The Queen’s 96th birthday next Thursday overlaps with Prince Harry being in the Netherlands for the Invictus Games in The Hague, but royal expert Robert Jobson tells the Mirror it’s unlikely they will meet up
Prince Harry is unlikely to visit the Queen on her 96th birthday next week despite it coinciding with his visit to Europe to attend the Invictus Games in the Netherlands, an expert has said.
Harry wife Meghan Markle have confirmed they will both be at the Invictus Games in The Hague from this weekend.
It will be the pair’s first international trip together since they quit as senior royals and moved to California to carve out new lives together with their children Archie and Lilibet.
The couple’s decision to attend the event in The Hague has been blasted by palace insiders after Harry claimed it was “too dangerous” to travel to the UK.
They did not attend last month’s memorial service for the late Prince Philip and Harry is currently locked in a legal battle with the UK government over a decision to downgrade his security.
So with Harry and Meghan being so close to the royals when they make the trip to the Netherlands, could the couple make the trip to at least see the Queen, who will celebrate her 96th birthday on Thursday in the same week as the Games?
According to royal expert and author Robert Jobson, this is unlikely – even though the flight to London is only an hour.
He told the Mirror: “I am a big fan of the Invictus Games, and all Harry has achieved with it. I reported on it in London and Australia where it went down a storm.
“The international competition – taking place from April 16 to 22 – inspires the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, by giving them the challenge of competing in sporting events like the Paralympics.
Chris Jackson Collection)
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“His determination to keep it going is commendable.
“Now, the question is will he pop over to Britain to wish his grandmother, the Queen, a happy 96th birthday on April 21?
“The reality is it is highly unlikely, given the schism he has caused in the family.
“Harry also brought a legal challenge against the UK 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 royal, who now lives at Montecito, California, with Meghan, 40, and their children Archie, and Lilibet, claimed he wanted to bring them to visit from across the Atlantic, but ‘does not feel safe’ when visiting under the current security arrangements.
Robert says that Harry’s absence from the UK but willingness to travel to The Hague has “nothing to do with safety, but he feeling wanted” – and he says the prince’s upcoming tell-all memoir is playing a large part in this.
He explained: “In the Hague he will be feted. His brothers and sisters in arms, past and present, rightly praise the Afghanistan veteran for giving back to the armed forces and not forgetting them.
“Back in the UK, particularly with his own family, his pending book means he is not cut the same slack.
“His tome is likely to tackle his tricky relationship with the Duchess of Cornwall, who was confirmed as the future Queen Consort in February by our Queen and is probably the real reason he is staying away.
“Can you imagine how excruciating it would be over dinner if somebody was to ask what’s in the soon to be published Random House book about them?”
Meanwhile, some are holding out hope that Harry will eventually bring Meghan, Archie and Lilibet to the UK to join in with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in the summer.
But in Robert’s view, he cannot see the family even returning to the UK for that.
He explained: “I cannot see Harry coming back to the UK this year, despite the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.
“How can he possibly face his family knowing what he has written about them in that book? It is his account and for the money he has been paid it has to take no prisoners.
“It will no doubt cause a lot of pain and damage; some of which may never heal.
“Remember, putting the fall-out of Oprah and that interview aside, the worst of what he will say about his own family is yet to come.
“His father, Charles, after being on the receiving end of rants from his youngest son, is barely on speaking terms. William too, has little to say to his brother these days, either. Who can blame them?
“Harry’s loyalties lie elsewhere these days. He doesn’t really care what the British public think of him. He has moved on, perhaps, so too should we.”
Robert Jobson is the author of William at 40: The Making of a Modern Monarch published by Ad Lib.