Royal expert Katie Nicholl shares some insight on Harry's conversations with his royal family following his grandfather's funeral.
"I think the idea of seeing this reprisal of the Fab Four -- Harry and Meghan, William and Kate -- is really so far down the future," royal expert Katie Nicholl tells ET. "It's almost quite hard to even envision it at the moment. So much has happened. There is so much hurt on either side."
The royal rift began as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped down as senior members of the royal family last year. Matters became more complicated between the brothers after Harry and Meghan's explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, where they touched on their complicated relationship with the royals, criticisms they faced and more. Harry even admitted that his relationships with his father, Prince Charles, and William were strained.
"It is safe to say there were meetings with family members and certainly Prince Harry did have some time with his grandmother, the queen, before he went back to L.A.," Nicholl shares. "It was Prince Charles' idea to get the boys together after the wake. There really wasn't any other time as Prince Harry was in self-isolation for the days leading up to the funeral for them to get together."
Nicoll says the three men walked around the grounds of Windsor Castle, adhering to COVID-19 regulations. "I think it was quite an important meeting and, as I said, it was Charles’ suggestion. William was also there, and Harry was also happy to go along with that. And that really was the first time that the three of them, father and sons, were able to come together and have a private, informal meeting."
Nicholl, meanwhile, suggests that things between the family are "not going to be resolved in one or two family meetings," adding that while this has been an important step, "I think there's still quite a way to go."
"The idea that Harry's suddenly going to come around to William's way of thinking, and vice versa, I think is a way off. I think there do need to be more conversations, there's clearly still a lot of hurt, a lot of resentment, and a degree of mistrust on both parts," she adds. "It's early days, but I think the hope is that come July -- when we are hoping to see the brothers stand once again shoulder by shoulder to unveil the statue in memory of their mother [Princess Diana] -- that the relationship will be stronger and in a better place."
During Philip's funeral service, Nicholl notes that Kate served as a "peacemaker" between the royal brothers.
"I think Kate played a big part in getting William and Harry talking," she says. "You could see when she went to speak to Harry after the funeral he visibly relaxed, his shoulders dropped, he just looked relieved to be included, because I think up until that point, he felt very much like he was getting the cold shoulder from most of his royal relatives."
"Kate's really gone out of her way to be a peacemaker and to help the brothers get back on track," she continues.
While this reunion may be a "significant start," Nicholl believes the conversations between Harry and his family "will continue productively, and crucially not be leaked to the media."
On Wednesday, ET confirmed that Harry is back home in Montecito, California, after his grandfather's funeral. Nicholl notes that the former royal was scheduled to leave on Monday but "gave himself another 24 hours in London."
"Now, he didn't stay for the queen's birthday. I don't think too much should be read into that," she says of Queen Elizabeth celebrating her 95th birthday on Wednesday. "It's not a snub, the queen doesn't traditionally celebrate [April 21] as the birthday and I think that he extended his stay by I believe 24 hours is an indication that he obviously wanted to have some time with his family."
"We think there was at least two meetings with the queen, one in the gardens of Windsor just before the funeral and a further private 1-1 meeting between Harry and the queen," she relays. "So this has been an opportunity for something of a family reconciliation. Harry is incredibly fond of his grandmother, they share a very close relationship. It would be very important to him that he got to have some time with his grandmother before he went back to L.A."
Meanwhile, it was announced last year that the Princess Diana statue will be installed on July 1, 2021, on what would have been her 60th birthday. Harry is expected to return to the U.K. for the event. Nicholl, however, doesn't expect Meghan to be making the trip to London, as she's pregnant with her second child, a baby girl, and due in June.
"Diana always said to them, 'Boys, stay close. Don't ever fall out,'" Nicholl relays. "She'd be devastated that that is what's happened, and she would be wanting them to be there together for that unveiling of the statue in her honor."
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