The Queen marked her 96th birthday today with a drive in the Spring sunshine at her beloved Sandringham as her family paid tribute to the ‘inspirational’ monarch after Prince Harry‘s US TV truth bombs caused ructions on her special day.
Despite her grandson’s incendiary comments appearing to question those around her – and him opening up to NBC about their ‘private’ time together – Her Majesty looked happy and relaxed as she chatted away to her bodyguard as he drove her through the grounds of the Norfolk estate also treasured by her late husband Prince Philip.
Wearing sunglasses and a trademark headscarf, the royal is believed to have her dogs in the back of the Range Rover. In the past she would have driven them herself, but she has been suffering increasing mobility issues.
She is staying at Wood Farm – the farmhouse that the Duke of Edinburgh made his retirement home – where it is expected she will be visited by friends and family over the next few days.
Her friend and loyal confidante Angela Kelly arrived for a visit this morning. The 64-year-old, known as the Queen’s ‘gatekeeper’, has been given permission to re-publish her best-selling book about her 28-year career at Her Majesty’s side with a new chapter and photos detailing the last two difficult years including her part in the ‘HMS Bubble’ set up to protect the monarch at the height of the pandemic.
The Queen was seen for the first time since Prince Harry his grandmother needs extra protection in comments that threaten to undermine her birthday and a row over security that could overshadow her historic Platinum Jubilee.
Her Majesty is celebrating her birthday with her typical lack of fuss today – and tributes have poured in from her family including William and Kate. To mark the occasion, a glorious photograph has been released of Her Majesty standing with two of her own favourite fell ponies, Bybeck Nightingale and Bybeck Katie.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared a picture of them with the Queen, and one with the monarch’s great-grandchildren, and said on Instagram: ‘Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very happy 96th birthday today! An inspiration to so many across the UK, the Commonwealth and the world, it’s particularly special to be celebrating in this Platinum Jubilee year’. Prince Charles shared a series of images of his smiling mother through her life – as well as with him and his wife Camilla – with the caption: ‘Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a particularly special 96th birthday today, as we celebrate her Platinum Jubilee year’.
The Queen happily chatted as she went for a drive on her 96th birthday, which she is celebrating at Sandringham today
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex visits Wheelchair Rugby during the 5th the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark in The Hague yesterday. Her Majesty (right today) is believed to be seeing family and friends at her Norfolk home
A new portrait of the Queen which has been released by The Royal Windsor Horse Show to mark the occasion of her 96th birthday today. The monarch is in Sandringham today
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge talk to aid workers during a visit the London headquarters of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to learn about the ongoing support for people affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Harry’s latest TV interview may worsen relations with his brother and sister in law
The Band of the Coldstream Guards (top left), play Happy Birthday to mark the 96th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, alongside the 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards during Changing the Guard at Windsor Castle today
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire a 41 Gun Royal Salute in Hyde Park, London, to mark the 96th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II
So who are the ‘right’ people, Harry? Six of the Queen’s most trusted friends & advisors
Sir Edward Young: The Queen’s private secretary is one of the most important members of the Royal Household, having joined in 2004 and is the official ‘channel of communication between the head of state and the government’ according to Buckingham Palace.
Angela Kelly: The Queen’s dresser, aide and confidante who has spent 20 years in service to the monarch and was permitted to write a memoir of her time at the palace. She was allegedly involved in the Tiaragate affair involving Meghan Markle’s wedding tiara in 2018.
Princess Alexandra of Kent: The Queen’s cousin is a working royal who was one of her bridesmaids at her wedding. She is 57th in line to the throne, having been born in sixth position in 1936, and has represented the Queen both in Britain and abroad.
Susan Rhodes: Part of HMS Bubble who protected the Queen at Windsor Castle at the height of the pandemic, and become one of her ladies-in-waiting in 2017. She is married to Simon Rhodes, son of the Queen’s cousin Margaret Rhodes.
Lady Susan Hussey: As one of the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, she has been with the monarch since 1960 and was dubbed ‘number one Head Girl’. She was also in HMS Bubble and travelled with the Queen to St George’s Chapel for Prince Philip’s funeral in 2021.
Lady Sarah Chatto: Lady Sarah is the daughter of Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon and has previously been described as the Queen’s ‘absolute favourite younger royal’. She is a successful artist and is 28th in line to the throne.
The official Twitter account of the British monarchy also recognised the Queen’s milestone with a black and white photograph of the then Princess Elizabeth.
The tribute read: ‘Happy Birthday Your Majesty!
‘Today as The Queen turns 96, we’re sharing this photograph of the young Princess Elizabeth aged 2.
‘Then, in 1928, it was never expected she would be Queen, and this year Her Majesty is celebrating her Platinum Jubilee – a first in British history’.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has paid tribute to the Queen for her ‘dedicated and faultless service’ over 70 years.
Addressing the Queen in a pre-recorded video posted on Twitter, Mr Johnson said: ‘I’m delighted to wish your majesty a very happy birthday and to pay my heartfelt tribute to your 70 years of dedicated and faultless service to our country and the Commonwealth.
‘Millions of people cherish a particular moment of your reign, and for me, it has to be the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012, when your majesty arrived, at least figuratively, by jumping from a helicopter escorted by James Bond.
‘And then the trumpets sounded, and your majesty made your entrance and the entire stadium rose as one and burst into applause. Thousands of people from almost every country in the world, with a billion more watching at home.
‘And that fantastic moment showed yet again your majesty’s unique ability to bring people together in joyful harmony.
‘And as we look forward to celebrating your Platinum Jubilee in June, our hearts swell with appreciation and pride that your majesty is our Queen.’
But her aides were left reeling after Harry’s NBC TV appearance in which the prince opened up on his ‘special’ relationship with his grandmother, and his very public claim that she confides in him things she can’t talk to anyone else about. And in a barbed comment he said of his visit: ‘I’m just making sure that she’s protected and got the right people around her’.
Buckingham Palace pointedly chose not to comment on more provocation from her Montecito-based grandson. Prince Charles is said to be at the end of his tether with his youngest son as palace staff who cared for Her Majesty throughout the pandemic accused the Duke of Sussex of ‘breathtaking arrogance’.
He also risked further fuelling the rift with his estranged older brother by stating that their late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was now watching over him from beyond the grave as ‘she’s done her bit’ with Prince William and his family.
Royal expert Penny Junor said of Harry: ‘He’s a loose cannon. He was a loose cannon as a teenager and a young man. He came spectacularly good when he was in the Army and with his charity work. Then, after his marriage, things seemed to go to pot again and he is unpredictable in the things he has said and done’.
Ms Junor said that she believes that Harry’s interventions will foster more distrust with his family and palace aides, who will fear there will be more to come on Netflix, Spotify and in his upcoming memoirs, which are bringing in tens of millions of pounds for him and his family.
She told The Sun: ‘When he had a conversation with his father and William after Prince Philip’s funeral that was leaked and then reported by Gayle King on CBS in America days later so I think the family should be wary of him if he comes to the Platinum Jubilee.
‘He is under contract to Netflix for a lot of money and they are going to get their money’s worth.
‘I fear he has slightly sold his soul to the devil. Any network is hungry for news and gossip about the Royal Family and the closer you can get to the real deal the better. And he is the real deal. You can’t have a situation where Netflix or any other US channel is going to be reporting private conversations. I fear no good can come of this.’
William and Kate posted this happy birthday message to the Queen as Harry also risked worsening the rift between the brothers
Prince Charles shared a series of images of his smiling mother through her life – as well as with him and his wife Camilla – with the caption: ‘Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a particularly special 96th birthday today, as we celebrate her Platinum Jubilee year’.
Harry, 37, was speaking to breakfast show Today (pictured above, with presenter Hoda Kotb) from the Invictus Games in the Netherlands, where he is spending the week after flying in from California with wife Meghan. His remarks have caused more upset for the royal family, experts have said
Prince Harry and Meghan visit the sitting volleyball section of the fifth edition of the Invictus Games in The Hague on April 17. Harry will not say if he and his family will attend the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
Prince William, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Meghan Camilla and the Duchess of Cambridge follow the Queen during the annual Commonwealth Service in London on March 9, 2020
Harry’s decision to acrimoniously quit as a working royal and spend the last two years making a string of damning accusations against his family from across the Atlantic in California is understood to have caused the Queen great heartache because she is known to adore him.
Prince Harry on secret Queen trip, how America is ‘home’ and whether he misses William & Charles
- On visiting the Queen: ‘Being with her, it was great. It was just so nice to see her. You know, she’s on great form. She has always got a great sense of humour with me and I’m just making sure she’s protected and has got the right people around her.’
- On the best thing about the Queen: ‘Her sense of humour and her ability to see the humour in so many different things. We have a really special relationship. We talk about things that she can’t talk about with anybody else, so that is always a nice peace to her. But I think she’s… I think after a certain age you get bored of birthdays.’
- On whether he misses William and Charles: ‘Look I mean, for me at the moment, I’m here focused on these guys and these families and giving everything that I can, 120 per cent to them to make sure they have the experience of a lifetime. That’s my focus here. And when I leave here, I get back and my focus is on my family who I miss massively.’
- On whether he will attend the Platinum Jubilee celebrations: ‘I don’t know yet. There’s lots of things with security issues and everything else. This is what I’m trying to do, trying to make it possible that I can get my kids to meet her.’
- On Archie: ‘He’s into the why stage. Why this? Why that? Why that? And instead of just trying to move it on, I give him the most honest answer I can. And then it goes on and on and on until he’s satisfied. And then that’s it. It’s done. Otherwise it ends up with – because the world is round and that it is the way life is.’
- On America being his new home: ‘Home for me now is, you know, for the time being, it’s in the States. And it feels that way as well.’
- On his late mother Princess Diana: ‘It is almost as though she’s done her bit with my brother and now she’s very much, like, helping me. Got him set up. And now she’s helping me set up. That’s what it feels like, you know? He’s got his kids. I’ve got my kids, you know the circumstances are obviously different. But now, I feel her presence in almost everything that I do now. But definitely more so in the last two years than ever before. Without question. So she’s watching over us.’
Yet despite speaking to US network NBC he boasted about his special bond with the monarch – and how he makes her laugh – yet still refused to commit to attending her Jubilee celebrations. He again blamed ‘security issues’ for being unwilling to commit to him, Meghan, Archie, two, and Lilibet, 10 months, joining Her Majesty and the rest of his British family to mark the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.
Harry and Meghan made a secret visit to Windsor last week before the Invictus Games but in his High Court battle with the Government he has said he ‘does not feel safe’ in the UK. Former royal bodyguards have insisted that when with the Royal Family or on royal property, the Sussexes would be fully protected by armed police.
To mark her birthday today, a glorious photograph has been released of her standing with two of her own favourite fell ponies, Bybeck Nightingale and Bybeck Katie.
Taken in the grounds of Windsor Castle in front of a spectacular magnolia tree last month, the picture – seen on today’s front page – was released by the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which the Queen has attended every year since its inception in 1943.
The show will put on a Platinum Jubilee extravaganza featuring more than 500 horses and 1,000 performers. ‘It is an event she holds great affection for,’ a source said.
Although she has not been able to ride for several months, the Queen has ridden horses since the age of three and is passionate about everything equestrian.
The Queen has been suffering increasing mobility issues, and royal aides have indicated she cannot yet commit to any of the events planned to mark her 70 historic years on the throne.
But it is understood staff are ‘moving heaven and Earth’ to ensure she can attend the Platinum Jubilee Epsom Derby in Surrey – and perhaps bag the win that has so far eluded her. This includes changing the route of her official car so that it can pull up directly outside the Queen’s stand, leaving a short walk of a few yards to the lift straight up to her seat in the Royal Box.
Prince Charles is at the end of his tether with Harry, a royal expert has said – as palace staff accused the Duke of ‘breathtaking arrogance’ over a TV interview in which he claimed he wanted to ‘protect’ the Queen.
In a chat with US breakfast show Today, which aired on Wednesday, the Duke refused to say whether he misses his father Charles and brother Prince William.
He also insisted that he speaks with the Queen ‘about things she can’t talk about with anybody else’ and is ‘making sure she has the right people around her’.
Harry and his wife Meghan had earlier visited the monarch for supposed ‘olive branch’ talks at Windsor Castle and met with Charles for just 15 minutes before flying out to Holland for the Invictus Games on what was the couple’s first public appearance in Europe together in two years.
Robert Jobson, who co-wrote the book Diana: Closely Guarded Secret, claimed the Prince of Wales had only agreed to the meeting on the condition that ‘nothing would be said of him whatsoever’ on American TV.
The royal correspondent told GB News: ‘Prince Charles has reached the end of his tether, they haven’t been in contact and had they have started blurting about that meeting, that would have been the end of it.’
He said Harry turned up late for the meeting, adding: ‘All families have problems, but you don’t go blurting off to your next door neighbour as soon as you’ve had a meeting.
‘Prince Charles thought if these conversations are out in public then I’m not putting up with it and he’s drinking at the last chance saloon.’
The comments came as royal staff said Harry’s self-delusion knew ‘no bounds’ and insisted the Queen ‘just doesn’t deserve this’ as she celebrates turning 96 today.
Words about Diana that could anger Wills
Their relationship is already hanging by a thread. And Harry’s comments about their late mother Princess Diana are unlikely to heal any wounds with his estranged elder brother, Prince William.
He told NBC Today’s Hoda Kotb he believed Diana was now watching over him as ‘she’s done her bit with my brother’.
Asked whether he felt his ‘mum’s presence’, Harry said: ‘It’s constant. It has been over the past two years, more so than ever before.
‘It’s almost as though she’s done her bit with my brother and now she’s very much helping me. She’s got him set up, and now she’s helping me set up. That’s what it feels like. He’s got his kids, I’ve got my kids.
‘The circumstances are obviously different. I feel her presence in almost everything I do, but definitely in the last two years than before without question. She’s watching over us.’
Kensington Palace declined to comment. But his words are likely to anger William, who has made clear he finds any sense of ‘ownership’ over Diana’s memory ‘crass’.
Buckingham Palace was left reeling after the prince said in the US TV appearance that his ‘special’ relationship with his grandmother meant she told him things she would keep from others.
Harry also risked further fuelling the rift with his estranged brother by stating that their mother Diana was watching over him from beyond the grave because she had ‘done her bit’ with William and his family.
His remarks about the Queen prompted an unprecedented intervention from Downing Street, which dismissed Harry’s suggestion that the Queen needed extra protection. Asked whether the Prime Minister was confident in the arrangements for ensuring the Queen’s welfare, Boris Johnson’s spokesman replied: ‘Yes.’
The couple stopped off en route to see the Queen at Windsor Castle last Thursday, the first time the Duchess of Sussex has set foot in the UK for more than two years. Harry had not seen his grandmother since early last summer.
While the palace has refused to comment on the meeting, Harry, who is being accompanied by a film crew from Netflix with whom he has signed a production deal, was happy to chat to a journalist from US network NBC about their ‘private’ time together.
The prince appeared to make a pointed swipe at royal household staff, including the so-called ‘men in grey suits’ who advise the Queen – and possibly even his own family.
Speaking of his meeting with his grandmother, Harry said: ‘It was great. It was really nice to see her in some element of privacy. Being with her it was great, it was just so nice to see her, she’s on great form.
‘She’s always got a great sense of humour with me and I’m just making sure that she’s protected and got the right people around her. Both Meghan and I had tea with her, so it was really nice to catch up with her. We have a really special relationship, we talk about things that she can’t talk about with anybody else.’
Harry’s decision to acrimoniously quit as a working royal and spend the past two years making a string of damning accusations against his family is understood to have caused the Queen great heartache.
A spokesman for the prince reportedly refused to explain his remarks in the interview further last night. Buckingham Palace pointedly chose not to comment, as did Kensington Palace on behalf of William.
But one well-placed royal source told the Daily Mail of the sense of shock at his ‘breathtaking arrogance’ and made clear that many felt Harry’s delusion knew ‘no bounds’.
Buckingham Palace was left reeling after the prince said in the US TV appearance that his ‘special’ relationship with his grandmother (both pictured in 2019) meant she told him things she would keep from others
Harry also risked further fuelling the rift with his estranged brother by stating that their mother Diana beyond the grave because she had ‘done her bit’ with William and his family
The Duke of Cambridge, Prince Charles and Prince Harry looking at a mobile phone during day two of the Invictus Games at Lee Valley Athletics Centre in London
During the interview the prince, who is still sixth in line to the throne, also made clear that he was planning to remain in the US for the foreseeable future and did not see the UK as his ‘home’. Pictured: Harry and Meghan on April 17
‘It is the Queen’s birthday and despite a difficult year people are working full steam ahead on making her Platinum Jubilee an event to remember that properly honours such a remarkable woman. She just doesn’t deserve this,’ they said.
‘I have no idea what intention he may or may not have had in saying this, but Harry needs to start thinking before he opens his mouth.’
During the interview the prince, who is still sixth in line to the throne, also made clear that he was planning to remain in the US for the foreseeable future and did not see the UK as his ‘home’.
There has been speculation over whether he and his family will make a palace balcony appearance with the Queen during commemorations for her jubilee. But when asked about returning for June’s celebrations he made clear this was not a done deal.
Harry is to sue the Home Office for the decision to pull his taxpayer-funded, 24-hour police protection when he left Britain.
He claims that he does not feel safe bringing his family – children Archie and Lili – back to the UK and wants it reinstated, even if he pays for it himself.
Taking aim at the family he owes his fortune to… the barbs that stunned the Palace
By Rebecca English Royal Editor for the Daily Mail
The smooth build-up to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations was thrown off course yesterday by Prince Harry’s extraordinary interview. In it, he said:
The Queen and me
Speaking to US network NBC’s Today show from the Netherlands, where he is attending the Invictus Games, Harry, 37, was asked about his reunion with the Queen at Windsor on Thursday last week.
Buckingham Palace has maintained a dignified silence on the meeting – in part out of respect to the monarch, who loves her grandson – but Harry did not choose to issue a polite ‘no comment’.
In fact he went further. He said it was refreshing to meet her ‘in some element of privacy’, and made the extraordinary claim that he wants to ‘protect’ his grandmother, apparently suggesting she was not being well served by some of the ‘people around her’.
Interviewer Hoda Kotb asked: ‘How did it feel being back, being with her?’
Harry replied: ‘It was great. It was so nice to see her. She’s on great form. She’s always got a great sense of humour with me. Just making sure she’s protected and got the right people around her.’
Speaking to US network NBC’s Today show from the Netherlands, where he is attending the Invictus Games, Harry, 37, was asked about his reunion with the Queen at Windsor on Thursday last week
It is not clear exactly what he meant. Was he referring to the loyal members of the Royal Family – the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – none of whom have uttered a word about recent events?
Or did he mean she was being let down by her staff? Harry has frequently revealed that he, like his mother before him, has an inherent distrust of the ‘men in grey suits’ around the royals.
But as well as senior courtiers, the Queen is also served by long-standing and loyal personal staff including her confidante Angela Kelly, her page ‘Tall Paul’ Whybrew and Master of the Household Vice Admiral Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt, all of whom have her best interests firmly at heart.
There are also questions over how Harry, no longer a working member of the Royal Family – and who claims he cannot even come to the UK because he fears for his family’s safety – is able to ‘protect’ the Queen.
I’m her confidant
Harry went on to claim that the Queen tells him things she feels she cannot tell anyone else.
He said: ‘We have a really special relationship. We talk about things that she can’t talk about with anybody else. So that’s always a nice piece to it.’
That Harry has always enjoyed a good relationship with his grandmother is of no doubt. The monarch most definitely has a soft spot for him and he has always been able to persuade her to step out of her comfort zone.
When he started the Invictus Games, the Queen was so proud that she agreed to star in a viral social media skit with him. But the idea that she would discuss anything with him that she would not discuss with Charles, William or any other close members of her family, was greeted with derision by some insiders yesterday.
UK no longer home
The prince made clear that he has firmly settled in California. He said: ‘Home for me now is for the time being… in the States and it feels that way. We’ve been welcomed with open arms and have a great community in Santa Barbara.’ He moved with Meghan to Montecito, California, after their decision to step down as senior royals in 2020.
The balcony at the Jubilee?
Don’t be so sure…When questioned about whether the Queen would be bored with her Platinum Jubilee, Harry replied with a laugh: ‘No, I don’t think so. She’s had a few jubilees now, every one is slightly different but I’m sure she’s looking forward to it.’
In recent days there has been fevered speculation about whether the prince will make a appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony with the Queen.
The Mail’s sources have always issued caution over this, stressing: ‘He only met with his grandmother last week. There’s a lot of ground to be covered between now and June. It is by no means a done deal in any way, shape or form.’ When Miss Kotb asked Harry if he would return to the United Kingdom for the Jubilee, he said: ‘I don’t know yet, there’s lots of things – security issues and everything else.
‘So this is what I’m trying to do, trying to make it possible that, you know, I can get my kids to meet her.’
The prince made clear that he has firmly settled in California. He said: ‘Home for me now is for the time being… in the States and it feels that way’
The prince has launched a High Court legal action against the Home Office for stripping him of his round-the-clock police protection when he and Meghan quit as senior royals.
His critics believe Harry has boxed himself into a corner with this latest in a long line of legal actions, making it impossible for him to bring his children Archie, two, and ten-month-old Lilibet to the UK.
Harry – who claims part of the reason he wanted to quit as a working royal was because of his lack of privacy – spoke at length about his children.
Speaking of his pride at being a father, he said: ‘I love every part of it. I always wanted to be a dad and now I have two little people I’m responsible for.’ Harry said he tells Archie about his late ‘Grandma Diana’, although not her entire life story.
Asked about his ‘typical’ day, he revealed: ‘It revolves around the kids as much as humanly possible. This whole working from home stuff is not all it’s cracked up to be.’
He added: ‘My mantra now every day, and it’s a dangerous one because I need to make sure I don’t have burnout, but it’s trying to make the world a better place for my kids, otherwise what’s the point in bringing kids into this world? That’s a responsibility I feel as a parent and you probably do as well. We can’t fix everything but we can be there for each other.’
When asked if he missed his family ‘at home’ – the UK – Harry’s answer was perfunctory, saying ‘most people’ had missed their loved ones during the Covid pandemic.
He sidestepped a specific question about whether he missed his ‘brother and dad’, both of whom have been deeply hurt by his actions.
Happy 96th birthday, Granny! Proud Prince William and Kate Middleton share a sweet family photograph as they lead the tributes to the ‘inspirational’ Queen
Prince William, 39, and Kate Middleton, 40, shared two photographs on Instagram to mark the occasion, including a touching family snap showing the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh with some of their great-grandchildren.
The couple hailed the Queen as ‘an inspiration’ in the accompanying post, writing: ‘Wishing Her Majesty The Queen a very happy 96th birthday today!
‘An inspiration to so many across the UK, the Commonwealth and the world, it’s particularly special to be celebrating in this #PlatinumJubilee year.’
The Queen will mark the day privately at Wood Farm at Sandringham after travelling by Windsor Castle yesterday.
The ‘modest’ farm in the grounds of the Norfolk estate is where her beloved husband Prince Philip spent much of his time after retiring from royal duties.
It comes amid fresh frustration from the Royal Family after Prince Harry took potshots at the Firm in US TV interviews
Prince Charles is said to be at the end of his tether with his youngest son as palace staff who cared for Her Majesty throughout the pandemic accused the Duke of Sussex of ‘breathtaking arrogance’ over his suggestion his grandmother needs extra protection.
Fond memories: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge led well-wishes to the Queen on her 96th birthday. In the first photograph shared by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the couple are seen admiring Kate’s 2019 Royal Chelsea Flower Show Garden with Her Majesty
Proud great-grandparents: The second photograph, which was taken by the Duchess of Cambridge at Balmoral Castle in 2018, shows Prince Philip and the Queen with seven of their great-grandchildren. Pictured left to right: Prince George, Prince Louis (in the Queen’s arms), Savannah Phillips (standing), Princess Charlotte, the Duke of Edinburgh, Isla Phillips with Lena Tindall in her arms, and Mia Tindall
Warm wishes: The couple hailed the Queen as ‘an inspiration’ in the accompanying post
He claimed that she confides in him things she can’t talk to anyone else about. And in a barbed comment he said of his visit to Windsor Castle last week: ‘I’m just making sure that she’s protected and got the right people around her’.
He also risked further fuelling the rift with his estranged older brother by stating that their late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was now watching over him from beyond the grave as ‘she’s done her bit’ with Prince William and his family.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are carrying on as usual and released to photos to mark the Queen’s birthday.
In the first photograph, the couple are seen admiring Kate’s 2019 Royal Chelsea Flower Show Garden with Her Majesty.
The second photograph, which was taken by the Duchess of Cambridge at Balmoral Castle in 2018, shows Prince Philip and the Queen with seven of their great-grandchildren.
The Duke of Edinburgh has his arm around Peter Phillips’ daughter Isla, while the Queen is seen holding a then-baby Prince Louis in her arms.
The photograph was first released by the Cambridges following the Duke of Edinburgh’s death last year.
It comes after a new portrait of The Queen with two of her beloved fell ponied was released to mark her 96th birthday.
Taken in the grounds of Windsor Castle last month, the glorious photograph shows the monarch standing with two of her own favourite fell ponies, Bybeck Nightingale and Bybeck Katie, in front of a huge magnolia tree in full bloom of early spring.
A new portrait of The Queen with two of her beloved fell ponied has been released to mark her 96th birthday, as she quietly celebrates the landmark occasion in Sandringham
The image has been released by the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which the Queen has attended every year since 1943 and was taken by Henry Dallal, who was commissioned to take an official portrait of her to mark her 90th birthday.
This year the Royal Windsor Horse Show will mark the Platinum Jubilee with A Gallop through History, a spectacular equestrian display showcasing horses from across the globe
Her love for the equine world is something she shared with her mother, and she has been breeding and racing horses for more than 60 years.
The Epsom Derby this year coincides with the Queen’s bumper Platinum Jubilee weekend, which will also feature Trooping the Colour and a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral.
There is speculation the Duke and Duchess of Sussex might make the journey from California. The couple stopped off to visit the Queen at Windsor last week on their way to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands.
The Royal Family shared this lovely photograph of a two-year-old Princess Elizabeth to mark her 96th birthday
Harry said his grandmother is ‘not looking forward’ to her birthday milestone in another interview with US television.
When asked about the Queen’s upcoming birthday in his interview with NBC Today presenter Hoda Kotb, Prince Harry appeared to suggest that the Queen was ‘bored’ of the celebrations.
Speaking to the broadcaster, he said: ‘I think she’s — I think after a certain age you get bored of birthdays.
Ms Kotb replied: ‘You think she’s bored of her 96th?’ ‘I think so,’ responds Prince Harry. But the Duke then appeared to change tack when asked if the Queen will be ‘bored’ for her jubilee.
He replied: ‘No. I don’t think so. She’s had a few jubilees now and every one is slightly different. I’m sure she is looking forward to it.’
Close to Philip: The Queen will stay at Wood Farm – the ‘modest’ farmhouse that Prince Philip made his home following his retirement from public life – until early next week. Pictured, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in a photo released to mark his 99th birthday in June 2020
DAN WOOTTON: Prince Harry’s cheeky spark is vanishing faster than his hair. As he trashes Charles and William and trades off the Queen in another US TV tell-all, why I’m convinced the Duke of Woke is deeply unhappy with his new life
Do you miss your brother and your dad?
A simple question for any loving family man, who had relied heavily on his closest relatives since the death of his mother as a child, you would think.
But not Prince Harry.
In fact, on the latest round of his royal-bashing, American breakfast tell-all telly tour, where he trashily traded off information about the Queen to build his US brand, expressing even the slightest hint of positivity towards Prince Charles and Prince William was the one personal area he avoided.
When pressed by purring NBC Today Show host Hoda Kotb, willing the Duke of Woke to do the right thing and prove his Be Kind credentials aren’t as meaningless as a Twitter hashtag, Harry wouldn’t offer even the slightest hint of an olive branch.
Perhaps no surprise, given he’s thought to be saving his sharpest criticism of the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge for his grossly timed autobiography later this year.
Deflecting, he answered Hoda’s question about his dad and brother by icily responding: ‘For me at the moment, I’m here focused on these guys [Invictus Games athletes] and these families and giving everything that I can, 120 per cent to them to make sure they have the experience of a lifetime. That’s my focus here. And when I leave here, I get back and my focus is on my family who I miss massively.’
Harry has gone so far down the rabbit hole of bitterness and conspiracies around Megxit that he doesn’t even regard Charles and Wills as part of his family anymore.
When pressed by purring NBC Today Show host Hoda Kotb, willing the Duke of Woke to do the right thing and prove his Be Kind credentials aren’t as meaningless as a Twitter hashtag, Harry wouldn’t offer even the slightest hint of an olive branch, writes Dan Wootton
In fact, in another disgraceful moment in the interview he hinted the Queen needed the ‘right people’ around to ‘protect’ her – the clear implication being that he doesn’t think the two heirs to the throne are doing that job currently.
Harry is so delusional he doesn’t compute the complete hypocrisy of making such a statement when he hasn’t bothered to visit his 95-year-old gran for the past nine months because of a pathetic row with the British government over security.
No wonder royal courtiers fume: ‘What the hell would he know?’
Nope, for the Duke of Woke and King of Saving the World from a Montecito mansion, the distinct lack of kindness from him towards his relatives helping to tear the Royal Family apart isn’t his problem.
Nor is confirmation of the fact he still might deprive the Queen of meeting the great grandchild named after her nickname Lilibet (without permission) because he won’t be granted the same security he would have received as a working royal at the Platinum Jubilee.
Harry’s lack of self-awareness has become embarrassing.
It makes it more obvious than ever that he is surrounded by nodding-dog Hollywood yes men who allow him to buy into these fantasies on a daily basis.
So who is Harry’s family now? Meghan and the kids, I guess.
It’s an us-against-the-world mentality that has seen them cut off virtually every old friend and every blood relative (Meghan’s mum Doria and the Queen being the two notable exceptions).
But I had one overwhelming impression watching this interview: Harry is so obviously deeply unhappy.
Prince Harry and the Queen are seen attending the annual Chelsea Flower show at Royal Hospital Chelsea on May 18, 2015 in London
Hoda kept trying to remind him of his cheeky chappy reputation and draw out a bit of fun, but he couldn’t even bring himself to rise to the act.
Reinvented as a social justice warrior on the other side of the world, his previously irresistible spark has disappeared faster than his hair, replaced by a dead-behind-the-eyes misery.
Whether she actively attempted to or not – and as the journalist who has broken more stories than anyone about the couple, I certainly have my suspicions – Meghan has fundamentally changed Harry.
He has been so indoctrinated by the hippy dippy woke philosophies of his Californian social climbing wife, who has managed to convince him they are genuinely saving the world by, er, signing multi-million-dollar deals with mega corporations like Netflix and Spotify…
It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic.
DAN WOOTTON: I had one overwhelming impression watching this interview: Harry is so obviously deeply unhappy
What was truly tragic is that Harry appears to have replaced the support structure provided in the pre-Meghan years by Charles, Harry and the Royal Family, with the spiritual presence of his late mother Princess Diana.
Tellingly, Prince Harry revealed he had felt more connected to Di in the past two years – the exact period from which he has effectively cut contact with his living dad and big bro.
Harry told Hoda: ‘It is almost as though she’s done her bit with my brother and now she’s very much, like, helping me. Got him set up. And now she’s helping me set up. That’s what it feels like, you know?
‘He’s got his kids. I’ve got my kids, you know the circumstances are obviously different. But now, I feel her presence in almost everything that I do now. But definitely more so in the last two years than ever before. Without question. So she’s watching over us.’
While the sentiments of the reconnection with his mother are lovely in some ways, it feels like Harry is using it to justify the estrangement from Wills.
The one thing anyone who knew Diana has been absolutely certain of is that, above all else, she wanted her two boys to stay united.
There is no doubt if Diana is with Harry in spirit she will be urging him to find a way to patch things up with William; she knew her serious-minded eldest son would need his support as the throne grew closer.
Camilla, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry are seen leaving the Grenfell Tower National Memorial Service in London in December 2017
For a man so obsessed with protecting his privacy, the revelations in the interview, once again, sat uncomfortably.
Most cringeworthy was the way he seems happy to trade off secrets of the deeply private Queen to appease American broadcasters, just like when he revealed to James Corden on the top of a double decker bus she had bought Archie a waffle maker for Christmas.
This time it was the fact she doesn’t care to celebrate birthdays, one day out from her 96th.
Boasting about the closeness of their bond, Harry told Hoda: ‘We have a really special relationship. We talk about things that she can’t talk about with anybody else, so that is always a nice peace to her. But I think she’s… I think after a certain age you get bored of birthdays.’
While Harry wouldn’t commit to attending her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, for which the Queen certainly cares deeply, it’s perhaps the way Harry turned his back on the UK as the home that will upset Her Majesty most deeply.
‘Home for me now is, you know, for the time being, it’s in the States. And it feels that way as well,’ he emphasised.
It feels like that to us Brits too; Harry, the prince we fell in love with, is far more at home in California and we’re all OK with that.
Just please stop making life so much harder for the Queen – and keep her damn secrets off American television.
JAN MOIR: Oh, what breathtaking shamelessness! The person the Queen most needs protection from is the smirking assassin Prince Harry himself
From more than 5,000 miles away he is suddenly at the helm? How does that work?
Everyone knows the person the Queen is most in need of safeguarding from is Harry himself, the man who has single-handedly done the most damage to the British monarchy since Oliver Cromwell.
This includes indirectly criticising her as a bad mother, smearing her family as racists and suing her Government over security issues.
Yet here he is, as nice as sour cream pie, the smirking assassin in a polo shirt, assuring millions of viewers on U.S. television of his vital role at Her Majesty’s side, which is news to everyone back in Blighty.
The shamelessness of it all! Just gasping.
The Prince was appearing in a special interview on NBC’s breakfast show with its host Hoda Kotb, who had flown to The Hague to meet him at the Invictus Games.
Prince Harry (pictured with the Queen and Meghan in 2018) spoke at an interview, during the Invictus Games, about his ‘special relationship’ with the Queen
The Duke of Sussex (pictured on stage during the Invictus Games opening ceremony) has been in the Netherlands as an ambassador of the international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women
Prince Harry spoke to American interviewer Hoda Kotb (pictured) about his life in America, being a father and the Royal family
The pair of them sat on fold-up chairs in an archery butt, with three targets visible behind them. Should we read anything into this intriguing choice of location? Perhaps we were supposed to imagine photographs of Charles, Camilla and William on the bullseyes. Or is that too triggering?
Certainly, Kotb had a lot of soft shots packed into her quiver of questions. Do you feel yourself peaceful? What’s a Wednesday like for you? What do you love about fatherhood? Has Archie got your cheeky thing? Harry answered enthusiastically, waving his arms around to emphasise his points — and the more vacuous his point, the bigger his arm signals.
This is a new communication development for the Prince, who at times was spouting such New Age nonsense that he looked as if he were marshalling a jet or conducting an invisible orchestra of the absurd.
‘Cheekiness is something that keeps you alive,’ he said at one point, which is not only emotional bilge but also the kind of thing said only by someone used to being listened to without interruption or criticism.
The most awkward moment came when Kotb asked if he missed Prince Charles and Prince William. Harry’s face was as blank as a sponge when he explained that his focus ‘at the moment’ was on the Invictus Games and later it would be on his own children.
‘They are two little people, you know,’ he added, kindly explaining what a child is to the NBC audience, some of whom may have been unsure.
Prince Harry said that sometimes he feels ‘massively at peace’ but other times he is too worried about the world to be happy
Pause it there for a second. The fact that Prince Harry couldn’t find it in his heart to simply say yes, he missed his brother and his father, is surely indicative of the utterly toxic state of their relationship. And for someone who claims to find ‘healing in helping others’, he sure knows how to wound.
Clearly, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex only feel happy talking to these pat-a-cake U.S. celebrity hosts, whose collective attitude — to Harry in particular — seems little short of idolatry.
First Oprah, then Ellen and now Hoda, who once said interviewing Beyoncé was the celebrity highlight of her career. On this occasion there was no Meghan present to hold Harry’s hand and egg on his bubbling omelette of grievance, which was a shame. Yet her very absence added a frisson of excitement to the proceedings, because there was always a chance she might rush in from stage left in a £17,000 top and say something mean about Kate’s Easter decorations or choice of tights.
But in this 12-minute slot, broadcast on Wednesday morning between items on the success of Bridgerton in the U.S. and the local mask mandate, there was only time for Harry. And he didn’t waste a second, the sole of his desert boot pressing hard on the foot pump of fable as he inflated his status within the Royal Family into the realm of the mythic.
For he revealed he was not only the Queen’s Protector, he was Court Jester and Royal Confidante, too.
‘We have a really special relationship, we talk about things that she can’t talk about with anybody else,’ he said of his meeting at Windsor with his grandmother.
Prince Harry claims a ‘special relationship’ with his grandmother, saying she can talk to him about topics no one else can
What on earth could the Queen talk about with Harry that she can’t talk about with anyone else? I’ve been racking my brains. Rescue chickens? Naked billiards? Did he bring some crystals from the Montecito New Age Store and try to realign the royal chakras?
Maybe he got her to do the weird deep-breathing thing he does every time he arrives in London, to help her cope with her grief at losing Prince Philip.
Or by claiming this special relationship, maybe he was just getting even with his big brother for all those times he was excluded from the regular kingcraft sessions William had with the Queen when they were growing up.
We are back to Game of Thrones. Behold the warfare and ancient wounds between the spare and the heir. Winter is coming, and something in their brotherly bond seems to have broken for ever.
There was the usual light sermonising about mental health issues. ‘What I do know is there is a light at the end of the tunnel for absolutely everybody,’ said Harry. This is patently not true, but perhaps it is something that a man with a financial stake in a company that sells mental health packages must believe.
His own mental state? He revealed that sometimes he feels ‘massively at peace’ but he worries too much about the world to be happy — like all millennials, even rich and royal ones, he can never not be a victim.
‘My mantra now every day — and it’s a dangerous one because I need to make sure I don’t have burnout — but it’s trying to make the world a better place for my kids, otherwise what’s the point in bringing kids into this world?’ he moaned.
His saviour complex blooms like a virulence, but should anyone listen to a man who can’t even make the world better for his own father — and father-in-law?
Prince Harry didn’t say in the interview if he misses his father and brother
Naturally he played his ace, the Diana card. Americans still can’t get enough of Princess Diana, and being her son has conferred a kind of heroic status on Harry. He deploys this with the expertise of the slick Californian PR man he has become.
Yes, there are photos of Grandma Diana in the house, he revealed. And in response to a question, he told Kotb and NBC that he felt she had been watching him ‘over the past two years’.
Somehow he didn’t seem to mind this enquiry into his feelings about his dead mother — because it’s not an invasion of privacy when it’s a marketing opportunity, right?
Once more, Prince Harry has managed to snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory. Response in the UK to the interview has overshadowed all the good work he has done this week with the Invictus games — however, the truth is becoming all too clear.
Prince Harry doesn’t care what anyone in the UK thinks. He doesn’t care that the Palace is shocked over his latest words, that royal aides are stunned, that UK broadcasters are fuming, that British newspapers are writing of his arrogance and misplaced conceit, that his brother and father must be crushed by his words.
That’s all just rhubarb, rhubarb on his path to glory in America. For his fortune and his future now depend on what Americans think of him, not what whiny Brits back home happen to be grumbling about.
He is focused on promoting himself on coast-to-coast TV, on the deals and on producing content for Netflix and others that has a monetary value, while convincing himself he is doing good at the same time.
That is why he continues to manipulate his relationship with the Queen and the Royal Family, using it as a golden emollient to grease his way up the celebrity ladder. He is giving it all he’s got — because it is all he’s got. And Americans are lapping it up.
STEPHEN GLOVER: Prince Harry used interview to deepen rift between himself and his father and brother… I fear the Sussexes are now a greater threat to Britain’s monarchy than an army of republicans
That he loves her can’t be doubted. In an interview with American journalist Hoda Kotb for NBC’s morning show Today, aired yesterday, the Prince was at pains to praise Her Majesty, especially for her sense of humour.
He also laid claim to an exceptional bond with the monarch: ‘We have a really special relationship. We talk about things that she can’t talk about with anybody else.’
If true, his rare visits must be a boon for his grandmother. Yet for all his professions of affection and uniqueness during the interview, Harry couldn’t resist a dig at the Royal Family. That, of course, constitutes a dig at the Queen, who presides over it.
Meghan is seen speaking with Prince Charles while stood alongside Harry, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey in London in March 2019
Prince Harry and Meghan are seen attending the Invictus Games athletics events in the Athletics Park, the Netherlands, on April 17
I can’t see any other interpretation of his remark that, in meeting the Queen at Windsor, he was ‘just making sure she’s protected and got the right people around her’.
Generous souls may say the Prince was simply expressing concern for her welfare, as she has not been in the best of health recently. But the 12-word utterance — ‘just making sure she’s protected and got the right people around her’ — implies that those looking after her could be doing a better job.
It is a preposterous thing to say. While Harry and his wife Meghan have been more than 5,000 miles away in California, courtiers have been working around the clock to care for the Queen, and members of her family have been visiting her.
Harry’s raising the possibility that she mightn’t have been properly looked after was an insult. Courtiers aside, several members of the Queen’s family will feel put out. Foremost among them may be Prince Charles and Prince William.
Am I reading too much into what could have been a careless comment? I don’t believe so. We should also not ignore the fact that, when the Prince was asked by Hoda Kotb whether he missed his ‘brother and [his] dad’, he dodged the question, and said he was ‘focused’ on the Invictus Games.
This is the sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, which has been taking place in the Netherlands. It was founded by Harry. Whatever else may be said about him, this is a great achievement.
To return to the interview, he used it to deepen, rather than repair, the rift that has grown up between himself and his father and brother. A week ago, Harry and Prince Charles met for just 15 minutes. William was abroad on holiday.
What little self-awareness the Duke of Sussex must have! He has seen the Queen only twice in two years. He was not present at the memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh at the end of March. One explanation offered by him was security concerns. Couldn’t these be set aside for a grandfather?
And yet the absentee Prince presumes to question the competence or commitment of those who have not deserted the Queen for California, while he snubs his father and brother.
The truth is that, as he praised the Queen and advertised his love for her, Harry tossed another hand grenade into the Royal Family to follow those that have gone before.
An attack on the Royal Family is an attack on the Queen. The strategy of Harry and Meghan is to chip away at the Royal Family while usually making an exception of the Queen. In a contrived act of homage, they called their second child ‘Lilibet’, the Queen’s nickname.
Prince Harry and the Queen are pictured attending the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on May 29, 2019, in London
The effect is to undermine the institution that the Queen holds most dear, and to which she has dedicated most of her life. During the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, Meghan alleged that an unidentified member of the Royal Family was racist. She also — incorrectly — claimed that their son Archie had been deprived of his rightful title of ‘Prince’.
Harry accused his father of financial meanness and refusing to take his calls. William was said to be ‘trapped’. The couple painted a picture of a disagreeable and dysfunctional family — the Royal Family.
Most Britons can probably see through the Sussexes’ ruses — though the couple have some woke followers who are only too happy to see members of the Royal Family regularly battered.
In the U.S., the reputational damage may well be greater. Many probably believe that the Royal Family is racist, even though the Queen is one of the most colour-blind women alive. Americans may now fear she has been abandoned by her family.
By the way, American television media tend to be sycophantic towards the Sussexes, and lap up all sorts of nonsense. Just look at the remarkably easy-going Hoda Kotb interview.
If Harry loves his grandmother as much as he claims, he should cease these slurs against the Royal Family and try to persuade Meghan to do the same. She, who once flitted across the Atlantic for a ‘baby shower’, briefly visited Britain last week for the first time in two years. She sharpens her barbs in California.
I fear it will only get worse. Harry’s memoirs are due to be published in the autumn, and the rumour mills suggest that the Duchess of Cornwall can look forward to a pasting.
Meanwhile, the Sussexes have a multi-million-dollar deal with Netflix for a series of documentaries. One is in the pipeline about the Invictus Games. The recent meeting with the Queen could feature, though she would be portrayed in positive terms.
What is so infuriating is that Meghan and Harry continue to make millions out of their royal connections while trashing the institution that sustains them. For what would either of them amount to, without the Royal Family?
Prince Harry pictured in an interview with American journalist Hoda Kotb for NBC’s morning show Today
Yet they both remain desperately keen on their royal status even as they fire arrows at other royals. Nothing better illustrates this than Meghan’s behaviour at the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games.
Meghan introduced her ‘incredible husband, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex’. Not just plain Harry, then. At the same ceremony, she appears to have had a dig at the Queen, who is normally off-limits.
Last year, remember, Her Majesty confirmed that, having stepped back from royal life, the couple would not ‘continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service’. Meghan hasn’t forgotten or forgiven that dismissal.
‘Thank you so much for your service,’ she told the audience. ‘And thank you to all the family and friends that are here who have been supporting you along the way. Because this is service, this is dedication, and this is the Invictus family.’
It used to be commonplace to criticise Meghan more than Harry for their excesses. She is certainly some operator. But Harry is not simply a ventriloquist’s dummy. I blame them both.
The Prince may praise the Queen but the couple don’t wish the Royal Family, or even this country, well. It’s telling that Harry won’t commit to attending this summer’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. They will continue to snipe from the United States for the benefit of an American audience.
The Sussexes represent a greater threat to the monarchy than an army of republicans. How ironic that their fame and wealth derive from their association with an institution they seem to hate.