Prince Harry Had To Follow This Rule While Visiting Queen Elizabeth II's Grave On Death Anniversary

On September 8, 2023, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, made a brief visit to honor his late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, on the one-year anniversary of her death. Since he happened to be in the U.K., Harry stopped by St. George's Chapel in Windsor, where Elizabeth and Prince Philip are buried in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, located just off the main chapel. 

Before making his unexpected solo visit to the Queen's grave, the Duke of Sussex had to obtain approval from Buckingham Palace. Harry's request was apparently approved on the condition that he keep his visit private. However, while the prince appeared to have abided by this rule, Harry was observed leaving the chapel. His photo subsequently made the rounds on social media. After paying his respects at Elizabeth's grave, Harry reportedly headed for the airport to catch a flight to Germany for the Invictus Games.

The night before, Harry paid tribute to his grandmother during his speech at London's WellChild Awards. The prince remarked that Elizabeth's death had caused him to miss the previous year's event, and he speculated on how she might have advised him at the time. "She would have been the first person to insist that I still come to be with you all instead of going to her," Harry said in his speech, per Sky News. "That's precisely why I know exactly one year on, that she is looking down on all of us tonight happy we're together."

Prince Harry was alone when Queen Elizabeth II died in 2022

Back when he learned the news of Queen Elizabeth II's death on September 8, 2022, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, wasn't with the rest of the royal family. As he recounted in his memoir, "Spare," although Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, tried to contact her husband about his grandmother while he was flying to Scotland, Harry saw the news of Elizabeth's death on the BBC website. 

At the time, Harry's mourning of his grandmother was viewed through the lens of the rift between the Duke and the rest of the family. "I think it speaks volumes that Harry was seen leaving Balmoral and arriving at Balmoral on his own," royal expert and author Katie Nicholl informed ET in 2022. "We know that despite the problems that he had with his brother and his father, he remained very close to the Queen right up until her death and he will be absolutely devastated by the loss."

A year later, with Harry and William, Prince of Wales' relationship seemingly worsening, the rift continues to fuel speculation about royal behavior. On one hand, The Daily Beast believed that the timing of Harry's solo visit to Elizabeth's grave upstaged Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales', attendance at a memorial service in Wales. On the other hand, others viewed the lack of a formal invitation to participate in observances as another instance of Harry and Meghan being snubbed.