8 January will mark the first anniversary of Harry and Meghan’s shock decision to step down as senior royals.
They haven’t been to Britain since they completed their final engagements in their previous roles last spring, at the height of the pandemic, and moved to the US, but they are reportedly expected to make a trip back when the coronavirus-related travel restrictions no longer apply.
However, even when the Sussexes are able to travel back across the Atlantic, one royal expert believes that the family reunion might not exactly live up to anyone's expectations.
In particular, Phil Dampier, author of Royally Suited: Harry and Meghan In Their Own Words, explained to the Express that the Fab Four’s meet-up, featuring two princes and their wives, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, might turn out “very awkward”.
"From what I am told the rift is not a lot better at the moment—they are not talking a lot", he elaborated, admitting, though, that publicly the brothers are still likely to put their long-reported feud behind them for at least one big event tentatively scheduled for 2021 – the unveiling ceremony of a statue in memory of their late mother, Princess Diana, as well as a couple of family celebrations like the Queen's annual birthday celebration and Prince Philip's 100th birthday.
While the Queen said in early 2020 that she supports her grandson’s decision to “carve out a new progressive role”, royal sources suggested at the time to The Sun that it was viewed as a “declaration of war”.
“The statement was not cleared with anyone. It breaks all protocol. This is a declaration of war on the family”, one person was quoted by the British tabloid as saying, and pointing out that there was “fury over how they’ve done this without any thought for the implications for the institution”.
Meghan and Harry appear to be making a very good go of their attempt to be independent, signing a lucrative deal with Netflix thought to be worth around $100-150 million, as well as starting their long-planned set of podcasts on socially and politically loaded topics on Spotify. The Sussexes have also finally launched their health and wellbeing non-profit called Archewell, with the name corresponding to that of their one-year-old British-born son Archie.
On top of this, they bought a huge mansion in Santa Barbara as well as paid off the 2.4 million pounds ($3.1 million) they owed for the renovations at Frogmore Cottage in Britain, the keys to which they handed over to Harry’s cousin Princess Eugenie, who is currently expecting a baby. She briefly stayed at Frogmore and then recently moved back to Kensington together with her husband Jack Brooksbank for an unspecified reason.