Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Queen Ellizabeth before the Invictus Games

LONDON — Prince Harry and Meghan had an unannounced visit this week with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles in what has been described by royal observers as a possible sign of reconciliation within the wider royal family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stopped by Windsor as they were en route to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games, the competition that the prince founded. It’s the first time the couple has been seen together in the United Kingdom since stepping down as working royals two years ago. The visit caught the media by surprise.

Ingrid Seward, editor in chief of Majesty Magazine, told the Sun tabloid that the visit was an opportunity to “clear the air and offer an olive branch.”

“The Windsors are a fractured family, with hurt on all sides. A brief visit is a start, but not the resolution. It’s notable that Harry and William didn’t attempt to meet up — their relationship clearly remains profoundly damaged,” tweeted Peter Hunt, a royal commentator.

In an interview last year with Oprah Winfrey, Harry said his father and brother were “trapped” within their royal lives, and described his relationship with William as one of “space.”

Harry’s absence at his grandfather Prince Philip’s memorial service in London last month was widely criticized by the British tabloids.

Harry is in an ongoing legal fight with the British government after being informed that he would no longer be given the police protection that he received when he was a senior royal, despite his offer to pay for the security himself. Harry said his security was compromised when he was last in the United Kingdom for the unveiling of a statue of his mother, Princess Diana.

Royal commentators say that Harry is a much loved grandson and he is in regular touch with the queen, who has been based at Windsor Castle since the start of the pandemic. The queen recently commented on her own bout with covid, saying that it left “one very tired and exhausted.”

The Invictus Games is a sporting competition for wounded veterans. The Sussexes are expected to spend the next week in the Netherlands supporting the games, which feature teams from around the world, including Ukraine.

Media speculation continues over whether Harry and Meghan might pop back to the United Kingdom next week for the queen’s 96th birthday.

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