The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's recent return to the UK for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee is expected to heal the seriously fractured family relations, raising the possibility of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle returning to royal duties ahead of the UK's imminent royal transition.
As the UK is set to undergo big changes after the notorious resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, some experts have diverted their attention to another looming issue - the future monarch of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms. Given the Queen's deteriorating health in recent years, it makes sense that people and royal watchers alike have started to think of their future sovereign, who is entrusted to steer the whole country out of difficult times like this. And while Prince Charles, as the heir apparent, is bound to inherit the throne from his mother, his transition is expected to be laden with obstacles and unsolved issues, leaving much to be desired.
Needless to say, one of the most perplexing issues of the Royal Family in recent years is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's withdrawal from senior royal duties back in 2020. Since their acrimonious exit, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have witnessed the ongoing escalation of their relationships with other Royal Family members. However, with Prince Harry's family's return to the UK last June to celebrate the Queen's 70th year on the throne, some royal experts have hinted at the likelihood of a royal reunion, with Prince Harry possibly returning to his former royal duties.
Prince Harry is an invaluable asset to the Royal Family
According to the famed royal editor Tina Brown, who is also the author of The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor—the Truth and the Turmoil, impossible as it may sound, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could again have an active role in the monarchy. In her interview with the Times UK, the royal expert expressed the possibility of Prince Charles allowing his son to step back into the breach as part of his 'epic rebranding' effort once becoming the King.
Ms. Brown said that as one of the most well-loved and popular royal figures, the grand return of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle can be of paramount importance to the monarchy's effort to regain its public perception as a stable institution. In fact, the Royal Family's public image has been tarnished in recent years by the sexual assault allegations on the disgraced Prince Andrew and, ironically, Prince Harry's choice to lead a new life in the US. Brown said, regarding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's ability to connect with the young:
'It’s not too late to have another go. (Meghan) and Harry have a great connection to the young and could be successful ambassadors for ‘the new Commonwealth. Meghan can speak to the need for diversity in a way no one else in the royal family can.'
The author went on to say that despite Prince Charles' candid desire to have a 'slimmed-down monarchy' when he eventually takes the throne, losing three royal members at one time - Prince Andrew, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle, not to mention their kids - was a major blow to the Prince of Wales' imagination. As a result, Brown said it would be likely that Prince Charles could consider welcoming his son back to royal duties given his pivotal role in rebuilding the royal image.
Prince Harry's possible return can take pressure off Prince William
On the grounds of Her Majesty's declining health and mobility issues, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton have been delegated an increasing number of royal duties. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as the faces of the Royal Family, are also the first ones to receive any criticism or backlash from the public, putting tremendous pressure on them. According to Tina Brown, the comeback of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, if any, could therefore alleviate the burdens that Prince Harry has been carrying for years.
'I think there is excessive pressure on the Cambridges at the moment, to be essentially taking up the slack for both Harry and Andrew. And I do think at a certain point they are going to need Harry back, particularly probably after the Queen dies, because he was an asset.'
However, given the bad blood going on between the brothers, it's not certain whether the pair will get along again should there be any return from Prince Harry. The prospect of a grand return seems even more implausible after the Platinum Jubilee when Prince Harry and his family kept themselves out of the limelight during most of the festivities although it was their first time in the country after two years.
In a bitter moment, only the Queen, senior working members of the royal family, and their children were photographed on the balcony at Buckingham Palace for the spectacular show of RAF planes. Prior to their royal exit, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had been fixtures on the balcony, but their non-royal titles this year meant the pair weren't entitled to viewing the event from the Buckingham Palace balcony.
With the UK in chaos after the resignation of Boris Johnson, it seems royal watchers will have to wait longer to see if Brown's idea of Prince Harry's return turns into reality.