So why DID Meghan change her mind about going to Scotland to see the Queen? Insiders reveal ‘eyebrows were raised’ at Sussexes’ original intentions to head north together – before ‘changing plans’ after pictures of Kate back in Windsor emerged
- At 2pm, a spokesman for Harry and Meghan said they’d fly together to Balmoral to be with the Queen
- The couple were in the UK to attend the WellChild Awards Ceremony and had been staying at Windsor
- They were not scheduled to visit the Queen during their trip until yesterday’s announcements
- At 3.12pm, Kate was photographed driving to collect her children from school
- By then, Prince William was already on his way to Balmoral on an RAF plane with other senior royals
- At 4.44pm, Omid Scobie, a journalist and friend of Meghan, then tweeted that ‘like Kate’, Meghan would stay in Windsor and not fly to Scotland after all
- Harry’s commercially rented jet didn’t take off from Luton Airport until 5.35pm – 90 minutes after William and other senior royals touched down at Aberdeen Airport
- In the end, he landed at 6.46pm – around 15 minutes after the Queen’s death was announced
- Harry departed Aberdeen this morning at around 9am, barely 13 hours after he arrived
- King Charles III will return to London today with Camilla, the Queen Consort
- Queen dies aged 96: Follow for the latest updates from Balmoral as Britain’s Elizabeth II passes
Amid the flurry of hurried flights, announcements and messages of grief that were triggered by the death of Queen Elizabeth II yesterday was confusion surrounding Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle and why their plans to fly together to Scotland suddenly changed.
The Queen’s deteriorating health was first announced by the Palace yesterday at 12.34pm, sparking a rush of senior royals to Scotland. Prince William flew to Aberdeen with uncles Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, along with Sophie Countess of Wessex.
Their RAF flight landed at Aberdeen airport shortly before 4pm after taking off from RAF Northolt in South Ruislip, west London, at 2.39pm.
At 2pm, Harry and Meghan announced that they too would be flying to Scotland to be with the Queen.
The couple, who live in Montecito, California, and who famously disavowed royal life, were in the UK to attend the WellChild Awards Ceremony. They had no plans to visit the Queen until yesterday.
But it took another three hours for Harry to leave London.
Prince Harry flies out of Aberdeen Airport in Scotland on Friday morning alone, around 12 hours after arriving at Balmoral
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (pictured together in Germany on Tuesday) announced on Thursday that they would fly together to Balmoral – but they promptly changed their plans and Harry flew alone
In the end, he flew alone, arriving at Aberdeen Airport after his beloved grandmother’s death had been publicly announced, and while the rest of the family mourned together at Balmoral.
Why exactly Meghan changed her plans to stay in London remains unconfirmed but all signs point to Kate and her decision to stay in Windsor with her three children.
Kate was photographed driving to collect George, Charlotte and Louis from Lambrook School, a 15-minute drive from Adelaide Cottage, the family’s new home, at 3.12pm – after Harry and Meghan’s announcement but before Harry’s plane took off.
After photos of her emerged, Omid Scobie, Meghan’s friend and the author of the controversial biography Finding Freedom, tweeted that her plans had changed and that ‘like the Duchess of Cambridge’, she too would be staying behind.
Behind palace doors, Meghan’s plan to fly to Balmoral raised eyebrows given her frosty relationship with the Royal Family, who she has publicly criticized and accused of racism.
In recent weeks, she has renewed her outspoken criticism of royal protocols in her Spotify podcast, Archetypes, claiming to have been vilified for her ambition.
On Wednesday, Scobie published a column for Yahoo which claimed Harry was ‘waiting for an apology’ from his brother. The column suggested that tensions between the Sussexes and the Cambridges remained high.
‘There’s a laughable effort to suggest the [Sussexes] have been shunned…the true story is, they never reached out to the Cambridges,’ said a source described by Scobie as ‘someone familiar with the current family dynamics’.
He then quoted a ‘family friend’ as saying: ‘What [Harry] is waiting for is accountability… Many lines were crossed by William. He was at the centre of a number of painful moments, be it the actions of his own staff or turning his back when support was needed.
‘It was a dark time and one that, so far, William has been unprepared to unpack.’
The BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell speculated on air: ‘She might not be terribly warmly welcomed, to be perfectly candid about it.’
Flight data shows that his plane, a Cessna 560XLS owned by the commercial jet leasing company Luxeaviation UK, departed from Luton Airport at 5.35pm with Harry on-board.
3.12pm: Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, was seen driving to collect her three children from school in Windsor after Harry and Meghan announced their plans to travel to Scotland. There was never any suggestion that she would fly to Scotland
4pm: At around 3.50pm, an RAF plane carrying Prince William, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, arrived in Aberdeen
At 4.44pm, Omid Scobie, a journalist widely considered to be one of Meghan’s friends, tweeted that the couple’s plans had changed and that she now would be staying in Windsor, ‘like the Duchess of Cambridge’
5.20pm: Shortly before 5.30pm, before Harry’s plane had taken off from Luton Airport, Prince William and other senior royals arrived at Balmoral
7.52pm: Harry arrives at Balmoral at 7.52pm, more than an hour after arriving at Aberdeen Airport and hours after the rest of the family
The plane landed in Aberdeen at 6.46pm, 15 minutes after the announcement of The Queen’s death. It took another hour for his chauffer-driven car to reach Balmoral Estate, where his brother and the rest of the family were in already in mourning.
Meghan is understood to have stayed at Frogmore Cottage on the grounds of Windsor Castle, yards from where William, Kate and their three children live.
She and Harry had been due to fly back to the US, where their children remain, later this week but those plans are now predictably uncertain.
Today, King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, are expected to return to London. The King will meet Prime Minister Liz Truss and he is expected to address the nation.
The Queen’s funeral is expected to take place on Monday September 19th.
Until then, the country will observe 10 days of mourning while arrangements are made to bring Her Majesty’s coffin from Scotland to London.
The Queen’s coffin will remain in Scotland, at Balmoral, today and tomorrow for staff to pay their respects. It will the be driven from the highlands to Edinburgh temporarily, before being brought back to London for her funeral on September 19.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday on Thursday September 8 at the age of 96 after a 70 year reign
The country has now entered a 10-day mourning period before the Queen’s scheduled funeral on Monday September 19. Above, crowds at Buckingham Palace on Thursday night
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