NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Members of the British royal family are allegedly disappointed that Prince Harry won’t attend the Service of Thanksgiving honoring his late grandfather, Prince Philip.
Earlier this month, a spokesperson for the Duke of Sussex confirmed to Fox News Digital that the 37-year-old will not travel to London for the March 29 service but hopes to visit his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, as soon as possible. Harry currently resides in California with his wife, Meghan Markle, and their two children.
“I think everyone was rather surprised that he wouldn’t be coming to the Thanksgiving Service because he was very close to the Duke of Edinburgh,” True Royalty TV co-founder Nick Bullen told Fox News Digital. “He obviously came back for the funeral, so his decision was surprising to people. There doesn’t seem to be much reason as to why he wouldn’t come.”
Bullen is an award-winning documentarian who has been making programs about the British royal family for 20 years and has worked closely with Harry’s father, Prince Charles, for about a decade. While he founded his production company Spun Gold in 2004, Bullen has been producing royal content even before that.
PRINCESS EUGENIE HAS REMAINED CLOSE WITH PRINCE HARRY AMID PRINCE ANDREW’S SEX ABUSE LAWSUIT: ROYAL EXPERT
He believed Harry’s attendance at the service would have further improved his relationship with the royal family. Reports of an alleged rift have emerged since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex gave a bombshell interview to Oprah Winfrey last year that was viewed by nearly 50 million globally.
“I’m told there has been some reconciliation,” Bullen explained. “I understand that [Prince] William and [his brother] Harry are speaking again. I understand that there are conversations between Harry and his father. Both the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge are very keen to re-establish communication and rebuild the family relationship.”
“And bear in mind, the Prince of Wales still hasn’t seen his granddaughter,” Bullen continued. “He would very much like to meet her. At this point, the royal family does want to keep the lines of communication open. As the queen said herself, Harry and Meghan are very important and much loved members of the family. I have been told by a number of people that they’ve started talking again.”
Philip passed away in April 2021 at age 99. His funeral had a 30-person limit due to coronavirus restrictions. Markle, 40, and the couple’s two children did not make the trip. For this year’s service, most members of the royal family are expected to attend. Reports even emerged that Prince Andrew, whose sex abuse lawsuit was formally dismissed this month, will make an appearance. In addition, numerous representatives from Philip’s charities and patronages will attend.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER
Harry has launched a legal challenge against the U.K. government’s refusal to let him personally pay for police protection when he comes to Britain. Last month, Harry’s legal team told a court hearing that the royal is unwilling to bring his children to his homeland because it is not safe to do so.
While senior members of Britain’s royal family are given taxpayer-funded police protection, Harry lost that when he and Markle stepped down as working royals and moved to the United States. The couple said their decision was due to what they described as unbearable intrusions and racists attitudes of the British media.
Harry wants to be able to pay for his protection, saying his private security team in the U.S. doesn’t have adequate jurisdiction abroad or access to U.K. intelligence information.
Bullen argued that Harry should have found a way to travel across the pond and support his grandmother, 95, who recently recovered from the coronavirus. The queen was married to Philip for 73 years at the time of the duke’s death and had described him as “my strength and stay.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“I think a lot of people just don’t understand Harry’s thinking on this,” said Bullen. “At a very simple level – take away all the royal trappings – he should be attending the Thanksgiving Service of his grandfather. He should be supporting his grandmother, regardless of the fact that she is queen. On a simple family level, he should be there. And I think that’s how most people [in the U.K.] feel right now. He could come on his own easily. Even Meghan and the kids can remain safely in California. He should be there.”
“I know Prince Harry has raised concerns regarding police protection,” Bullen shared. “But again, I think people find that hard to follow because if he were to come over, he would be staying in one of the royal households that are very heavily guarded. He would be attending a service that would also be heavily guarded. He would be flying in, presumably, on a first-class flight with British Airways and be swept through at Heathrow.”
Since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex lost their public-funded protection in the U.K., they have privately paid for their own security in the U.S. According to reports, the couple was told that they could not pay for U.K. police protection out of their own pockets. Therefore, if they ever return to the U.K., they will not be entitled to state-funded protection, as well as the deep level of security intelligence that comes with it to ensure their safety.
Still, Bullen said Harry should find a way to see his family, especially for significant occasions, such as the service.
MEGHAN MARKLE’S SPOTIFY PODCAST ‘ARCHETYPES’ TO EXAMINE ‘LABELS THAT TRY TO HOLD WOMEN BACK’
“His cousins don’t have police protection and they travel with ease,” said Bullen. “So people do struggle to understand where the security threat sits. And to be blunt, why should Harry have police protection paid for by the British people when he’s going to be in places that are heavily protected by police anyway?”
During a hearing at the High Court in London, Harry’s lawyer, Shaheed Fatima, said the prince “does not feel safe when he is in the U.K. given the security arrangements applied to him.”
“It goes without saying that he does want to come back to see family and friends and to continue to support the charities that are so close to his heart,” she said. “Most of all, this is and always will be, his home.”
A lawyer representing the British government, Robert Palmer, called Harry’s claim “unarguable and unmeritorious.”
QUEEN ELIZABETH II TALKS WITH JUSTIN TRUDEAU, FIRST IN-PERSON MEETING SINCE BATTLING COVID
Palmer said in a written submission that Harry’s offer to pay for police security was irrelevant because “personal protective security by the police is not available on a privately financed basis.”
Bullen remarked that the U.K. public has grown “tired” of news concerning the Sussexes. He pointed out that Harry’s recent promo for the Invictus Games gained little traction in his homeland.
“It didn’t get very much pickup in the U.K.,” said Bullen. “I think timing is everything. And all the news stories here in the U.K. are all about Ukraine right now. I’ve not heard many people talk about it. But I think the Sussexes’ timing on many things hasn’t been great over the last few years. I think there’s almost boredom and resignation around the Sussexes in the U.K. I just think people aren’t that interested in what they’re doing at the moment.”
Markle, a former American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married the British prince in May 2018 at Windsor Castle. The couple welcomed a son named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in 2019.
QUEEN ELIZABETH’S DECISION TO GIVE CAMILLA ‘QUEEN CONSORT’ TITLE WAS MADE FIVE YEARS AGO, ROYAL EXPERT CLAIMS
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departures from royal duties began in 2020. The family now resides in the coastal city of Montecito, California.
In the wake of quitting royal duties, they gave an explosive TV interview to Winfrey, 68, in which the couple described painful comments about how dark Archie’s skin might be before his birth. The duchess talked about the intense isolation she felt inside the royal family that led her to contemplate suicide.
Buckingham Palace said the allegations of racism made by the couple were “concerning” and would be addressed privately.
On June 4, the couple welcomed their second child, a daughter named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. The child is eighth in line to the British throne.
The name pays tribute to both Harry’s grandmother, whose family nickname is Lilibet, and his late mother, Princess Diana.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.