The Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip, held at Westminster Abbey in London nearly a year after he died, was a feast for the eyes.
The splendour of the great church, the arrival of the royal family in all their finery, the jam-packed pews, the attendance of so many of the queen and Philip’s great-grandchildren – it was a treat.
Seeing the queen in her first public engagement in five months was pleasing too. The monarch may be looking increasingly frail but she walked down the aisle on her own – albeit on the arm of her disgraced son, Prince Andrew – and stood firm when the 500-odd congregation sang God Save the Queen.
She looked tearful at times but at least she had her family with her. Who can forget the tragic figure she cut at her husband’s funeral last year, clad in mourning black and sitting all alone because of Covid restrictions?
But there was one glaring absence. Harry the prodigal prince was half the world away in sunny California, far from the gloomy skies of his homeland, ensconced in his mansion with Meghan and the kids.
He has refused to return to the UK unless police protection is afforded him – but oh Harry, Harry, Harry, what are you doing? You loved your grandfather, you love your grandmother – couldn’t you have put your concerns aside to be there for her?
You have to wonder what Harry thinks when he hears stories of his granny’s failing health. The queen is nearly 96 and while many hope she will follow in her mother’s footsteps and see her 100th birthday, concern is growing.
She should be indulged by all members of her family, Harry included. Forget about his rift with William, his daddy issues, his unbridled hatred of the media. This is about his grandmother.
The queen has yet to see Harry’s daughter, Lilibet. She hasn’t seen his son, Archie, since he was a baby. Surely the prince could tell Meghan, “enough now – we have to go back to see my grandmother”.
A lot of what Harry and Meghan have done is understandable. Life in the royal fishbowl isn’t for everyone. And it can be tough – just ask William and Kate, bruised from a calamitous trip to the Caribbean where some cringey optics made you wonder how long their PR team will last.
But it isn’t about the Sussexes. This is about the queen and as time ticks relentlessly on you have to wonder: has Harry’s love for Meghan blinded him to the needs of the family who were once at the heart of his life?
Will he live to regret his seemingly petulant refusal to return home? And will his little girl ever get to meet the remarkable old lady who has played a significant role in history? Come on, Harry. Give us something to work with here.