Princess Anne has been among the harshest of Prince Harry’s critics, even publicly hinting that her nephew was “trying to reinvent the wheel” as he attempted to navigate royal life with his wife, former actress Meghan Markle. Given Anne, 71, has dedicated her entire life to serving her mother, the Queen, and the Crown, she couldn’t quite comprehend why Harry, 37, would throw everything in his life away and relocate to California with Meghan, 40, and their young family.
Sources claim the Princess Royal “watched in horror” as Harry set about cutting every tie he had to the monarchy – from giving one-sided interviews to American media to announcing a memoir and alienating himself from his father, Prince Charles, and brother, Prince William.
Despite this, Anne was determined to not distance herself from Harry.“Anne doesn’t feel anger towards Harry, only pity. After all, she knows all too well how it feels to be the second-born behind a future king – it can be awfully confusing and lonely,” says an insider. “She agrees that Harry has made some terrible mistakes in the past year, but she’s trying to get the rest of the family to focus on the bigger picture, which is supporting Her Majesty.”
New Idea has learnt exclusively that, most recently, Anne wrote to her nephew imploring him to return home to the UK for Christmas. “Family is the most important thing to the Queen above all else, and Anne reminded Harry that this festive season is the first his grandmother will face without Prince Philip by her side,” reveals a source.
Anne wasn’t sure if her letter would fall on deaf ears, as Harry has inherited his late mother, Princess Diana’s, stubborn streak. But to her surprise, he responded, and what he said nearly broke her famously steely heart.According to the insider, Harry confided in his aunt that he “has been thinking for a while that he’d like to come home – not for himself, Charles or William, but for the Queen”.
“Harry wants to put everything to one side, even if it’s only for a short while, given this could be his grandmother’s last Christmas. He appreciated Anne’s invitation and said he was grateful to know that he has an ally and a support in Anne.
Harry’s note also apparently contained some remorse that Anne got dragged into the hunt to identify the mystery royal family member who allegedly questioned the skin colour of their unborn son, Archie. The Sussexes made the bombshell accusation in their TV sit-down with Oprah Winfrey in March.
“Harry learnt pretty quickly that it was a big mistake to call out a small group of people because then all of them cop it,” explains the source. “He felt bad Anne got swept up in it all.”