In the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London, England, it wasn’t that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle “couldn’t stop” replaying conversations they’d had or didn’t have with the monarch. No, what the Duke and Duchess of Sussex “couldn’t stop” doing at the time related to their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.
Harry and Meghan went to the queen’s funeral as a ‘quick trip’ became an ‘odyssey’
Sept. 19, 2022. Royals and world leaders alike descended upon Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral, including Harry and Meghan. It marked the beginning of the end for what Harry described as an “odyssey” in his Spare memoir.
He and Meghan had days earlier “sat down with a glass of water and a calendar” at Frogmore Cottage, their former U.K. home. What began as a “quick trip” to England and Germany became an “odyssey” when Queen Elizabeth died on Sept. 8, 2022.
Noting at least 10 “difficult” days lay ahead for him and Meghan, Harry noted they’d “have to stay away from the children for longer than we’d planned, longer than we’d ever been.”
Nevertheless, they viewed tributes to the queen with Prince William and Kate Middleton, the foursome’s first public joint appearance in years. Harry and Meghan, alongside other royals, also took part in the queen’s lying-in-state, multiple processions, and finally, a private service at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Harry and Meghan ‘couldn’t’ be away from Archie and Lilibet after the queen’s funeral
When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex returned home to Montecito, California, on Sept. 20, 2022, they kept Archie and Lilibet, or Lili, close.
“For days we couldn’t stop hugging the children, couldn’t let them out of our sight,” Harry recalled in Spare. As he previously mentioned in his January 2023 memoir, what began as a “quick trip” turned into the longest stretch of time the parents had ever been apart from their now 4- and 2-year-old kids.
Admittedly, Harry “also couldn’t stop picturing them with Granny” during what he called their “final visit.” Archie, he recalled, made “deep, chivalrous bows” to his great-grandmother. Meanwhile, Lili, just a “baby” at the time, sat “cuddling at the monarch’s shins.”
The queen, Harry shared, called Archie and Lili the “sweetest children” in a “bemused” tone. “She’d expected them to be a bit more … American, I think? Meaning, in her mind, more rambunctious,” he explained.
Harry talked with Queen Elizabeth on the phone days before her death
Before embarking on the “odyssey” that would have him and Meghan away from Archie and Lili, Harry had one last conversation with the queen. However, per his recollection, it wasn’t a “one more goodbye” type of exchange he’d later find himself wishing he’d had with “Granny.”
Instead, four days before the queen died, on Sept. 4, 2022, Harry and the monarch had a “long chat on the phone.” They “touched on many topics,” the duke recalled. Among them were the queen’s health and the “turmoil at Number 10 [Downing Street].”
Harry later learned of the queen’s death online during a flight to see her at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.