Why Prince Harry booked a one-way ticket to the UK earlier this year

Harry's plans were up in the air when he returned to London for Prince Philip's funeral.

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Harry's plans were up in the air when he returned to London for Prince Philip's funeral.

Since spring of 2020, Prince Harry has lived in California with his wife, Meghan Markle, and their young family. Due to the COVID pandemic, his returns to the UK have been few and far between, but earlier this year that changed. Following the death of his grandfather, Prince Philip, in April, Harry was able to travel back to his homeland - but a new update to the biography Finding Freedom reveals that the Prince actually only booked a one-way ticket.

Just a month before the Duke of Sussex's return to London for his grandfather's funeral, he and Meghan did a very revealing interview with Oprah Winfrey, which made waves in the Sussexes' relationship with the royal family. The couple made accusations of racist comments from someone in the family (which were later denied) and claimed that the institution was unwilling to help Meghan Markle with mental health support following her mistreatment in the media.

In the interview, Prince Harry also described a fractured dynamic between he and his family; he said his relationship with brother Prince William was one "of space," and detailed "a lot of hurt" between he and his father, Prince Charles.

And it seems this context was exactly why the royal only booked a one-way ticket back to the UK for the funeral - because he was unsure how everything would go.

In a newly-added chapter of the book Finding Freedom, which was written by royal correspondents Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand following in-depth interviews with numerous sources very close to Meghan and Harry, the authors wrote: "Not knowing how the [funeral] trip would pan out, Harry had booked a one-way ticket with a return to be planned later. All royal family members were united in their priority to support the Queen in the aftermath of Philip’s death."

The biography continued: "It had been a year since Harry had seen his family, and there was a feeling that this trip might also present an opportunity to come together and talk without the filter of staff as go-betweens."

As it happened, the trip did provide an opportunity for Prince Harry to begin rebuilding his relationship with his family. While there is clearly plenty of work still to be done, brothers Harry and William were filmed talking to one another as they walked from St George's Chapel in Windsor, where the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral took place, back to the castle.

Princes William and Harry at their grandfather, Prince Philip's funeral

Prince Harry ended up staying in the UK for two days longer after the funeral, which he spent with various members of his family. "The following two days for Harry after the funeral were largely spent with Eugenie and Jack, who continue to be close friends of Harry and Meghan," detailed the biography.

"It also provided another opportunity for the prince to spend precious moments with his grandmother, who continued life in a Covid-safe bubble at her Windsor Castle apartment. 'To see each other after so long apart, the longest he hadn’t seen the Queen for, was very special,' shared a Harry source. 'Despite everything that has happened, he has the utmost love and respect for her. Her life of duty and service is one of the many ways in which she has inspired him to also serve.'"

Catriona Harvey-Jenner

Cat is a Senior Editor at Marie Claire, covering news and features across the brand's key purpose pillars, including women's issues, politics, career, mental health, female empowerment and equality, as well as books.