LONDON (Reuters) – Prince Harry paid tribute on Thursday to the late Queen Elizabeth as he returned to Britain to attend an awards ceremony a day before the first anniversary of his grandmother’s death.
Harry only occasionally comes back to Britain since his move to California with his wife Meghan after the couple stepped down from their official royal roles in 2020, and then fell out with the other Windsors, including his father King Charles and elder brother Prince William.
“As you know, I was unable to attend the awards last year as my grandmother passed away,” he said in a speech at the annual ceremony staged in London by WellChild, a charity supporting children suffering from serious illnesses, for which he is a patron.
“As you also probably know, she would have been the first person to insist that I still come to be with you all instead of going to her and that’s precisely why I know exactly one year on that she is looking down on all of us tonight, happy we’re together continuing to spotlights such an incredible community,” he said.
The timing of the annual WellChild ceremony and other events meant that both Harry and Meghan happened to be in Britain when the queen died at her Scottish home, Balmoral Castle, on Sept. 8 last year.
Harry pulled out of last year’s ceremony following news the queen was seriously ill, and travelled north separately from the rest of the royal family, indicative of their recent feud.
He said in his memoir published in January that his father had told him that Meghan was not invited. Kate, William’s wife, also did not go to Balmoral.
The royal family will not be gathering together to mark the anniversary on Friday, and media reports said Harry would not be seeing them during his trip. He is due to head to Düsseldorf in Germany for Saturday’s start of the Invictus Games.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Mark Porter)