The final moments. Prince Harry opened up about the death of his beloved grandmother Queen Elizabeth II — and his race to visit her bedside before her passing.
The Duke of Sussex, 38, wrote in his Spare memoir, which Us Weekly exclusively obtained before its Tuesday, January 10, publication date, that father King Charles III called him to explain that “Granny’s” health had “taken a turn.” Her Majesty, who was 96 at the time of her death, had been staying at Balmoral Estate in Scotland with daughter Princess Anne. Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Prince William and Harry all quickly raced to say goodbye. (Harry and wife Meghan Markle had traveled to the U.K. earlier that week to attend the WellChild Awards in London.)
“[Charles] said I was welcome at Balmoral, but he didn’t want … her,” the Invictus Games cofounder claimed in his memoir, referring to his 74-year-old father and the 41-year-old Suits alum. “He started to lay out his reason, which was nonsensical, and disrespectful, and I wasn’t having it. [I replied,] ’Don’t ever speak about my wife that way.’”
The king — who ascended the throne following Elizabeth’s death — explained that “no other wives” were invited to Balmoral, including Princess Kate and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Harry, for his part, booked a private plane for himself out of Luton, England. By the time he landed, Meghan urged him to call her. He then immediately went to the BBC website, which had reported the queen’s death via a statement from Buckingham Palace.
“I put on my black tie, walked off the plane into a thick mist, sped in a borrowed car to Balmoral,” Harry recalled in Spare, before noting that his aunt Anne, 72, was there to greet him. “She asked if I wanted to see Granny. [I answered,] ‘Yes, I do.’”
The BetterUp CIO further remarked that his grandmother’s bedroom seemed “unfamiliar” as he walked inside to find her resting body. “It was difficult, but I kept on thinking how I’d regretted not seeing my mother at the end,” he wrote, referring to Princess Diana’s 1997 death.
Shortly after the palace announced that the queen had died, Harry released a poignant statement about her “everlasting legacy.”
“In celebrating the life of my grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen — and in mourning her loss — we are all reminded of the guiding compass she was to so many in her commitment to service and duty,” the California resident — who shares son Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 19 months, with Meghan — wrote in a September 12, 2022, statement. “She was globally admired and respected. Her unwavering grace and dignity remained true throughout her life.
He added at the time: “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. 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.”
As the official mourning period for the late monarch began, Harry traveled back to London and reunited with his wife. The twosome, who wed in 2018, stayed in town to attend her state funeral and committal service.
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Scroll below for more of Harry’s thoughts about the queen’s death and memorial service: