As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex begin their UK trip, it has been reported that the Queen does not want to be “on tenterhooks” all the time while waiting for the “next nuclear bomb” to drop.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are back on British soil this week for the first time since the monarch’s platinum jubilee celebrations in June.
The couple will appear at events in London and Manchester, as well as jetting off to Germany to mark the one-year countdown to the Invictus Games.
According to reports, the pair touched down in the UK on Saturday on a commercial flight rather than a private jet, but a spokeswoman for the couple declined to confirm their arrival.
The trip comes just days after Meghan’s wide-ranging interview with The Cut in which she said it takes “a lot of effort” to forgive and hinted that she can “say anything”.
In the interview, running to more than 6,000 words, Meghan said that “just by existing” she and Harry were “upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy” before they stepped down as senior working royals.
An article by Sunday Times royal editor Roya Nikkhah includes a quote from a royal source which says it is hard to see that what Harry and Meghan are doing “would equate to the values of the Queen, who has never encouraged people to discuss deeply personal family relationships in public”.
When stepping away from their roles as senior royals, Harry and Meghan promised that “everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty”.
The newspaper quoted a source who is said to know the Queen well as saying: “She doesn’t want to be on tenterhooks all the time, waiting to see what the next nuclear bomb will be – that will take its toll.”
Meanwhile, a friend of the Prince of Wales is quoted as saying that Charles is “completely bewildered by why his son, whom he loves deeply, feels this is the way to go about managing family relationships”.
A royal source, who was involved in the negotiations around Harry and Meghan’s departure, told the paper the couple’s “star power” requires an association with the royal family “and the fuel on those flames is the family discord”.
Another palace source told the newspaper: “Ultimately, they are bashing the institution that has put them in the position they’re in, the longevity of that strategy is not sustainable.”
Harry and Meghan have taken part in a number of interviews since their departure from royal life, including a controversial sit-down with Oprah Winfrey in 2021.
They accused the royal family of racism, claiming an unnamed royal made a racist remark about Archie before he was born, and that the institution failed to help a suicidal Meghan.
The Duchess of Cambridge was publicly singled out by Meghan for allegedly making her cry in the run-up to the wedding.
Whilst in The Hague for the Invictus Games earlier this year, Harry did an interview with NBC’s Today show in which he appeared to issue a veiled warning to those closest to the Queen, saying he wanted to make sure his grandmother was “protected” and had “the right people around her”.
He did not elaborate on whether he was referring to royal aides or members of his family, but his comments are likely to have deepened the rift with his father and his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, as well as perplexing palace officials.
During The Cut interview, Meghan said she was told there was the same jubilation in South Africa when she married Harry as there was when Nelson Mandela was freed from prison.
However, her anecdote has been dismissed by the grandson of the South African hero. Zwelivelile Mandela told the MailOnline on Wednesday (31 August) that a royal wedding could “never be compared” to Mandela’s release in 1990.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
Harry and Meghan will head to Manchester on Monday for the One Young World summit, an event which brings together young leaders from more than 190 countries.
The couple will then head to Germany for the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 One Year to Go event which is taking place on Tuesday, before returning to the UK for the WellChild Awards in London where Harry will deliver a speech on Thursday.
It is not known whether Harry and Meghan will visit the Queen in Balmoral during their trip.
The Independent has contacted the Sussexes’ representative for comment.