Next King Charles III first speech as monarch, royal expert Gareth Russell weighed why he considers the mention of the new sovereign of Prince Harry as well as Meghan Markle was intended as an “olive branch” for the couple.
“I wasn’t surprised, I was pleased,” Russell said, exclusively to Us weekly on Friday, September 9, referring to Charles, 73, expressing his “love” to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they “continue to build their lives overseas” in California. “I think the king has made it very clear that he wants to heal the split. Family dynamics are always complex, of course, but I think we can all see that there’s a lot of pain in them.”
Queen Mother “Let’s Have Another Drink” The author explained that in “times of death” and “grief” there is an opportunity to build bridges – something he thinks the king has always wanted when it comes to Harry, 37, and his wife, 41.
The father-son duo is infamous for falling out when the Invictus Games founder and Suits alum decided to step down from his full-time royal duties in January 2020 and move to the United States. In March 2021, the Duke revealed that he had “two conversations” with the King about his plans to retreat before “he stopped answering my calls”.
However, royal expert Russell believes that Charles always only wanted the best for his sons. “The King, even when he was the Prince of Wales, I think he made it clear that he would like a better relationship with the Duke of Sussex,” shared the native of Northern Ireland. “So let’s hope the olive branch is what works.”
While Charles may be hoping to ease family rifts, he may have to wait until the end of the official period of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, who died at her Balmoral estate in Scotland on Thursday, September 8, aged 96.
According to Russell, the monarch “will tour all four countries of the United Kingdom”, giving the king a few days to visit his people.
Before the funeral, which will take place sometime early next week, Elizabeth’s body is expected to be brought to London to rest – presumably me at Westminster Hall. According to Russell, the moving of the body is being done so that British citizens can “walk past the coffin to pay their respects.”
After the late Queen’s mother, Elizabeth, passed away in 2002, more than 250,000 people traveled to Westminster to pay their respects, just a small part of what is expected at the Empress’ memorial.
As for the funeral itself, Russell said it would be a chance “for both the family and the country to express their grief in historical terms,” adding that it would be “unlike anything we’ve seen in our lives.”
He shared, “The presence of royal families from abroad is expected, as well as representatives of dozens of foreign governments. And as part of the late Queen’s last will, she wanted to be buried at Windsor next to her husband, Prince Philip, and also very close to her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret.”
Elizabeth, who was the longest-reigning British monarch of all time, spent 70 years on the throne until her death on Thursday. The popular author believes this achievement is reflected in the “smoothness” of the recent royal succession, emphasizing how the royal matriarch “fought for the right cause” and “finished the race” in the right way.
“[What] she would have considered paramount in her life the continuity of the fact that it was passed down from her to her eldest son in such a way that it comforted people and calmed the political tensions in Britain for a while, ”Russell explained. “It’s a testament to the popularity and respect she had that this institution was able to continue into the next generation as it was.”
Reporting by Christina Garibaldi