News of Queen Elizabeth II’s ill health prompted members of the royal family to rush to the Scottish Highlands to be at her side at Balmoral Castle.
In addition to the “senior royals,” including the Queen’s eldest son and heirs to the throne Prince Charles and Prince William, Prince Harry also flew to Scotland to be with his grandmother. However, a statement from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said that Meghan Markle would be staying behind in London, though she might travel to Balmoral later.
Prince Harry’s attendance at his grandmother’s side, along with his brother and father comes amid a very public falling out between Harry and Meghan and the rest of the royal family. Just one week ago, New York magazine’s The Cut published a controversial interview with Meghan, in which she continued to speak critically about her time as a working royal. She also discussed how “toxic tabloid culture” strained the relationship between Prince Harry and his father, Prince Charles.
Harry and Meghan, who live in California, were already in the U.K. at the time of the announcement about the Queen’s health for a European trip to attend charity events that are “close to their hearts.” The couple had plans to make stops in Manchester, Dusseldorf and London but, according to U.K.’s Daily Express, they did not originally have plans to visit the Queen during their trip.
They had been due to appear at the WellChild Awards in London on Thursday. While Meghan is staying in London, she will not be attending the awards, the couple said. The last time Harry and Meghan were in the country was for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June. Their return to the U.K. comes days after the 25th anniversary of the death of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana.
On Thursday, Buckingham Palace issued a rare statement on the Queen’s health saying that her doctors “are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision.”
The Queen, 96, was sick with COVID-19 in February and has had to forgo several significant public appearances since then due to mobility issues and health concerns, including opening Parliament in May and the Platinum Jubilee celebration marking her 70th anniversary as the country’s monarch in June. Other confirmed members of the royal family have either already joined the Queen or plan to, including Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the rest of the Queen’s four children: Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward.
William’s wife, Kate Middleton, did not travel to Scotland and stayed behind at their home in Windsor, England—possibly to look after their three children.
Balmoral Castle is the royal family’s Scottish home in Aberdeenshire where the Queen typically stays from August through October. The Queen’s mobility issues prompted Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Lizz Truss both to travel to Balmoral. Over the Queen’s 70-year reign, she’s appointed each new Prime Minister at Buckingham Palace in London, until now. Johnson formally resigned as Prime Minister during an audience with the Queen on Tuesday and shortly after the Queen fulfilled the ceremonial transfer of power by appointing Lizz Truss as the new British prime minister.
More than two years have passed since Harry and Meghan decided to take a step back from being involved in the royal family. They resigned from all their royal duties permanently in an effort to avoid the intense media scrutiny and pressure that they said they had faced. Since the couple decided to resign and move to California, they have maintained a relationship with the Queen and Harry reportedly keeps the Queen updated about their lives and their children.
“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” the couple said in Jan. 2020.