How William Kept Harry From Queen Elizabeth's Side Before Her Death, New Book Reveals
Harry has said he found out about his grandmother's death from a news report.
When Queen Elizabeth II died on Sept. 8, 2022, her grandson Prince Harry had already moved to the United States with his wife, Meghan Markle, and started a new life with their children after stepping down as a senior member of the British royal family in January 2020. However, Harry and Markle were in the U.K. when the queen died, which should have made it easier for them to be with her when the time came. According to a new book about the royal family, it actually didn't help. Harry has previously claimed that he learned his grandmother had died from a news report, and the book claims that Harry's brother, Prince William, played a role in keeping Harry from the queen's side as she passed away.
People published an excerpt of Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy's Fight for Survival by Omid Scobie. Scobie writes that as Harry was trying to figure out how to get to Scotland, William was ignoring the messages he sent him.
According to the book, when the queen was on her deathbed, Charles called Harry and told his son to make his way to Scotland quickly and that he and Camilla were on their way. "William, whom Charles had just spoken to, was supposedly working on arranging travel," Scobie writes. "Harry sent a text message to his brother asking how he and Kate [Middleton] planned to get to Scotland and whether they could travel together. No response."
Middleton did not end up going to Scotland. According to Scobie, she chose to stay behind with her children. Charles reportedly told Harry to come without Meghan, because Kate wasn't going, either. "They just didn't want Meghan there," a former palace aide claimed.
William was reportedly going to head to Scotland on a flight with Prince Edward, his wife Sophie, and Prince Andrew.
"Harry sent another text to his brother. Nothing. Though there were available seats on William's chartered Dassault Falcon private jet, which was leaving in less than an hour, Harry was left to fend for himself," the book reads. "William ignored him," a family source told Scobie. "He clearly didn't want to see his brother."
The book reports that tickets to Aberdeenshire, Scotland were selling out quickly due to the media trying to get to the location. So, Harry ended up chartering a plane for $37,000.
"When William and the others landed at 3:50 p.m. to discover the news that the Queen had passed away at 3:10 p.m., Harry still had no idea what was going on when his own plane finally took off at 5:35 p.m," the book claims. "And, as his phone service cut out after takeoff, he remained in the dark for the duration of his 70-minute flight." On the ground, Harry's team reportedly fought for the news of the queen's death to not be announced publicly until Harry was told, but Buckingham Palace released the information before Harry was told privately. He reportedly found out via a BBC News alert.
"Harry was crushed," a friend of Harry's told Scobie. "His relationship with the Queen was everything to him. She would have wanted him to know before it went out to the world. They could have waited just a little longer, it would have been nothing in the grand scheme of things, but no one respected that at all."
Harry shared a similar account in his memoir, Spare. "When the plane started to descend I saw that my phone lit up. It was a message from Meg: 'Call me when you get this,'" Harry wrote (via BBC). "I looked at the BBC website. My grandmother had died. My father was King."
Soon after Elizabeth died, The Telegraph reported that Harry was told about his grandmother's passing only five minutes before the rest of the world. A spokesperson for Charles then said, as reported by the Daily Mail, "The public was only informed after every family member had been informed."
In his book, Scobie writes, "Palace 'sources' later briefed certain papers that Charles had personally shared the news with his younger son, but this was just a move to save face." The book goes on to say of Harry's experience, "He was glad to have had a private moment to say goodbye to his grandmother, but there was no point in sticking around."
Reportedly, William, Charles, and Camilla had already left Balmoral Castle for another nearby royal residence once Harry arrived. Scobie continues, "With no offer to return with William and the others in the morning (all of his texts, including a thoughtful message about the loss of their grandmother, continued to be ignored), Harry booked his own British Airways ticket on the first available departing flight."
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