Prince Harry is flying back home to attend his grandfather’s funeral next weekend, a move that immediately raised speculation that it could serve as the launching pad for a reconciliation in the Royal Family. Harry will travel alone to Prince Philip’s funeral as his wife Meghan will be staying in Southern California. Meghan is pregnant with the couple’s second child due in the summer and her doctor advised her not to travel.
The speculation about what Harry’s visit could mean for the family comes as Buckingham Palace unveiled details of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, which will be a decidedly low-key affair as far as royal events are concerned without any access for the public. Philip had said he didn’t want a big funeral but initial plans for public processions were nixed to avoid large gatherings of people that would violate public health guidelines. The funeral will take place entirely in Windsor Castle grounds and will include a short eight-minute ceremonial procession. The number of mourners will be limited to 30 as officials from the government and the Royal Family are urging people to watch it from home. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he won’t be attending because he doesn’t want to take a seat that could be filled by a member of Philip’s family.
As the Royal Family released details of the funeral, Prince Charles paid tribute to his father, saying he and his family already missed him “enormously.” Philip added his “dear papa” was a “very special person” who “above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him.” The Royal Family expressed hope that the next week until the funeral can be used as an opportunity to celebrate Philip’s “remarkable life,” a spokesman said. The country will continue to be in national mourning until the day of the funeral. There will be a national minute of silence at the start of the funeral next Saturday.
Although authorities have called on the British public to stay at home, many have gone against those explicit wishes and are gathering at royal palaces to mourn Philip. The Royal Family had asked people on Friday to consider donating to charity instead of buying flowers but many still laid bouquets at the gates of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Caste on Saturday.