Prince Harry has reportedly arrived back in London without his wife Meghan Markle for his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral next weekend.
The Sun newspaper cited an eyewitness who spotted Harry, 36, disembarking a British Airways flight from Los Angeles at 1.15pm on Sunday (local time).
“He landed at Heathrow – I saw him getting into an escorted car,” a witness told the paper.
It will be the first time the prince has stepped on British soil since he and Meghan quit as working royals in March 2020.
The paper reported Harry, wearing chinos, a jacket and a face mask, got into a black Range Rover on the tarmac with security. He was driven away, most likely to one of his former marital homes, Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace or Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle, where he will complete his mandatory quarantine.
The Duke of Sussex will not be able to complete the full 10 days of required quarantine before Prince Philip’s funeral at Windsor Castle on Sunday. Under British law, he will be allowed to leave quarantine early on “compassionate” grounds, which includes funerals.
This week will also bring Harry’s first face-to-face meeting with his family since he and Meghan revealed their estrangement from the royal family – particularly Harry’s father Prince Charles – in an explosive Oprah Winfrey interview in March.
Prince Harry has reportedly spoken to family members since the Duke of Edinburgh’s death last Friday.
“Harry has been in touch with his father, and his brother, and his grandmother,” a source told Vanity Fair.
“He was told about his grandfather’s death at the same time as the rest of the family and he is grieving just like the rest of them.”
The first person Harry will see this week is likely to be his grandmother, the Queen. The two have apparently been in regular contact since Harry and Meghan left Britain, speaking often on the phone or by video call.
Prince Harry told James Corden in a recent interview that he had also had video calls with his grandfather, who tended to end the calls by slamming the computer shut. It is not known when Harry last spoke to Philip.
Buckingham Palace confirmed at the weekend that the Duchess of Sussex, 39, would not attend the royal funeral after doctors warned her of the medical risks to her pregnancy if she made the flight from California.
Prince Philip’s funeral will take place from 3pm on Saturday. It will be attended by only 30 close family members – including the Queen, his children and grandchildren – instead of the 800 who would have been expected in pre-COVID times.
British virus restrictions currently limit funeral gatherings to 30 people.
Harry and Meghan acknowledged the Duke of Edinburgh’s death on Friday in a short message on their Archewell website.
“In loving memory of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021. Thank you for your service … You will be greatly missed,” a statement read.
‘’It was like someone took him by the hand’
Earlier, Prince Philip’s daughter-in-law revealed more information about the duke’s final moments.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who is married to Prince Philip’s youngest child, Prince Edward, spoke outside at private church service at Windsor Castle, attended by members of the royal family.
She said Philip’s death was “very peaceful.”
“It was right for him. It was so gentle,” she said. “It was just like somebody took him by the hand and off he went. Very, very peaceful and that’s all you want for somebody isn’t it?”
Prince Edward also described his father’s death as both “very, very sad,” and “a bit of a shock”.
“However much one tries to prepare oneself for something like this it’s still a dreadful shock. And we’re still trying to come to terms with that. And it’s very, very sad,” he said.
“But I have to say that the extraordinary tribute and the memories that everybody has had and been willing to share has been so fantastic. And it just goes to show, he might have been our father, grandfather, father-in-law, but he meant so much to so many other people.”