Tuesday marks a sad anniversary for Prince William and Prince Harry. It was 24 years ago, on Aug. 31, 1997, that the royal brothers, at the time just 15 and 12 respectively, lost their mother, Princess Diana.
They’ve both spoken openly about how that event impacted their mental health and shaped their lives, but in recent years, it seems other events have impacted their relationship with one another.
Now we’re learning that Harry viewed another tragic loss in the British royal family as an opportunity to possibly heal their rift and bring the family together.
Tuesday also marks the release of an updated version of “Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family,” the biography that covers the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex both in the royal family and away from it when they moved to California upon stepping back from their senior roles last year. In it, authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand claim that, following the death of Prince Philip in April, Harry bought a one-way ticket home.
According to the new epilogue, Harry wasn’t sure how his trip back to England for his grandfather’s funeral would go, so he left his return date open, hoping “that this trip might also present an opportunity to come together and talk without the filter of staff as go-betweens.”
That opportunity came when Harry and William left St. George’s Chapel and joined each other for the walk back to Windsor Castle.
“It was a far cry from the tense silence shared between the brothers at March 2020’s Commonwealth Service,” the authors write. “Though the brothers had shared brief exchanges over the past year, this was their first face-to-face conversation in almost 15 months. At least two further conversations took place between the brothers during Harry’s eight-day trip, according to sources.”
Those conversations were said to allow the pair to work together and continue their plans for their next reunion, the unveiling of a statue of their mother on July 1, in honor of what would have been her 60th birthday.
But the conversations between the princes weren’t the only important ones Harry had during his April visit to Windsor. According to the book, he also spent time with his newly widowed grandmother in the days after his grandfather’s funeral — a rare chance since his move to California and since the global pandemic necessitated so much isolation.
“To see each other after so long apart, the longest he hadn’t seen the Queen for, was very special,” a source told the authors. “Despite everything that has happened, he has the utmost love and respect for her. Her life of duty and service is one of the many ways in which she has inspired him to also serve.”
Prior to the initial publication of “Finding Freedom,” a statement was issued by Harry and his wife, Meghan, reading: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom.”