Warring Princes William and Harry and their wives were reunited for a Royal walkabout yesterday amid extraordinary scenes at Windsor Castle.
To the astonishment of crowds who were expecting only William and Kate, both couples emerged from a black Audi late in the afternoon to gasps, then murmurs of approval – followed by cheers. The quartet – once dubbed the Fab Four – then spent 40 minutes inspecting the floral tributes and shaking hands with well-wishers.
Afterwards William drove them away, his wife next to him, the Sussexes in the back, in the direction of Frogmore Cottage where Harry and Meghan are staying.
Whether this represented a reconciliation or was a hiatus in hostilities was anyone’s guess.
On arrival the brothers had appeared to exchange a few words, though Kate and Meghan stood silently apart. All four, dressed in black, then moved separately along the crowds, the Sussexes on one side, the new Prince and Princess of Wales on the other.
Warring Princes William and Harry and their wives were reunited for a Royal walkabout yesterday amid extraordinary scenes at Windsor Castle
The crowds were expecting to see just Kate and William, but the Crown Prince gallantly offered an olive branch to his younger brother by inviting he and Meghan to join them on their tour
Meghan is seen gazing at Kate as the four admire the floral tributes to the Queen. If only they could have managed to reunite during her lifetime
The warring princes are comforted by their respective wives as they gaze down at the floral offerings left by the multitudes of well-wishers
Afterwards William drove them away, his wife next to him, the Sussexes in the back, in the direction of Frogmore Cottage where Harry and Meghan are staying
A Palace source said William had extended the olive branch to Harry after a chat with the King.
The call went out to the Sussexes earlier in the day: would they join Kate and William on a walkabout? Harry and Meghan accepted.
For William it was said to be important that the family convened in a show of unity at an incredibly difficult time.
The walkabout was due to start around 4.30pm but was delayed until 5.15pm to ensure the Sussexes had time to get ready. ‘Harry looked slightly tense,’ noted body language expert Judi James. ‘He was using a ‘barrier gesture’ – one that he uses to show anxiety – where he has his hand clutching his jacket in front of him.
‘But William looks a lot more relaxed. He looks to be the one instigating the display of unity to honour his grandmother’s memory.’
The reunion came after the King made his peace offering to Harry and Meghan during his first address to the nation as Monarch.
The King said: ‘I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.’
The King, 73, has never abandoned hope of rekindling his relationship with his youngest son, despite Harry and Meghan moving to the US and publicly attacking the Royals.
Harry alleged wrongly that his father had ‘cut them off’ financially and Meghan made an unsubstantiated claim that a Royal made a racist remark before Archie was born.
William was said to have been avoiding all contact with Harry in case their exchanges ended up in his forthcoming memoir.
As they walked around floral tributes, Harry placed a tender hand on Meghan’s back. There were repeated shouts of ‘Harry’ and ‘Meghan’ and well-wishers passed the couples bouquets and single red roses.
The King, 73, has never abandoned hope of rekindling his relationship with his youngest son, despite Harry and Meghan moving to the US and publicly attacking the Royals
Beatrice Grant, of Inverness, said Kate revealed her four-year-old Louis had said to her, ‘Never mind, great-grandma’s with great-grandpa’. Ms Grant added: ‘She said how she was upset and she had tears in her eyes.’
Cheryl Young, 38, a mum from Preston, said of seeing the Fab Four: ‘It is very surprising but you know what, it is also lovely and hopefully that can continue.’
Michael Clerk, 37, a teacher from Alton, Hampshire, met Harry and Meghan with his daughters Isobel, ten and Sophie, six. ‘I shook his hand and told him I was so sorry for his loss. It’s a privilege to meet Royalty but also a sad time. I wasn’t surprised to see them as a family should be together to grieve.’
His wife Lauren said Harry was ‘really sweet with the children’ adding: ‘You can tell he has his own.’
Nicola Hodgson, a teacher from Windsor, said: ‘I told Harry I was sorry for his loss. I could feel myself going. It was very emotional. He was taking time to speak to everyone. It was very special.’
Grandmother Joan Whelan, from Twickenham, South West London, said: ‘He asked how I was and I said, ‘It’s lovely to see you back.’ I asked him for a hug and he said of course. I felt terrific getting a hug from him.’
Reshma, from Pinner, North London, told William she had lost her parents recently. ‘I asked him how his children were coping and he said they were well. I told him his parents would now be looking down on them all.’
Abul Taher and Charlie Moloney