The Duke of Sussex appeared to issue a veiled warning to those closest to the Queen, saying he wanted to make sure his grandmother was “protected” and had “the right people around her”.
Interviewed by a US network, Harry did not elaborate on whether he was referring to royal aides or members of his own family, but spoke positively about seeing the Queen with “some element of privacy” after two years away from the UK.
When asked if he missed the Prince of Wales or Duke of Cambridge, Harry, who is in the Netherlands hosting his Invictus Games, side-stepped the question and said he was focused on the competitors and their families.
His comments are likely to deepen the rifts between the duke and the institution of the monarchy and his family, who until a few years ago appeared to have his backing.
Harry also said he did not know if he will return to the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, saying there are “security issues and everything else”.
And he appeared to commit his immediate future to the US, saying: “Home for me now is, you know, for the time being, it’s in the States, and it feels that way as well.”
Speaking to NBC’s Today show about his meeting with the Queen, he said “Being with her it was great, it was just so nice to see her, she’s on great form.
“She’s always got a great sense of humor with me and I’m just making sure that she’s protected and got the right people around her.”
The royal family have rallied round the Queen since her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, died in April, and she has been supported by a smaller and closer-knit group from her household during the lockdowns of the past two years.
Harry and Meghan left for a new life in North America just before the pandemic struck and so have watched developments in the UK from afar, but during that time they laid bare their experiences of life in the royal family in a devastating Oprah Winfrey interview.
The couple accused an un-named member of the royal family – not the Queen or Philip – of racism and painted the monarchy as an uncaring institution.
The duke has commented in the past about his rift with Charles and how he and William are on “different paths” and have good and bad days in their relationship.
Asked by Hoda Kotb, co-presenter of the NBC News show Today, if he missed his father or brother, Harry replied: “For me at the moment I’m here focused on these guys and giving everything morning I can 120% to them to make sure they have the experience of a lifetime.
“That’s my focus here and when I leave here, I go back and my focus is my family, who I miss massively.”
Harry and his wife Meghan had tea with the Queen last week when they stopped off in the UK on their way to the Invictus Games.
There has been speculation about whether Harry will make a balcony appearance with the Queen during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
When asked about returning to the UK for the event with his grandmother he replied: “I don’t know yet, there’s lots of things – security issues and everything else. So this is what I’m trying to do, trying to make it possible that, you know, I can get my kids to meet her.”
Harry is bringing a legal claim against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.
The duke wants to bring his children to visit from the US, but he and his family are “unable to return to his home” because it is too dangerous, a representative previously said.