Prince Harry has issued a statement “celebrating the life” of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, praising her “infectious smile,” and said he would “honor” his father, the king.
Harry, who was deeply beloved by his grandmother despite her dismay at the feud that has roiled the family for the past two years and more, also appeared to refer to the queen’s meeting with his daughter, Lilibet, in June of this year, on the eve of the platinum jubilee. The meeting became controversial after it emerged that the queen banned Harry and Meghan from taking photos of the meeting, apparently over fears the photos would be circulated by the couple.
He said; “Granny, while this final parting brings us great sadness, I am forever grateful for all of our first meetings—from my earliest childhood memories with you, to meeting you for the first time as my Commander-in-Chief, to the first moment you met my darling wife and hugged your beloved great-grandchildren.”
Prince William issued a tribute over the weekend in which he referred to Elizabeth as “Grannie.”
In his statement, Harry spoke of the queen’s “unwavering grace and dignity” that “remained true throughout her life” and would be her “everlasting legacy.”
Harry said: “I cherish these times shared with you, and the many other special moments in between. You are already sorely missed, not just by us, but by the world over. And as it comes to first meetings, we now honor my father in his new role as King Charles III.
“Thank you for your commitment to service. Thank you for your sound advice. Thank you for your infectious smile. We, too, smile knowing that you and grandpa are reunited now, and both together in peace.”
The statement came as reports suggested Harry and Meghan will stay in Britain until the end of the official royal mourning period, which concludes one week after the queen’s funeral on Sept. 19. They are expected to be joined by their children, Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1. The children are understood to be in California with Meghan’s mother, Doria.
Harry’s gesture of support to Charles will be welcome, and appears to reciprocate a tribute paid to Harry and Meghan by Charles in his inaugural address to the nation.
In his first speech as king, Charles said: “I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.”
The relationship between Harry and his family has been enormously strained since the couple left the royal family. On the day of the queen’s death, Harry traveled alone to Scotland and did not see his father or brother at Balmoral, eating dinner apart from them.
Shortly after Harry issued his statement, King Charles addressed parliament, with his wife, Queen Camilla, by his side.
He said: “As I stand before you today, I cannot help but feel the weight of history which surrounds us,” and added, “As Shakespeare said of the earlier Queen Elizabeth, ‘She was “a pattern to all princes living.’”