Princes William and Harry greet the mourners with Catherine and Meghan

Princes William and Harry – along with their wives – made a rare joint appearance on Saturday, greeting well-wishers who had gathered outside Windsor Castle, near London, to mourn Queen Elizabeth II.

The brothers have reportedly become estranged since Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, completed their highly publicized split from royal life and moved to North America. Harry and William were last pictured together following the death of Prince Philip in April 2021, and the two couples have not been seen together in public for several years.

When the Sussexes lived in the UK, Meghan had a bitter relationship with much of the British tabloids that continues to this day. They accused the tabloids of inciting racism against the Duchess; They also claimed that there was institutional racism within the monarchy and that Buckingham Palace had failed to protect Meghan. In recent days, as the spotlight has intensified on the two couples, Meghan has also been the target of abuse on social media.

Also, Harry’s lone arrival at Balmoral Castle in Scotland before his grandmother’s death had become a topic of conversation on Thursday. British media reported that King Charles III. Harry had said it was inappropriate for Meghan to travel with him to Balmoral before the Queen’s death, as they apparently intended.

But Saturday’s public appearance was the latest sign the royals could mend relations as they come together to mourn the death of their family matriarch. In his first televised address from Buckingham Palace on Friday, Charles expressed his love for Harry and Meghan “as they continue to build their lives abroad.”

Harry is fifth in line to the throne, despite a controversial decision to step down from his royal duties and move to the United States with Meghan and their two children, Archie and Lilibet.

After the Queen’s death and Charles’ accession, the two Sussex children are entitled to the titles of Prince and Princess. This right stems from King George V’s 1917 Protocols, which state that the sovereign’s children and grandchildren are automatically granted the royal titles. (The Palace’s official successor list still calls them Master Archie and Miss Lilibet.)

Among the many jaw-dropping claims made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last year was the claim that Buckingham Palace planned to deny Archie the princely title – a decision Meghan called and suspected hurtful that it was driven by institutional racism within the monarchy.

In another interview, Harry said he was considering the term “Megxit” – which was coined after he and his wife announced in January 2020 that they were stepping down from their roles as senior members of the royal family and splitting their time between the UK and North America would – “misogynist”.

The prince and his wife have frequently emphasized how much online hate and misinformation can affect emotional health and mental well-being.

A spokesman for William said he invited his brother and sister-in-law to join him and Catherine to meet mourners and watch tributes in Windsor.

The couple spent just over 30 minutes speaking to members of the public before departing in a car driven by William, who became Prince of Wales after his father’s accession to the throne.

“The Waleses were always scheduled to greet well-wishers at Windsor Castle but royal sources say the decision to invite the Sussexes was made at the eleventh hour,” royal observer Omid Scobie wrote on Twitter. “It is without a doubt a significant moment in the history of the relationship between the two brothers.”

The succession of Queen Elizabeth II visualized

Royal Observer Camilla Tominey said that William – who is next in line to the throne – showed he was living after his grandmother’s example when he approached Harry to join him on Saturday and “put the rift aside”. .

She described it as “one of the most remarkable walkabouts in modern royal history” and an episode that would make the late Queen proud.

“Queen Elizabeth II famously said that ‘it’s often the small steps, not the big leaps, that bring about the most lasting change,'” Tominey wrote in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper.

Pannett reported from Sydney. Jennifer Hassan in London contributed to this report.

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