In less than two weeks’ time, Prince Harry will return to the UK to attend the annual WellChild Awards in London.
Even though the charity event will be held the day before the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s passing, insiders say Harry has no plans to spend time with family during his brief trip to London.
The day after the awards, he’ll head to Dusseldorf for the Invictus Games, the annual athletic competition for wounded veterans that Harry co-founded in 2014.
There, he’ll be joined by wife Meghan Markle who, interestingly, has decided not to join her husband on the London leg of his journey.
Needless to say, much is being made of Meghan’s decision to steer clear of the UK and the in-laws with whom she repeatedly clashed during the short time she lived there.
It won’t be the first time that Harry has returned to London without Meghan by his side.
He made the trip for Charles’ coronation back in May, and again the following month, when he gave testimony in his lawsuit against The Sun.
But this time, many critics in the UK are taking Meghan’s absence as a personal affront.
They reason that it would be easier for the Sussexes to travel together and stop in London on their way to Dusseldorf.
Therefore, Meghan’s decision to side-step the UK and take a separate flight meet Harry in Germany is being viewed by some Brits as an intentional display of disrespect.
One pundit has even gone so far as to claim that this is Meghan’s way of sending the message that she’ll never again set foot on British soil.
“The message from Meghan couldn’t be clearer. She is never going to set foot in the grey, cake-filled, miserable UK again if she can possibly help it,” wrote columnist Jan Moir in the Daily Mail on Sunday.
“Perhaps being forbidden to attend the Queen’s deathbed at Balmoral — to shed light, to empower, to recommend a turmeric cleanse and some yoga stretches to the woman she never knew as Gan-Gan — was the last straw.”
Yes, like so many embittered Brits, Moir likes to poke fun at Meghan’s image as a SoCal bohemian, even though the duchess has never given any indication that she’s interested in chakras or astrology.
The trolls who have made their living hurling insults at Meghan long ago realized that their comments don’t need to be witty — or even coherent — so long as they’re needlessly spiteful.
But while Moir might be an outlier in that she’s astonishingly unfunny even by the standards of UK tabloid hacks, her commentary otherwise aligns perfectly with the rest of the unhinged cranks who have made careers out of spewing vitriol at the duchess.
All of them have remained steadfast in their belief that Meghan is the sole cause of Harry’s beef with his family.
They’re also convinced that she’s the only one who can heal the rift, and she simply chooses not to, for reasons that remain unclear.
“If there is a role for her as wifely appeaser to help heal the rift between her husband and his family, she has chosen to avoid that, too,” Moir wrote.
“But there is a puzzling disconnect about all this bitter friction. The Duke and Duchess keep embracing big themes such as reconciliation and family,” she added.
“They talk earnestly of healing, humanity and hope but, somehow, never apply these messages to themselves and their relationships with their families, which are as toxic as a giant hogweed swamp.”
Yes, the idea that an American temptress weaseled her way into the British Royal Family and undid the centuries-old institution from within is a very attractive one to a certain breed of dusty old grump.
But an insider close to the situation offers a very different explanation for why Harry will be traveling solo when he returns to the UK next month.
The source tells OK! magazine that Harry is keen to play peacemaker, and he wants to defuse the situation on his own before Meghan re-enters the minefield of Buckingham Palace.
“Harry is more than happy to meet with his father to thrash things out, but Meghan will be accompanying him on his trip to Europe and he doesn’t want to leave her out,” says the insider.
“Discussions have been ongoing to bring the King together with his son but it hasn’t been the right time,” the source continues.
“Talks were originally meant to take place when Harry was over for the Coronation, but aides thought it would be far too stressful for the King to meet with his son during that time.
“Everyone is now working toward 17 September as a date that both Charles and Harry can attend, so the finer details are being worked through between their teams.”
So perhaps by the end of next month, Meghan will be joining Harry in the apartment he recently rented in Kensington Palace.
If nothing else, such a triumphant return would be a delightful way to stick it to her haters, many of whom love to complain about Meg’s absence while secretly hoping that she’ll remain far, far away!