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How will Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s relationship with royal family work now?

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex follow the bearer party with the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II (Gareth Fuller/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex follow the bearer party with the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Despite a turbulent relationship over the past few years, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and other members of the royal family have been united in grief after the Queen’s death.

This has prompted questions over the possibility of a reconciliation between Harry, his brother the Prince of Wales and their father King Charles III.

Although the duke has stepped back from royal duties and was not permitted to wear uniform on Monday, he took his place alongside William during their late grandmother’s state funeral.

Harry and Meghan also joined the group of royals who made their way to Windsor and took part in the committal service and interment, which will see the Queen laid to rest alongside the brothers’ grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex established a new life for themselves after stepping down as senior working royals.

Queen Elizabeth II funeral
The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex, in the ceremonial procession following the Queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey, London (Tim Goode/PA)

Megxit – when Harry and Meghan stepped down from royal duties and stopped using their HRH styles – made headlines around the world in 2020.

Harry and Meghan – parents to Archie and Lili – have taken part in a number of interviews since their departure from royal life, including a bombshell sit-down with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey in 2021.

They accused the royal family of racism, claiming an unnamed royal made a racist remark about Archie before he was born, and that the institution failed to help a suicidal Meghan.

The Duchess of Cambridge was publicly singled out by Meghan for allegedly making her cry in the run-up to the wedding.

More recently, Meghan’s interview with The Cut hit the headlines as the former actress said it takes “a lot of effort” to forgive and hinted that she can “say anything”.

Meghan said that “just by existing” she and Harry were “upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy” before they stepped down as working royals.

While in The Hague for the Invictus Games earlier this year, Harry was interviewed by NBC’s Today show and appeared to issue a veiled warning to those closest to the Queen, saying he wanted to make sure his grandmother was “protected” and had “the right people around her”.

He did not elaborate on whether he was referring to royal aides or members of his family, but his comments are likely to have deepened the rift with his father, the Prince of Wales, and his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, as well as perplexing palace officials.

Meanwhile, the royal family has been bracing itself for Harry’s forthcoming tell-all book, which he has vowed will be an “accurate and wholly truthful” account of his life.

The memoirs are expected to be published in late 2022 by Penguin Random House but a release date has yet to be confirmed.

There will be concern in royal quarters that the duke will delve into his rift with William, his troubled relationship with Charles, his view of stepmother the Duchess of Cornwall and the turbulent fallout of Megxit.

But when the pair reunited with the Prince and Princess of Wales outside Windsor Castle in the days after the Queen’s death to read tributes and meet members of the public, the group, previously dubbed the fab four, seemed relaxed together.

The royal couples were last seen together in public on Commonwealth Day in 2020, two months after Harry and Meghan announced their plans to step back as senior royals.

Despite reports of a rift between the two brothers, William and Harry remained cordial to each other and were seen speaking regularly during the visit.

It came after the King acknowledged the couple in his address to the nation the day after his mother died, saying: “I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.”

Prior to the Queen’s funeral, Harry and Meghan attended her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June but kept out of the limelight for the majority of the weekend.

It is as yet unclear whether they will attend the coronation of Charles III and it remains to be seen whether differences will be put aside in a bid to heal the rift for good and if this would signal a return to them becoming a more permanent fixture once more in future royal events.