Prince Philip's ex-bodyguard slams Harry's memorial snub
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The Royal Family congregated at Westminster Abbey to honour the life of Prince Philip this week. The event was one of the largest gatherings of the extended Royal Family in many months. Her Majesty the Queen celebrated her late husband alongside her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Among the attendees were Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.
The event was also attended by the Duke of Edinburgh’s extended family, including cousins from the Mountbatten side as well as some European royals.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, who reside in California, were not present at the ceremony, however.
The Duke’s absence from Philip’s memorial has been widely criticised and branded “disrespectful”.
But royal expert Stewart Pearce believes that Harry was “actually really down” about not attending service.
Mr Pearce told the Royally Us podcast last week: “I believe it’s [Harry’s absence] largely to do with the security officials, and that Harry is actually really down about not being able to attend this remarkable day in celebration of his grandfather, for whom he has tremendous love.”
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.
In a January statement, Harry’s team noted: “While his role within the Institution has changed, his profile as a member of the Royal Family has not. Nor has the threat to him and his family.”
It went on to explain that in the US, Harry and his family are able to self-fund their own security — but “that security cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the UK.”
It added: “In absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return home.”
The Duke and Duchess live in the exclusive neighbourhood of Montecito, California, with their two children – Archie Harrison, two, and Lilibet Diana, who was born in June last year.
Meghan and Harry have not returned to the UK together since their exit in January 2020.
The Duke last returned for the unveiling of a statue of his mother at Kensington Palace in July last year.
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He had previously visited for the funeral of Prince Philip in April 2021, and was said to have had a close relationship with his grandfather.
It’s been reported that Philip acted as a guide for the prince, who was himself once known for his rebellious behaviour.
A royal source close to the Duke told the Daily Mail in 2008: “He [Harry] and his grandfather are very close and Harry is determined that Prince Philip knows how seriously he takes his role.”
They added: “Philip sees a lot of himself in Harry.
“He loves his get-up-and-go, his love of the Army and his sense of humour.
“He wants to know that Harry is going to be a dutiful Prince, not a wayward one.”
In a statement ahead of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, Harry said: “He [Philip] will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the monarch, a decorated serviceman, a prince and a duke.
“But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ‘til the end.”
Upon confirmation that the Duke would not be in attendance, his spokesperson earlier this month said that Harry hoped to see his grandmother, the Queen, soon.
Her Majesty is yet to meet Lilibet despite reportedly being desperate for an introduction.
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