Reunited in grief, it was the moment when estranged brothers William and Harry put their differences aside in honor of their beloved “grandma”.
Joining their wives Kate and Meghan, the two princes made their first appearance together since interviewing Oprah Winfrey two years ago on a remarkable royal walkabout that should pave the way for reconciliation.
But with the specter of Prince Harry’s all-encompassing memoir hanging like a sword of Damocles over the House of Windsor, a question mark remains as to whether this is just a temporary truce or the start of a more permanent amnesty.
Because while some have taken the scenes in Windsor’s Long Walk on Saturday night as a sign of rekindled relationships between the royal brothers, full rapprochement seems a long way off. “Temporary” is the phrase circulating behind the palace walls to describe the extraordinary gesture made by William, who is now the Prince of Wales, to Harry and Meghan.
As a senior source confirmed: “The Prince of Wales felt it was an important show of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family.”
The Olive Branch was designed to turn the narrative from a royal rift into a tale of a family united by a grieving nation.
Dismayed by some of the reporting, which focused on Harry and Meghan’s movements on the day of Queen Elizabeth’s death, rather than the extent of her death, William, 40, decided to get in touch with his brother and sister-in-law.
“Both he and the Princess of Wales felt that the focus should be solely on this time of deep sorrow and nothing else,” a source said. “That the focus should only be on his late grandmother.”
Agreeing that family should come first, Harry decided to swallow his pride and allow his older brother to take the lead.
Doubts have been cast over reports that King Charles intervened to prevent Meghan from boarding the Cessna Harry had chartered from Luton Airport on Thursday to fly him to Aberdeen. The truth, according to a palace source, is that “Harry wasn’t even called” when William boarded his own private jet to Scotland with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward and his wife Sophie.
For the heir to the throne had first been summoned by his father in his constitutional capacity as Councilor of State.
Although the family knew Queen Elizabeth was seriously ill when she took off from RAF Northolt on Thursday midday, they apparently did not expect her to get worse so quickly. The then Prince of Wales even thought he and his elder son could host the virtual Privy Council meeting, which she had postponed the day before.
It was only after Buckingham Palace announced that “concerned” doctors had placed the Queen under medical supervision did Harry storm into Balmoral.
Meghan stayed behind after it emerged Kate would not be accompanying William, preferring instead to break the news of “Gan Gan”‘s death to Prince George, 9, Prince Charlotte, 7, and four-year-old Prince Louis on the first day at Lambbrook School.
A suggestion widely circulated on Twitter that William took action after he found out Harry and Meghan were planning to stage their own Windsor walkthrough and asked a US television network to film it is also misguided. William simply extended the 11th hour invitation to form a unified front – and Harry accepted in the same spirit.
The move came as a complete surprise to the Sussexes, who have been staying at Frogmore Cottage for some time, not least as there had been little interaction with William and Kate up to that moment, despite living just 400 meters away at Adelaide Cottage.
Although Harry spent Thursday night in Balmoral, he was the first to leave the next morning, while his older brother didn’t leave until midday.
The new Prince and Princess of Wales were due to arrive in Windsor at 4.30pm on Saturday to see the floral tributes and meet the crowd, but eventually they showed up along with the Sussexes at 5.15pm.
The 45-minute delay came because Harry and Meghan had to change into mourning clothes quickly.
It was agreed that the couples would briefly inspect the floral tributes together before immediately splitting up to greet the well-wishers on either side of the Long Walk. The carefully planned choreography had the benefit of keeping distance between Kate and Meghan – who have hardly spoken to each other since Oprah – and keeping the crowd happy, not least after they waited hours to pay their respects.
But anyone who thinks the quartet was once known as the “Fab Four” and then retired for a cozy cup of tea could overinterpret the gesture.
There is a clear sense that while hostilities could be suspended until the late Queen is finally buried in King George VI’s memorial chapel at Windsor Castle next Monday, there are significant concerns about Harry’s autobiography, which is currently due for publication ahead of Christmas . as well as Meghan’s statement in a recent interview that she is “able to say [my] own story”.
As a source explained, “It’s pretty hard to spend too much time with someone who you know is in the process of publishing a full-scale book about you.” Another added, “The overall reaction to the behavior of Harry and Meghan was incredulous.”
The manuscript for the “definitive account” of Harry’s “Experiences, Adventures, Losses and Life Lessons” was reportedly completed and signed off by attorneys after being submitted by his ghostwriter, JR Moehringer.
It was supposed to be out in the fall but was delayed to land in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas gift markets. It remains to be seen whether the release will take place as planned.
Significant changes now need to be made to reflect recent events.
Harry, 37, who will donate the proceeds to charity, said the book was “a first-hand account of my life that is accurate and absolutely truthful”.
Finding common ground will clearly be a key theme this week – which could prove crucial when it comes to bridging the royal divide that has been building since the beginning of the “Megxit” saga in March 2020.
By expressing his love for Harry and Meghan in his first speech from the King, the new monarch made it clear that he does not want the start of his reign to be plagued by the problems that plagued the end of the Elizabethan era.
As they prepare to bury their beloved grandmother, now may be the time when William and Harry decide life is too short to walk such different paths.
Telegraph Media Group Limited 
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/britain/a-truce-but-little-reconciliation-at-queens-funeral-as-the-royal-family-braces-for-prince-harrys-tell-all-memoir-41980925.html A truce but little reconciliation at the Queen’s funeral as the royal family prepares for Prince Harry’s all-encompassing memoir