Why The Timing Of Prince Harry's Return To The US Has The Internet In A Frenzy

When Prince Harry returned to the UK to attend the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip, questions were raised about just how much time he was planning on spending with his family in Great Britain. Amid news that Harry had bought an open-ended ticket when he left for the UK and had no set return date, speculation that he intended to stay in the UK for the birthday of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, ran rampant (via Evening Standard). Furthermore, because Harry was seen speaking to his older brother, Prince William, there was the hope that whatever rift that might have emerged between the brothers had begun to heal.

Queen Elizabeth turned 95 on April 21, 2021, and celebrated it for the first time in over 70 years without her husband. Harper's Bazaar reports that the British monarch was planning on a small family get-together to mark the occasion, which was likely, per The Telegraph, to be a "quiet lunch" at Windsor Castle. An insider further told Harper's Bazaar that ahead of her birthday, Prince Harry met privately with the queen, twice. But if there was any hope that Harry might stay and have a bite to eat in the UK to mark his grandmother's birthday, those were soon dashed. Outlets on both sides of the Atlantic reported that Harry had returned to California before the event, to be with his pregnant wife and their son (via The Telegraph). Even though he had just completed a 10-day quarantine in the UK, he is expected to start another one in Montecito (via Daily Mail).

Critics called out Prince Harry for leaving his grandmother

Prince Harry, who reportedly brought his own security team with him to the UK, is thought to have flown back on either Monday, April 19, or Tuesday, April 20 to rejoin Meghan and Archie (via Mirror and Daily Mail). His early departure divided the internet, with some calling him out for leaving his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, to celebrate her birthday on her own, while others said he was right to focus on his pregnant wife. 

"Instead of all the noise about Harry trying to have 'get togethers/meetings' with his father and brother, ya think after he trashed the family on Oprah while grandpa lay dying, that he couldn't have stayed a little longer to make amends with granny. Foolish, weak little man," one user fumed on Twitter. Another tweeted, "The hypocrite returns home not bothering with his grandma's birthday ... Oh, and 17 mpg for a Cadillac Escalade. Save the planet and environment Harry? Yeah, right!!" Remember when tabloids got on Meghan and Harry's case in 2020 for purchasing a gas-guzzling SUV (via The New York Post)? The latter Twitter user quite clearly does. 

A third Twitter user wrote, "Well there's not much for him to stick around for is there. He's trashed his family on tv and then blabbed about who said what to whom .... why would you want to pass anything other than minor pleasantries if you think it's going to be all over the US press days if not hours later."

Others didn't fault Prince Harry for leaving

But for every Prince Harry critic, there was a supporter. "Looking [for] another reason to have a go at him. Have you not hounded him enough? He has also just buried his grandfather so you would think you would have some respect and leave him alone to grieve but your agenda against him and Meghan always shines through. What happened to #bekind?" tweeted one. Another tweeted, "She [the queen is] spending it without any family. Don't gaslight him as if he left his grandma all alone. William is down the road and won't even be with her. Just stop." A third Twitter supporter wrote, "I have so much love & respect for Prince Harry & Meghan. Look forward to when Harry is back home in US with Meghan & Archie. And the work of Archewell will continue as we wait for baby girl to join their family."

At least Prince Harry did not return to California empty-handed. After his grandfather's funeral, he managed to spend some time with his father, Prince Charles, and brother, Prince William. A royal insider told Daily Mail that "It was important to Charles and William that they were both there together [for the meeting]. It means nothing spoken about can be misconstrued in the future." The source further explained, "The queen has made it clear to senior advisers that she is united with Charles and William, and was disappointed with aspects of Harry and Meghan's interview."