Harry and Meghan have ‘backed themselves into a corner’ with Philip memorial absence

Prince Harry: Philip memorial absence criticised by Ferrari

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A congregation of 1,800 joined together to honour the legacy of Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday. The event was one of the largest gatherings of the extended Royal Family in many months. Her Majesty the Queen was joined by other senior members of the Royal Family, including Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were not in attendance at the Service of Thanksgiving. 

Meghan and the couple’s children have not returned to the UK together since their exit from the Royal Family two years ago.

Meanwhile, Harry has only been back in the country twice ‒ once for his grandfather’s funeral a year ago and for the unveiling of Princess Diana’s statue in the Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace.

The couple live in Montecito, California with their two children – Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana.

Ahead of the service, there was speculation over whether the Duke of Sussex would return to celebrate his grandfather’s life and work. 

However, early last month, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess confirmed that Harry would not be attending the Service of Thanksgiving.

A reason was not given, but it is believed to be due to his security concerns and ongoing legal battle with the Home Office to be able to pay for Metropolitan Police protection while in the UK.

Speaking about their absence, Russell Myers, royal editor at the Daily Mirror, told Thursday’s episode of Pod Save The Queen that Harry and Meghan have “backed themselves into a corner”. 

He said: “They’ve backed themselves into a corner with this one, and I don’t think it’s one that they’re going to win, because the Home Office have already said that of course they would have provided the necessary protection, and this was absolutely case and point that they would have had security had they decided to come to a family event such as this.”

The Duke is currently embroiled in a legal battle over security to protect him and his family when they visit the UK.

Harry has stated that he is “unable to return home” until it is resolved.

The Home Office had previously ruled that Harry and his family were not allowed to pay the Metropolitan Police for security purposes while they were in the UK. 

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Mr Myers added: “I think that certainly Harry will have regretted not being there [Philip’s memorial service]. 

“I know that there was someone in the armed forces, who was speaking quite eloquently after the service and knew Harry, said that he thought he would regret it as well.

“He’s going to be at the Invictus Games at The Hague, just a short – less than an hour – flight from here in the Netherlands in a couple of weeks. 

“It just seems an absolutely bizarre decision to have made.”

Harry announced that he would be going to the Invictus Games just one day after he said he would not be attending Prince Philip’s memorial service.

In a short clip released online, the Duke of Sussex practised his Dutch and donned an orange t-shirt, hat and sunglasses as he confirmed that he would be making the journey to The Hague this month.

Harry founded the Invictus Games in 2014, an international sporting event in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans participate. 

The twice-postponed 2020 Games was moved to April 16-22 this year, due to the pandemic.

It remains unclear whether Harry will return to his home country for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.

This year, the Queen became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne.

An extended bank holiday weekend from June 2-5 will provide an opportunity for communities and people throughout the country to come together to celebrate the monarch’s  historic milestone.

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