Harry and Meghan 'offer olive branch' in surprise visit to the Queen in Windsor

14 April 2022, 22:42 | Updated: 15 April 2022, 09:48

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex flew to the UK yesterday to visit the Queen
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex flew to the UK yesterday to visit the Queen. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex flew to the UK yesterday to visit the Queen in secret, on their way to the Invictus Games in The Hague.

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Harry and Meghan, who have not been in the UK together since they quit as senior working royals more than two years ago, are also believed to have also met with the Prince of Wales.

It is understood the couple were at Windsor Castle on Thursday.

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, said Thursday’s visit would have made the Queen very happy despite the couple’s highly publicised criticism of the royals.

Ms Seward told The Sun: “It is a wonderful opportunity to clear the air and offer an olive branch".

A spokesperson for Harry confirmed earlier in March that he would miss the service for his grandfather, but that he hoped to visit the Queen soon.

On Thursday night, a spokesperson for the couple confirmed they visited the Queen ahead of their appearance at the Invictus Games which open this weekend.

They are not believed to have their children, Archie and Lilibet with them.

Read more: Harry and Meghan 'to be snubbed by Dutch royal family' during Invictus Games visit

The trip to the UK comes after Harry was absent from the Duke of Edinburgh's memorial service in London last month.

Harry is bringing a claim against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the same degree of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.

The duke wants to bring his children to visit, but he and his family are "unable to return to his home" because it is too dangerous, his legal representative has said.

He is challenging the February 2020 decision of the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (Ravec) over his security.

A legal representative for Harry previously said the duke wants to fund the security himself, rather than ask taxpayers to foot the bill.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be in the Netherlands for the Invictus Games, which is taking place from April 16 after being delayed by the pandemic.

Traditionally, the Dutch royal family hosts foreign royals however the couple will reportedly not get an audience with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima during their stay.

They will instead have to spend the night at a hotel in The Hague, MailOnline reported.

It is not clear what Harry and Meghan’s security arrangements will be, with the website adding they couple be handed 'VIP status' by Dutch police.

Introducing the case against the Home Office in court last month, Shaheed Fatima QC, for the duke, said: "This claim is about the fact that the claimant does not feel safe when he is in the UK given the security arrangements applied to him in June 2021 and will continue to be applied to him."

She continued: "It goes without saying that he does want to come back to see family and friends and to continue to support the charities that are so close to his heart.

"Most of all, this is and always will be, his home."

Read more: The Queen pulls out of Easter Sunday service for first time in 50 years

However Robert Palmer QC, for the Home Office, told the court the duke's offer of private funding was "irrelevant".

In written submissions, he said: "Personal protective security by the police is not available on a privately financed basis, and Ravec does not make decisions on the provision of such security on the basis that any financial contribution could be sought or obtained to pay for it."

He said Ravec had attributed to the duke "a form of exceptional status" where he is considered for personal protective security by the police "with the precise arrangements being dependent on the reason for his presence in Great Britain and by reference to the functions he carries out when present".

The barrister added: "A case-by-case approach rationally and appropriately allows Ravec to implement a responsive approach to reflect the applicable circumstances."

The Home Office's written arguments also claim that Harry's offer of funding was "notably not advanced to Ravec" at the time of the duke's visit in June 2021, or in any pre-action discussions.

Mr Palmer later said in the written submissions that the duke had "failed to afford the necessary measure of respect" to the Home Secretary and Ravec as "the expert, and democratically accountable, decision-maker on matters of protective security and associated risk assessment".