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Royal commentators say King Charles extended an ‘olive branch’ to Harry and Meghan amid royal rift

The death of Queen Elizabeth could begin a new chapter for Prince Harry and Meghan in the royal family.

As King Charles gave his inaugural address to the United Kingdom on Friday following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, he surprised many by mentioning of his son and daughter-in-law, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex.

“I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas,” said the new monarch in his first public speech as King Charles III.

In light of the couple's decision to remove themselves from royal life and leave behind some duties to raise their growing family in California, the remark was seen as an "olive branch" from father to son, according to Wendy Naugle, editor-in-chief of People magazine.

Royal Ascot 2018 - Day 1
Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle, back, attend a 2018 event with Prince Charles in the United Kingdom. Samir Hussein / WireImage

"When King Charles mentioned Harry and Megan, in his speech, it really was monumental. It was a big olive branch," said Naugle during an appearance on Saturday TODAY on Sept. 9. "Obviously, there have been tensions between him and the couple. But I think this is a big step forward that we could be seeing in that relationship."

Since the death of Princess Diana, Prince Harry and his brother William lived side-by-side with their father, navigating the pains and joys of childhood without the presence of their dynamic mother, but the brothers seemed to grow apart as they grew up and established their own families.

The tension came to a head when Prince Harry and Meghan chose to relinquish their titles and step away from royal life after the birth of their son Archie. The couple moved to Montecito, CA, where they later welcomed daughter Lilibet, and have not spent much time in the U.K. since then.

In 2021, the couple sat down for a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, where they alleged that there was an "awkward" family conversation about "how dark (Archie's) skin might be." Prince Harry declined to accuse a specific family member of making the comments, and Prince William later denied that any family member was racist.

Prince Harry , Prince William
Prince Harry and Prince William stand together during the unveiling of a statue of their mother Princess Diana on what woud have been her 60th birthday. Dominic Lipinski / AP

Royal expert Daisy McAndrew told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie that there is hope throughout Britain that the brothers will put their differences aside and come together after the death of their grandmother. Similar hopes existed after the death of grandfather Prince Philip, when the brothers reunited for the first time since Harry's move to California.

McAndrew also said that before her death, Queen Elizabeth had left the door open for a reunion with her grandson.

“We know that there was an open invitation throughout this summer to Harry and Meghan and the children from the children’s grandfather, now King Charles, to come to Balmoral and stay with them," McAndrew said on Weekend TODAY.

Queen Elizabeth died at Balmoral Castle, a beloved Scotland estate, on Sept. 8. Prince Harry arrived at the home about an hour after news of her death was announced, without Meghan and their children. Kate, Princess of Wales, was also not present.

Naugle said that the refiguring of the royal family may bring Prince Harry and Meghan back into royal life, especially in the coming weeks.

“They’re going to be spending quite some time together with all the events going forward,” she said. “And I think that could open up the opportunity to have some real heart to heart conversations. Especially because they are united in their grief for the queen.”

McAndrew said that it is "unthinkable" that Meghan would miss the queen's state funeral.

"The big question is whether the children will be there," she said.

Despite these hopes for reunion, there is tension about Prince Harry's upcoming memoir and what it might allege about the royal family.

In a press release, Prince Harry said the book would be an "accurate and wholly truthful" account of his life.

“I’ve worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story — the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned — I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think," he said.

With the death of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry becomes fifth in line to the throne, while his children are may take on the royal titles of prince and princess.