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doctor's orders Harry flies back for Prince Philip’s funeral as pregnant Meghan stays in US on doctor's advice

Harry scrambled to arrange a flight as soon as he was informed of the death of his grandfather.


Harry will attend the funeral while Meghan stays at home.

Harry will attend the funeral while Meghan stays at home.

Harry will attend the funeral while Meghan stays at home.

The heavily pregnant Meghan Markle will not attend Prince Philip’s funeral on the advice of her doctors, a Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed yesterday.

Her husband Prince Harry is hoping to arrive back in the UK as early as today.

Harry scrambled to arrange a flight as soon as he was informed of the death of his grandfather, anxious to be alongside his family as they mourn their patriarch, though he must obey Covid travel rules that mean he will have to self-isolate on arrival.

Meghan (39) is due to begin maternity leave in around four weeks, with the couple’s second child, a daughter, thought to be due in June.

With tensions in the family remaining high after the couple’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, there had already been speculation that she would decide to remain in California rather than risk overshadowing the sombre occasion.

The prospect that Harry might not have flown back to London for the funeral was never on the cards, sources insisted, stressing that he had remained in close contact with his relatives.

“He has spoken to everyone over the last 24 hours,” one said. “They are his family.”

He was hoping to board a flight in Los Angeles as early as last night, in the hope that he could be back in time to quarantine and mourn with his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, his father Prince Charles and his brother, Prince William.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said Harry “is planning to attend” and that Meghan “has been advised by her physician not to travel.”

Staying in California will also mean Meghan can look after the couple’s son, Archie, who would otherwise have had to travel with them or be left with a nanny or family member.

Harry’s return has caused some anxiety behind palace gates at a time when the family will not welcome distractions.

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The couple’s decision to publish a statement on their Archewell Foundation website shortly after 5pm on Friday is understood to have raised eyebrows in some quarters as it was done without consultation and preceded official tributes from the Prince Charles and senior members of the royal family.

The post, for which the rest of the website was cleared of content, read: “Thank you for your service... You will be greatly missed.”

Prince William and his wife Kate meanwhile had simply posted the official Buckingham Palace statement, released on behalf of all family members including Harry and Meghan on their own social media channels.

In the Harry and Meghan television interview with Oprah Winfrey, they accused a member of the royal family of raising “concerns” about the colour of their unborn child’s skin.

Harry later told Oprah that it had not been the Queen or Prince Philip, which only served to create more speculation about who it could have been.

Meghan revealed she had been suicidal but claimed she had received no help from the institution, despite repeated pleas.

There was upset among many family members that the interview had been broadcast at a time when Prince Philip was ill in hospital.

Meghan told Oprah that as soon as she had heard Prince Philip had been admitted to hospital on February 16 she “picked up the phone and called the Queen just to check in”.

If Meghan and Harry’s baby is due at the start of June, it would mean she is around 33 weeks pregnant. After 28 weeks of pregnancy, some airlines refuse to allow women to travel unless they have a letter from their doctor or midwife confirming that they are not at risk of complications.

Health guidelines warn pregnant women that flights of more than four hours carry a small risk of blood clots through deep vein thrombosis, meaning that they should wear compression stockings and move about every 30 minutes, as well as drinking plenty of water.

The flight from Los Angeles to London takes around 11 hours.

Most US airlines allow women to fly domestically up to their 36th week of pregnancy — but some require medical certificates after 28 weeks, particularly with multiple pregnancies.

Harry and Meghan no longer have their own home in the UK, having given up Frogmore Cottage, their former home near Windsor Castle.

It means Harry will either have to stay at Windsor Castle or another royal residence during a period of self-isolation when he arrives in the country.

He will have to take a coronavirus test before he travels, which must be negative before he can board an aircraft.

Harry will also have to take another test within two days of arriving, and if that is negative he can pay for a private test five days after he arrives that would allow him to end his self-isolation earlier than the statutory 10-day period if it is negative.

If he were to test positive at any stage, he would miss the funeral because he would have to remain in self-isolation for 10 days after arrival.

© Telegraph Media Group Ltd (2021)

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