Palace hits back over claim Prince Harry was ‘last-to-know’ about Queen’s death

Palace aides reacted angrily to claims last night that Prince Harry had been given just five minutes’ notice of his grandmother’s death before it was made public.

A newspaper report said the devastated royal had been the last to know about her passing – and was even told after Prime Minister Liz Truss. The Daily Telegraph suggested this was a further example of the rift between the prince and his family of him.

But there was clear irritation at Buckingham Palace that such claims had emerged on the eve of the Queen’s funeral, which was considered hugely disrespectful.

Palace aides reacted angrily to claims last night that Prince Harry (pictured walking behind Queen Elizabeth's coffin on Wednesday) had been given just five minutes' notice of his grandmother's death before it was made public

Palace aides reacted angrily to claims last night that Prince Harry (pictured walking behind Queen Elizabeth’s coffin on Wednesday) had been given just five minutes’ notice of his grandmother’s death before it was made public

In a rare statement on such a private matter, a spokesman for the King stressed: ‘The public was only informed after every family member had been informed.’

The Mail understands that while it is true that Harry was told shortly before the news became public, the reason for this was because he was on a flight to Scotland and therefore not contactable.

Last night, the original story had been taken down from The Telegraph website. An amended one was then published claiming that Harry was not treated differently to other family members.

It comes as a friend of the Sussex yesterday described the decision to exclude Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from last night’s ‘reception of the century’ at Buckingham Palace as ‘beyond bonkers’.

The friend claimed that the Sussexes will feel ‘excluded’ after they were apparently ‘uninvited’ to a state event for 1,000 world leaders and foreign royals attending the Queen’s funeral.

It is thought Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle received an invitation to the event, hosted by King Charles and the Queen Consort.

But officials at Buckingham Palace later insisted the reception was for working royals only, it is understood.

A friend of the Sussexes told The Sunday Times: ‘It is beyond bonkers if they’re not there. Everyone is coming in from around the world to pay their respects to the Queen.’

The confusion over Harry and Meghan’s invitation points to issues with communication between the Californian-based couple and the Royal Family, according to the Daily Telegraph.

It follows an apparent U-turn over Harry’s right to wear military uniform despite being a non-working royal.

Prince Harry was reportedly left ‘devastated’ after the Queen’s ‘ER’ initials were removed from the shoulder of his military uniform as he held vigil by her coffin last night – after Prince Andrew was allowed to keep the royal cypher.

The source said yesterday that the flip-flopping over uniform and the Buckingham Palace reception could make him feel as if ‘the majority of the operation is against you. It’s hard — nobody likes to feel like they’re being excluded.’

Prince William (left) wore the ER initials on the shoulder of his military uniform last night, but the cypher was removed from that of Prince Harry's

Prince William (left) wore the ER initials on the shoulder of his military uniform last night, but the cypher was removed from that of Prince Harry’s

Prince Andrew, who is also no longer a working royal, retained the initials on his vice-admiral's uniform as the Queen's children held vigil on Friday

Prince Andrew, who is also no longer a working royal, retained the initials on his vice-admiral’s uniform as the Queen’s children held vigil on Friday

Prince Harry pictured with the ER initials on the shoulder of his military uniform as he attended the Founder's Day Parade at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, in June 2019

Prince Harry pictured with the ER initials on the shoulder of his military uniform as he attended the Founder’s Day Parade at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, in June 2019

William and Harry stood either end of the Queen's coffin as her grandchildren held vigil last night, while mourners continued to file past

William and Harry stood either end of the Queen’s coffin as her grandchildren held vigil last night, while mourners continued to file past

Harry’s despair is understood to largely center around Prince Andrew, who is also no longer a working royal, having retained the initials on his vice-admiral’s uniform as the Queen’s children held a vigil on Friday night.

The Duke of Sussex was a Personal Aide de Camp of the Queen and, as a result, had previously worn the cypher. But it was among the posts he resigned when he stepped down from royal duties and moved to California.

The ‘ER’ initials are traditionally only worn by those ‘in service’ of the monarch, and so the absence of the cypher is thought to be down to dress regulations as opposed to a direct snub of the prince.

But such was his despair, Harry is said to have considered wearing a morning suit as they were leaving in order to avoid the embarrassment last night.

A friend told the newspaper: ‘He is heartbroken. To remove his grandmother’s initials feels very intentional.’

It comes amid hopes of reconciliation between the brother’s following the Queen’s death, with the princes standing side by side as they walked behind her coffin as it was moved to lie in state at the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday.

It was a poignant moment that drew comparisons to walking behind the coffin of their mother Princess Diana at her funeral in 1997.

That came after William and Harry put on an unexpected united front with their respective wives Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle during a walkabout outside Windsor Castle on Saturday.

But sources close to the brothers are understood to have said there has been ‘no meaningful rapprochement’ as of yet.

They joined other royals for dinner at Buckingham Palace as they received the Queen’s coffin at Buckingham Palace this week.

However, conversations between the two are still largely via aides than direct contact, despite the close proximity of their Windsor homes.

As Harry was driving with Meghan as he celebrated his 38th birthday on Thursday, they had a chance encounter with William as the Prince of Wales was returning home after collecting his three children from school.

The brothers initially drove past each other, before stopping, reversing and winding down their windows for a chat.

The eight sombre grandchildren pictured arriving at Westminster Hall last night, led to the coffin by the Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex

The eight sombre grandchildren pictured arriving at Westminster Hall last night, led to the coffin by the Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex

Mourners watched as the vigil was held for the Queen in Westminster Hall by her eight grandchildren on Saturday evening

Mourners watched as the vigil was held for the Queen in Westminster Hall by her eight grandchildren on Saturday evening

But while William understands the interest in the relationship with his brother, he is ‘solely focused’ on honoring the Queen.

Harry closely followed his brother as they led the Queen’s grandchildren to hold the vigil by the Queen’s coffin last night.

Prince William was wearing the Blues and Royals, No.1 Uniform, The Garter Sash, The Garter Star, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals and RAF Pilot Wings.

Harry, meanwhile, was wearing the Blues and Royals, No.1 Uniform, KCVO Neck Order and Star, Afghanistan Operational Service Medal, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals and Army Pilot Wings.

Meanwhile, a source close to Harry said being back in his brother’s company again had at times been ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘difficult’ this week.

And reconciliation is said to remain difficult while Harry’s memoir and the Sussexes Netflix documentary linger over the Royal Family.

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