Prince Harry unlikely to attend Royal Family gathering after Philip's funeral, could just fly home

He wants to get back to Meghan ASAP.
He wants to get back to Meghan ASAP. Photo credit: Getty / Royal Family.

It's unlikely Prince Harry will attend any Royal Family gatherings before or after Prince Philip's funeral, and may fly back to the United States quickly after the service.

The Duke of Sussex touched down in the United Kingdom on Sunday, two days after his grandfather died peacefully at the age of 99 in Windsor Castle. 

In accordance with the UK's COVID-19 quarantine rules, Harry has been isolating at Frogmore Cottage, the house located on the grounds of Windsor Castle, where he and Meghan Markle used to live before they ditched their royal duties last year for a life in the US. 

England's rules state that anyone arriving in the country must quarantine for 10 days and take two coronavirus tests while they are in quarantine. 

Prince Philip's funeral, to take place on Sunday (NZT), will fall within those 10 days, but Harry will be able to attend on compassionate grounds. 

He will not, however, be allowed to attend any gatherings directly before or after the service, as the UK rules state he must "self-isolate at all other times".

That means the Duke may avoid tough conversations with his relatives after his controversial sit-down with Oprah Winfrey last month raised questions of racism within the royal family. Meghan also accused the Firm of not giving her mental health issues proper attention.

"He has flown over here and he is allowed to, on compassionate grounds, attend the funeral service. But he is supposed to be quarantining outside of that," royal author Victoria Murphy told the Royally Obsessed podcast. "So he shouldn't be spending time with anyone."

The family may not be having any big catch-ups anyway. The UK's COVID rules say Brits can only socialise indoors with people they live with or outdoors with up to six people or two households. Some services, like funerals, can have more attendees. 

The ramifications of the Oprah interview and the pair's dramatic split from the family last year have been made clear by newly released plans for Sunday's funeral.

Harry and his brother Prince William, who have been feuding over recent years, won't walk side-by-side in the funeral procession. It's been the Queen's wish to see the attention stay on Prince Philip and his legacy, rather than her family's dramas. 

One royal expert expects Prince Harry will dash home to his pregnant wife after the funeral.

"I think Harry will very much want to get back to Meghan as soon as the funeral is over," Express cites Ingrid Seward as saying. "He will probably return to California maybe the next day or maybe later on Saturday."

"He won't have a great deal of time to be in a potentially embarrassing situation with his family."

The Sunday funeral will be a ceremonial service rather than a state funeral. Just 30 people will attend due to COVID-19 restrictions. They include the Queen and most of Philip's direct descendants.