Queen Elizabeth II is believed to have had a four-hour long face-to-face conversation with her grandson Prince Harry at Windsor Castle on Sunday, ahead of his and Meghan Markle’s royal departure on 31 March, writes The Sun.
At the conclusion of the private chat, carried out supposedly at the request of Harry - the first since the shock announcement back in January that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex intend to step away from royal duties - the 93-year-old Queen reportedly said: “You are much loved and will always be welcomed back.”
Prince Harry, 35, is thought to have walked to the castle at around 1pm on Sunday from his Frogmore Cottage residence in Windsor Home Park to discuss his future plans with his grandmother over a light lunch and tea.
A source was quoted as saying that the Prince was seen leaving “deep in thought”.
“The Queen had a lot to talk to Harry about and this was the ideal time for them to both say their piece. When Harry and Meghan announced they wanted to quit it all happened very quickly and it was very stressful for all concerned. Sunday was the first time the Queen has had the chance to talk to Harry on his own and really find out what his plans are. It was a much more relaxed environment and they were both able to speak their mind,” the royal source is cited by the outlet as saying.
The rift-mending talks came amidst reports that the Queen is “very sad” she had little opportunity to see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son Archie.
“It’s fair to say she is very upset about him and Meghan leaving and she would love to see more of Archie, as would Prince Charles and the rest of the family. But she accepts at the moment that his mind is made up and he intends to live in North America,” says the source.
During the face-to-face, the Queen is believed to have made it clear that the current arrangement with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex presupposes they refrain from exploit their royal status for financial gain.
Elaborating on the Queen’s decision to ban Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from using "Sussex Royal" and the looming issue of security for the couple who intend to split their time between the UK and North America, the source was quoted as saying:
“The Queen is protecting the institution and she is also aware of the cost of security. That is something that still needs to be resolved. But Harry is also a much-loved grandson who she has always doted on. She made it very clear to him that he and Meghan are always able to come back if they change their minds and she will welcome them with open arms.”
Suggesting that the private conversation between the Queen and Prince Harry might go a long way towards “clearing the air” in the wake of the Megxit scandal, the source added:
“But she wanted to make certain Harry knew there were limits and the whole set-up is subject to a review after 12 months.”
Netizens were quick to share their sentiments in the wake of reports that the Queen had held “peace talks” with Prince Harry to tell him he would “always be welcomed back”, as some wondered if the invitation extended to Meghan Markle.
When Meghan dumps him when he’s no longer of use to her?— Scott Gretton (@ScottGretton) March 3, 2020
He will be back eventually but not with Megan I do think— Joe Tulip (@joetulip) March 3, 2020
What about his wife?— bluebelle3295 (@JThinks1) March 3, 2020
Just leave the vulture at home— Nikos 🇨🇾🇬🇷🇬🇧Ⓥ (@RefugeeNik) March 3, 2020
Other fans on social media vented their sadness over Megxit and ensuing developments within the royal family.
What can she say, no matter what he’s done or being done to him she loves him, she’s very old and her heart loves him. She raised him!— Wiley Greenbaum (@WileyGreenbaum) March 3, 2020
The Queen loves Harry very much.— Merry Flo (@Flo90335360) March 3, 2020
What a right old mess Harry has made of his relationships within his home country.
well thats what good grandmas do!— Rosina 🇬🇧 I stand with Priti 🇬🇧 (@RosinaFrance) March 3, 2020
I wonder if she speaks for all the RF after his recent behaviour?🤔— Ozzgal😊🐨🦘🦜🇦🇺 (@Ozzgal1) March 3, 2020
Many fans were skeptical.
I dont see the royals fully accepting meghan back...most of the royals never forgave fergie for how she behaved.fergie at lrast allowed the royals to see her and andy kids. Meghan has behaved much worse than fergie,attacked the royals in media.— iamladia (@IAmLaDia) March 3, 2020
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced in January that they intended to would step back from their position as senior royals, intending to split their time between the UK and North America while working to become financially independent.
Under an arrangement agreed with the Queen, the couple will no longer carry out official duties on her behalf, will continue to use the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex – but not the word “royal” – in their personal branding. The arrangement is up for review in 12 months.