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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visiting Balmoral would be ‘very surprising’, says royal expert

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are very unlikely to visit the Queen at Balmoral when they return to Britain for a brief trip next week, a royal expert said today as he warned the ‘family rift is getting worse, not better’.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have an ongoing row about their security with the Home Office – and tensions with the Royal Family have been deepened by mounting concerns over what will be published in Harry’s upcoming biography, and Meghan making veiled criticisms of the family in her new Spotify podcast released last week.

Royal expert Phil Dampier told MailOnline today that he would be ‘very surprised’ if the Sussexes visit the Queen at Balmoral, where she is likely to remain for the next few weeks as concerns grow over her mobility issues.

He added that there is little ‘goodwill on both sides’ and that the royals will be ‘wary’ of Harry amid what could be in his book. Mr Dampier also said that a ‘visit to Scotland would create awkward family tensions for everyone’.

Harry and Meghan’s visit to the UK and Germany 

  • Monday, September 5: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will travel to Manchester for the One Young World Summit, an event which brings together young leaders from more than 190 countries
  • Tuesday, September 6: Harry and Meghan will head to Germany for the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 One Year to Go event
  • Thursday, September 8: The Sussexes then return to the UK for the WellChild Awards in London

The Sussexes, who last went to Balmoral in 2018, are not planning to visit the Highlands estate, according to the Daily Telegraph – which also reported that they are still waiting on decisions around their security in the UK before they decide whether to travel off schedule.

A Home Office panel is also set to decide whether they qualify for protection by the Metropolitan Police.

On September 5, the Duke and Duchess will travel from their home in California to visit Manchester for the One Young World Summit, where Meghan will give the keynote address at the opening ceremony.

The couple will then head to Germany for an event to mark a year until the Invictus Games in Dusseldorf on September 6, before returning to the UK for the WellChild Awards in London on September 8 where Harry – a long-term patron of the charity – will give a speech. The Sussexes are expected to leave their children Archie and Lilibet at home in California.

There are no official engagements scheduled for September 7 – at least, none that have been announced at this stage – meaning they could go and visit family.

But Mr Dampier told MailOnline: ‘I would be very surprised if Harry and Meghan visit the Queen at Balmoral. They have ongoing issues about their security travelling around the country, though obviously they would be secure within the Castle grounds.

‘They have a tight schedule anyway so would find it hard to fit in. But above all, I just don’t get the impression at the moment that there is much goodwill on both sides. Prince Charles is up in Scotland at the moment, as are other royals, and under normal circumstances Harry would want to see his father as well as his grandmother.

‘But these are not normal times and I fear the family rift is getting worse, not better. Meghan didn’t help with her recent podcast in which she made veiled criticisms of the royal family. And of course Harry’s book is hanging over the family like a bad smell. All the time the royals don’t know what he will say in his book they will be wary of him.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on June 3, on their last visit

The Queen speaks to guests during a visit to open a new building at Thames Hospice in Maidenhead, Berkshire, on July 15

The Queen speaks to guests during a visit to open a new building at Thames Hospice in Maidenhead, Berkshire, on July 15

A royal expert said he would be 'very surprised' if the Sussexes visit the Queen at Balmoral in Scotland (file picture)

A royal expert said he would be ‘very surprised’ if the Sussexes visit the Queen at Balmoral in Scotland (file picture) 

‘If Harry and Meghan really wanted to build bridges they would drop the book and cease talking about the royals in public. But they seem determined to carry on, for whatever reason. It’s very sad but I don’t see any resolution in the near future. 

‘The Queen has made it clear they have an open invitation to see her and describes them as ‘much loved members of the family’. But in private I’m sure she is not happy with them. A visit to Scotland would create awkward family tensions for everyone and I’m not sure anyone needs that right now.’

Queen ‘deeply saddened’ after more than 1,000 deaths in Pakistan floods 

The Queen has said she is ‘deeply saddened’ by widespread flooding that has claimed more than 1,000 lives in Pakistan this summer.

The country has seen exceptionally heavy monsoon rains which have triggered flash floods, affecting 33 million people and damaging nearly one million homes.

The death toll is reported to be at least 1,061 people.

In a message to the country’s president, Arif Alvi, the Queen said: ‘I am deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life and destruction caused by the floods across Pakistan.

‘My thoughts are with all those who have been affected, as well as those working in difficult circumstances to support the recovery efforts.

‘The United Kingdom stands in solidarity with Pakistan as you recover from these terrible events.’

The message, released by Buckingham Palace, was signed ‘Elizabeth R’.

Pakistani authorities said the devastation is worse than in 2010 when 1,700 people were killed by floods. 

It is believed that the couple will spend much of their time in the UK next week at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor – much like when the California-based couple were in England in June, when they kept a low profile. 

Harry, 37, last saw his 96-year-old grandmother during her Platinum Jubilee, where he reportedly only had around 15 minutes with her.

He and Meghan also visited in April, when they secretly met with Prince Charles and the Queen on their way to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games at The Hague.

After this trip, the Duke spoke about ensuring his grandmother has ‘the right people around her’ when he appeared to make a swipe at royal household staff during an interview with NBC including the so-called ‘men in grey suits’ who advise the Queen. 

This latest news comes as warring brothers Prince William and Harry will reportedly not mark the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death on Wednesday together – neither in public or private.

The Queen normally spends the months of August and September at her Highlands retreat, where she is joined by other family members at stages.

William, Kate and their children, Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven, and Prince Louis, four, are among those who have already visited this year.

Balmoral has had a number of adaptations in recent years, including her Craigowan Lodge, which was fitted with a wheelchair-friendly lift in 2021.

The castle was bought for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852 for £32,000, and it has been the Scottish home of the royal family since. She usually arrives at the estate in mid-July.

The Queen is also ‘carefully considering’ whether she is fit enough to attend the Braemar Games next weekend as concerns grow over her mobility issues, The Mail on Sunday reported yesterday. 

The Highland Games, which are often attended by the Queen and the Prime Minister of the day, are usually a highlight in the monarch’s calendar.

This year’s competition – which will see contestants battle it out in caber-tossing and tug-of-war in front of spectators – is the first to be held since the start of the pandemic.

The Prince of Wales, known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, arrives at Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral, on August 21

The Prince of Wales, known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, arrives at Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral, on August 21

The Queen attends the Queen's Body Guard for Scotland (also known as the Royal Company of Archers) Reddendo Parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on June 30

The Queen attends the Queen’s Body Guard for Scotland (also known as the Royal Company of Archers) Reddendo Parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on June 30

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Edinburgh Castle during their first official joint visit to Scotland on February 13, 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Edinburgh Castle during their first official joint visit to Scotland on February 13, 2018 

A source revealed that the Queen is keen to attend if her health will allow it. She was last seen in public on July 21, when she flew to Aberdeen Airport to begin her annual holiday at Balmoral.

The source added that in the past fortnight, Her Majesty has been delighted to receive ‘family visitors’ at her Scottish estate with ‘lots of the great-grandchildren’. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their children Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte headed up last week, while the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their children Lady Louise and Viscount James have also been to visit. It is also said that the Prince of Wales is visiting the Queen daily. 

Prince Andrew had also been in Balmoral, keen to speak to the Queen about whether it is possible for him to carve out a new working role within the Royal Family, according to the source.

Another source added that there had been ‘a change in the past few weeks’ in the Queen’s mobility, which meant that she was ‘resting’ a lot more.

The 96-year-old is likely to concede that she will no longer be able to fly down to London to appoint a new Prime Minister. It had been hoped the Queen would head to Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace to fulfil what is known as her ‘personal prerogative’ – to invite a new leader to form a government.

But her health on recent days ‘may make it unlikely’, according to a well-placed source. The decision will be announced this week. The nine-mile trip to Braemar for next weekend’s games, however, may yet be possible.

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II, in front of Tony and Cherie Blair, at the Highland Games in Braemar in September 2003

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II, in front of Tony and Cherie Blair, at the Highland Games in Braemar in September 2003

Queen Victoria began a tradition of attending the games in 1848. The Queen and Philip are pictured at the event in 2008

Queen Victoria began a tradition of attending the games in 1848. The Queen and Philip are pictured at the event in 2008

Her Majesty asked the couple and their two children, three-year-old Archie and Lilibet, one, to stay at her Scottish residence and told royal staff to prepare, it was reported in July. 

It was said that the Sussexes would not have to spend time with other royals such as Charles and William. 

A Balmoral insider previously told The Sun and Page Six: ‘Staff have been told to expect the full list of royals including Harry, Meghan and their children. They are preparing for the Sussexes.’

Another source is reported to have said: ‘I would be stunned if they did turn up.’

But since then, the Telegraph reported overnight that sources say a visit to the Queen is not anticipated but there may well be more unplanned engagements. 

Speaking of meeting his grandmother at Windsor Castle in April, Harry said: ‘It was great. It was really nice to see her in some element of privacy. 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 humour with me and I’m just making sure that she’s protected and got the right people around her. Both Meghan and I had tea with her, so it was really nice to catch up with her. We have a really special relationship, we talk about things that she can’t talk about with anybody else.’

Royal author Tom Bower told MailOnline then that he believed the comment by Harry was directed at the Queen’s private secretary Sir Edward Young in addition to the Duke’s father Prince Charles and brother Prince William with whom he has an ongoing feud.

The Duke of Sussex appeared to issue a veiled warning to those closest to the Queen during an interview on NBC in April

The Duke of Sussex appeared to issue a veiled warning to those closest to the Queen during an interview on NBC in April

The Queen stands on the Buckingham Palace balcony in London in July 2018 along with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

The Queen stands on the Buckingham Palace balcony in London in July 2018 along with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Meanwhile the Duke of Cambridge, 40, and the Duke of Sussex have agreed to end public commemorations over Diana and will instead remember their mother with their own families this week. 

The pair have not spoken face-to-face since they unveiled a statue of their late mother the Princess of Wales last summer.

They put their strained relationship aside briefly for the unveiling of the highly anticipated statue in her memory in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, her former London home.

In 2017, William and Harry marked the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death by creating a memorial garden at Kensington Palace, taking part in a documentary and loaning belongings to an exhibition.

Wednesday will be the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death, but the brothers will grieve privately to ark the poignant occasion, reported the Telegraph.

But Prince Harry said last week: ‘I want it to be a day filled with memories of her incredible work and love for the way she did it.

‘I want it to be a day to share the spirit of my mum with my family, with my children, who I wish could have met her. Every day, I hope to do her proud.’

Harry and William at the unveiling of a statue of their mother Princess Diana at Kensington Palace in London on July 1, 2021

Harry and William at the unveiling of a statue of their mother Princess Diana at Kensington Palace in London on July 1, 2021 

Diana with William (left) and Harry (right) at the Heads of State VE Remembrance Service in London's Hyde Park in May1995

Diana with William (left) and Harry (right) at the Heads of State VE Remembrance Service in London’s Hyde Park in May1995

Meanwhile, the Duke of Cambridge and his family are moving from Kensington Palace to Adelaide Cottage – just a ten-minute walk from Windsor Castle, later this month. 

If the Sussexes stay at their home, Frogmore Cottage, will only be a short five-minute walk from the Cambridges, who will be just 800m away when they relocate to Adelaide in the next few weeks.

It will be the first time the two couples have been neighbours since Prince Harry and Meghan moved out of Kensington Palace in 2019.

But a source reportedly said the Sussexes’s visit will be focused on ‘supporting several charities close to their hearts’, and they have no plans to see the Cambridges.

It comes as a French documentary has claimed Harry ‘slammed the phone down’ on Prince William after being confronted with witness statements portraying Meghan as a vicious bully of female staff.

In turn, William – ‘who already didn’t like his sister-in-law very much’ – became so angry at his brother’s insistence on protecting his wife from criticism that he jumped in a car ‘towards Kensington Palace to go and confront Prince Harry’.

The explosive claims are contained in a documentary by the most popular TV news outlet in France.

BFM TV displays emails – disclosed as part of the Duchess of Sussex’s privacy claim against the Mail on Sunday – in an investigative documentary series called ‘Red Line: William and Harry, the enemy brothers’.

It claims that traumatised staff resigned from the Royal Household and set up a WhatsApp group called ‘The Sussex Survivors’ Club’. The documentary is timed to come out next week.

Diana died in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997, at the age of 36 – when William was 15 and Harry 12.

While both understand the historical significance of the anniversary, and the fact that many around the world are keen to mark the occasion, it is a much more personal landmark for them.

Friends say they both still feel intense sadness that their mother has been longer out of their lives than in them, and that she has missed seeing the birth of her first grandchildren.

In other royal news, US celebrity gossip website Page Six reported that Harry’s highly-anticipated memoir may not be published until next year.

The Duke of Sussex’s tell-all book had been due out in time for Christmas, but it is claimed the release date is now ‘up in the air’.

A source told Page Six that industry experts had expected a November publication date. They said: ‘I have heard that Harry has some truth bombs in his book that he is debating on whether to include or not. So this [delay] is no surprise if he needs more time to work on the book.’ 

Publisher Penguin Random House announced last year it would bring out Harry’s ‘literary memoir’ in late 2022.

It said he would be sharing for the first time the ‘definitive account’ of his life. It has been feared by Buckingham Palace that Harry will use the memoir to settle old scores.

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