Prince Harry departed Balmoral Castle on Friday morning the same way he had arrived — alone.
The prince, who spent just over 12 hours at Balmoral, has become estranged from his family since he and his wife, Meghan Markle, left their status as working royals and gave a series of interviews condemning the family and the institution, and making accusations of racism.
A clearly upset Harry arrived at Balmoral at 8 pm Thursday, 90 minutes after the queen’s death was announced.
Although only Charles and his sister Anne were said to be at the queen’s bedside when she died, peacefully, yesterday afternoon, the announcement of her death was delayed until other members of the family had gathered at Balmoral.
Prince William, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and his wife, Sophie, all flew to Scotland together on an air-force jet, but, incredibly, Harry was not on board, despite the fact that he was at his house in Windsor with Meghan , which is just a few hundred yards from William’s house (and not far from either Edward or Andrew’s homes).
He arrived hours later and was in the air, on a commercially rented plane, when the death announcement was made.
Mystery also surrounded his wife Meghan’s movements. Despite an initial announcement by Sussex-friendly journalist Omid Scobie that Meghan would be going with Harry to Balmoral, Scobie subsequently issued a correction to say she would not.
The palace has not clarified what happened, however the BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell gave voice to widespread speculation that she was told to stay clear, saying, on air: “She might not be terribly warmly welcomed, to be perfectly candid about it.”
A little over 12 hours after Harry’s arrival, at 8:30 am local time, he was photographed texting on his phone while being driven out of the gates of Balmoral Castle, in photographs carried by MailOnline. He was then seen boarding a jet at Aberdeen airport, apparently comforting an airport staffer.
Harry’s solitary pilgrimage to and from his grandmother’s deathbed is no accident. The choreography represents a clear message from King Charles: Harry is an outsider, a second-tier royal now.
The Daily Mail reported the plane he used was “owned by the commercial jet leasing company Luxeaviation UK.”
His ruthless treatment will only serve to reinforce speculation of ongoing bad blood between Harry, Meghan, and the rest of the family.
A former royal staffer, as The Daily Beast previously reported, told The Royalist: “I’m sure they will all put on a good show for the funeral, just as they did for Philip’s. But that occasion very much failed to bring the brothers together in any meaningful way. This won’t be any different. “
Harry and Meghan’s isolation from the rest of his family comes after Harry’s camp said this week, before the queen’s death, that, far from being snubbed by the royals, Harry had made no effort to reach out to William and was refusing to do so until William apologized for his part in what Harry sees as unacceptable treatment of him and Meghan prior to their departure from the family.
Harry and Meghan were in the UK, by chance, having arranged a number of charity events in England and Germany this week.
Scobie said on Twitter this morning that Harry would “of course” remain in the UK until the queen’s funeral, which is likely to be on Monday, Sept. 19.