On March 29 this year, the world let out a collective gasp, followed by a very loud “what the hell?!” followed by a resigned sigh as Queen Elizabeth appeared at Westminster Abbey with Prince Andrew at her side for the memorial service for Prince Philip.
Within minutes, literally, Andrew’s starring role on the job, fresh after paying more than $20 million to settle a civil sexual abuse case, sparked a media firestorm.
What was largely ignored in the days that followed, as piles of frustrated invective flowed from the keyboards of every opinion writer interested in the House of Windsor and passable Wi-Fi, was another story: the conspicuous absence of the nephew to Philip, Prince Harry, at the service.
Another time, Harry’s no-show would have been a big story, but instead it was largely glossed over in front of the extraordinary display of Uncle Andrew’s airship-sized ego and Her Majesty’s composure towards her useless son.
But that moment, that while the royal family celebrated Philip’s life and work, Harry was 8,500km away and that the Duke subsequently made only two short trips to Britain this year was cast in a new light after Post has published extracts from royal insider Gyles Brandreth’s new book Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait.
Brandreth, who was friends with Philip, socialized with Queen Elizabeth and had Queen Camilla on the podcast, revealed that he heard Her Majesty had a form of bone marrow cancer called myeloma and that “Her Majesty has always known that her remaining time was limited.”
(It’s worth noting here that more than 24 hours after the Elizabeth excerpts hit the Internet, Buckingham Palace has yet to dispute Brandreth’s claim. The palace has not been shy when confronted with a cancer report in the past. In 2008, when the Evening Standard reported that Philip had prostate cancer, he went straight to the Press Complaints Commission.)
The exact timeline here is rather opaque.
Although it is not known when the nonagenarian workhorse may have been diagnosed, last October she was secretly hospitalized overnight and subsequently pulled out of a number of major events, including an appearance at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow and participating in the events at the Cenotaph for Remembrance Day.
By 2022, Her Majesty’s advanced years seemed to be catching up with her as she began using a cane. In May, Queen Elizabeth, for the first time in almost 60 years, withdrew from the State Opening of Parliament, replacing the then Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge to take her place.
Clearly, all was not well behind the walls of Windsor Castle, where Her Majesty had left camp in 2020 when the pandemic hit.
So if we assume that Brandreth’s claim is correct, it means that at least at some point this year, Regina was diagnosed with cancer; the same year Harry and wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex spent no more than a week back in the UK.
In April, the Sussexes made their first joint visit back to Blighty since Megxit, en route to the Invictus Games in The Hague. A few days later, Harry was standing in front of Hoda Kotb, the American’s host Today show and explained that he wanted to go see his grandmother to “make sure she’s protected and has the right people around her.”
The implication of that comment, that Her Majesty might not be ‘protected’ and might have the wrong people around her, rubbed many the wrong way in Britain and went down as well as Philip being tasked with opening the studies gender of a university. wing.
Then, at the beginning of June, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee took place and Harry and Meghan, this time with their son and daughter in tow, flew back to the UK. They only stayed for five days, reportedly “avoiding a family lunch with royal cousins,” according to the report Telegraphand they were said to have declined an invitation to the Palace party.
On the final day of the Jubilee celebrations, they flew out of the UK on the same day Her Majesty walked onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace for what would be the last time.
During her stay, the Queen was introduced to the daughter of the Sussex family, her namesake Lilibet, but she, according to Telegraph“he personally intervened to prevent an official image being made”.
By the time the northern summer rolled around, it was set in stone as the Queen would be making her usual passage north to take refuge at her Balmoral estate to wear all the tartan she could find and spend time with her family . At the end of July, Sun said he extended an invitation to Harry and Meghan, although a few days later, Page six they rejected this, saying that they were not actually asked to stay.
At one point in August, the Queen hosted “a wonderful, extended stay” for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, which was “a big slumber party at Balmoral”, royal biographer Katie Nicholl, to which they were reportedly invited those of Sussex.
However, Harry and Meghan remained in California, where he played polo.
Also at the time, the Duchess’s first print interview in five years was released and contained lines that could be read as carrying with them a certain implied threat, including Meghan saying: “I’ve never had to sign anything that prevents me from to talk. ,” and “I have a lot to say until I do.” In the same piece, she mentioned finding a diary from her brief royal years while the family was back in the UK for the Jubilee.
However, by this time, there were said to be known “concerns” about Her Majesty’s health, according to Elizabeth. As Dr. Douglas Glass, who was the Queen’s local family doctor at Balmoral for more than 30 years, told Brandreth, “We have been worried for some months about the Queen’s health.” Her death “was expected and we were quite aware of what was going to happen.”
By the time that summer approached, Harry and Meghan hadn’t spent any time away from prying eyes with the Queen at her favorite retreat.
Now the big caveat here is that bodyguard issue.
Last year, the Duke launched a legal action seeking a judicial review of the decision to remove the Sussexes’ official security after they stepped back from royal duties. In January, a legal representative for the duke said he “cannot return to his home” because “the lack of police protection involves too great a personal risk”.
The Sussexes returned to the UK to attend the One Young World Summit in early September, but Telegraph they reported that they would “miss seeing the Queen” during that trip as the security dispute had not been resolved. (She would die while the Duke and Duchess were returning to Britain.)
So …. The Sussexes could go to a charity event in an arena in Manchester, but they couldn’t go to Balmoral, where they would be hidden behind what is supposed to be one of the biggest security cordons in the world?
What Brandreth’s claim about cancer does is cast a less flattering tone on the events of the northern summer. That in the last season of the Queen’s life, when insiders and one would assume her family knew she was battling myeloma, Harry was far away on the other side of the world; the plans for his memoirs, which we recently learned will be called Reserve, were progressing; and Meghan was making snide comments about NDAs and saying anything.
One of the consistent things reported about the Duke and Queen was how much they adored each other.
“The Queen was devoted to Harry. Loved him, thought he was ‘a lot of fun’ and really wished him well in his new life abroad,” Brandreth writes. “Whenever Harry called his grandmother in Montecito, he was always put through to Her Majesty immediately.”
Harry himself during this Today the interview said, “we have a really special relationship” and “we talk about things she can’t talk about with anyone else.”
I find it sad that the duo didn’t get a chance to spend time together or with the Queen with both Harry and Meghan (Brandreth says Her Majesty was a fan of the Duchess). They paid tribute to her by naming their daughter after her, but couldn’t find a way to visit her?
On the last weekend of her life, one of the guests at Balmoral was the Reverend Dr Iain Greenshields and, as he told Brandreth, “He told me he had no regrets.”
Let’s hope the rest of the royal family can say the same.
Daniela Elser is a royal writer and commentator with over 15 years of experience working with multiple Australian media titles.