain. They have always been there for Harry, so this just really hurts."

It was the Duke who came to the rescue at Princess Diana's funeral when her grieving young sons were unsure if they could walk behind their mother's coffin. "If I walk, will you walk with me?" the Duke reportedly asked William and Harry. Both boys famously accompanied their grandfather, father, and uncle—Diana's brother, Charles Spencer—on the long walk to Westminster Abbey in the funeral procession.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.


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