William’s tribute to Philip was not a dig at Harry, says friend Omid Scobie 

Prince William’s tribute to his grandfather Prince Philip was not ‘a dig’ at his younger brother and the siblings are ‘unified’ despite what it might look like to the outside world, Harry and Meghan’s friend Omid Scobie claimed today.

Mr Scobie also insisted that Meghan ‘wanted’ to attend the Duke of Edinburgh‘s funeral at Windsor on Saturday amid claims in the US she skipped it to avoid being ‘centre of attention’.

In two statements with very different tones, Prince William praised his grandfather’s lifetime of service to ‘Queen, country and Commonwealth’ before Harry declared: ‘He was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end’. 

William’s words focused on duty, continuing Philip’s work and the need to support the Queen, with some royal watchers pondering if this was, in part, a criticism of his brother who quit as a frontline royal and emigrated to the United States with his wife.

But Mr Scobie, a journalist and friend of the Sussexes who wrote their biography Finding Freedom, told Good Morning Britain that the brothers are putting on a united front.

He said: ‘I think for us on the outside it might look like that but I think we have to remember that that is William’s role, he is the future head of state and so he is really thinking about getting back to work.

‘I don’t think it was anything aimed at his brother. In fact I think across the board in the royal family right now everyone is really looking at putting differences aside to focus on what matters and that’s focusing on Prince Philip’s life and legacy but also rallying around the Queen during her time of need.

Harry and Meghan's friend Omid Scobie has insisted that Harry and William are 'unified' despite two very differing statements in tribute to Prince Philip

Harry and Meghan’s friend Omid Scobie has insisted that Harry and William are ‘unified’ despite two very differing statements in tribute to Prince Philip

Prince William has given this moving tribute to his 'grandpa' Prince Philip, who died on Friday at the age of 99, pledging to continue his work and support the Queen

Prince William has given this moving tribute to his ‘grandpa’ Prince Philip, who died on Friday at the age of 99, pledging to continue his work and support the Queen

Prince Harry's tribute to his grandpa Prince Philip, who he called a 'legend of banter', was released via the Archewell charity he set up with Meghan, not Buckingham Palace

Prince Harry’s tribute to his grandpa Prince Philip, who he called a ‘legend of banter’, was released via the Archewell charity he set up with Meghan, not Buckingham Palace

Prince Harry and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on October 31, 2015 in London. Harry is back in London ahead of his grandfather's funeral this Saturday

Prince Harry and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on October 31, 2015 in London. Harry is back in London ahead of his grandfather’s funeral this Saturday

Queen carries on: Grieving monarch ‘will still conduct state opening of Parliament on May 11’

The Queen will not delay returning to work after her husband’s funeral and plans to attend the state opening of Parliament next month, MailOnline can reveal today. 

Her Majesty will attend the ceremonial event in the House of Lords without her husband Prince Philip and will be supported by her son Prince Charles at Westminster on May 11 instead. 

She has entered an eight-day period of mourning following the death of her husband at the age of 99 – and there a further official period of 30 days for the Royal Family, after which the Queen will make a full return to public life and duties.

The monarch has overseen every one of the constitutional set pieces since taking the throne in 1952, apart from in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward respectively.

While the Duke of Edinburgh only missed the event once, 12 months before he retired in 2018, when he was hospitalised.

Today a well-placed Westminster source has said the Queen is still planning to conduct the state opening of Parliament on May 11.  There had been speculation that she might not attend in person amid the pandemic and after the loss of Prince Philip. But one source said: ‘She is still coming, with Charles.’

It came as the Royal Family released more tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh, from officers at Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, where the Queen’s husband was awarded the King’s Dirk for the best all-round cadet of the term, as well as a prize for the best cadet in college. 

 

He added: ‘I think if there’s anything that’s sort of beautiful about this week and in the days leading up to the funeral it’s about seeing a family unified in a way that we haven’t seen in so many years’.

Sources close to the couple said former Suits actress Meghan wanted to join Harry but was advised against travelling by her physician because she is around six months pregnant with their second child – a daughter, due this summer.

But friends claimed to DailyMail.com today that Ms Markle stayed back in Montecito, California, while Prince Harry flew to London because she ‘doesn’t want to be the centrr of attention’ at Prince Philip’s funeral.

Mr Scobie insisted her decision not to come was because of advice from her doctor.

He said: ‘Despite wanting to be there, unfortunately due to a lack of medical clearance, Meghan was unable to come here’. 

William, 38, described the Duke of Edinburgh as an ‘extraordinary man’, spoke of how touched he was by his kindness to Kate and vowed to ‘get on with the job’ as Philip would have wanted.

Harry light-heartedly summed up his grandfather as ‘master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end’.

The royal brothers are the first of Philip’s grandchildren to honour his memory publicly, after his four children each paid tribute at the weekend.

Their statements were released independently. William’s was issued by Kensington Palace, Harry’s was posted on the website home page of his new US-based organisation, Archewell.

But there was a sign the estranged brothers are at least willing to put disagreements aside for the sake of their grandfather’s memory by co-ordinating the release of their tributes via Buckingham Palace.

William’s tribute was issued at 2pm, followed by Harry’s at 2.30pm. Praising his grandfather’s sense of duty and service, William, who is at his Anmer Hall home in Norfolk with his family, said: ‘My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family.’

He also alluded to the support that Philip had given him in the dark days following the death of his mother in 1997.

Philip took William and Harry under his wing at Balmoral, taking them out stalking and shooting, and offering to walk beside them behind their mother’s funeral cortege.

‘I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days,’ William said.

Prince William’s tribute 

‘My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family.

‘I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life, both through good times and the hardest days.

‘I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her.

‘I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humour!

‘My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation.

‘Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support the Queen in the years ahead.

‘I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job.’

Prince Harry’s tribute 

‘My grandfather was a man of service, honour and great humour. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm – and also because you never knew what he might say next. He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the monarch, a decorated serviceman, a prince and a duke.

‘But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end.

‘He has been a rock for Her Majesty the Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage, and while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it!’ So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself. 

‘You will be sorely missed, but always remembered – by the nation and the world. Meghan, Archie, and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts. Per Mare, Per Terram.’

The Duke of Cambridge also released a new photograph, taken by his wife Kate, of a then two-year-old Prince George with his great-grandfather in one of his beloved carriages on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk

The Duke of Cambridge also released a new photograph, taken by his wife Kate, of a then two-year-old Prince George with his great-grandfather in one of his beloved carriages on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk

William also thanked his 'Grandpa' for the 'kindness' he had shown her (pictured during the Trooping the Colour parade on June 17, 2017)  since they became a couple in 2003

William also thanked his ‘Grandpa’ for the ‘kindness’ he had shown her (pictured during the Trooping the Colour parade on June 17, 2017)  since they became a couple in 2003 

Harry is staying at Frogmore Cottage, the couple's former home in the grounds of Windsor Castle. They spent £2.4m of taxpayers' money refurbing it but then gave it back after emigrating

Harry is staying at Frogmore Cottage, the couple’s former home in the grounds of Windsor Castle. They spent £2.4m of taxpayers’ money refurbing it but then gave it back after emigrating

And he made a point of singling out how kind Philip had been to his wife Kate. He made clear that he and his wife intended to follow in his footsteps by supporting the Queen and devoting themselves to their public duties.

‘My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation,’ William wrote. ‘Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support the Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job.’

Harry, who enjoyed an equally warm relationship with their grandfather, described him as a man of ‘service, honour, and great humour’.

He wrote: ‘He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm – and also because you never knew what he might say next.’

The prince, 36, said his grandfather would be remembered as the longest reigning consort in British history, ‘a decorated serviceman, a prince and a duke’ adding: ‘But to me… he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter and cheeky right ’til the end.’ In a nod to Philip’s well-known impatience, Harry added: ‘He has been a rock for Her Majesty The Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage, and while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, “Oh do get on with it!”

‘So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself.’

Harry said he, Meghan, Archie – and Philip’s future great-granddaughter they are expecting this summer – will ‘always hold a special place for you in our hearts’.

He concluded with the Latin motto of the Royal Marines, ‘Per Mare, Per Terram’, meaning ’by sea, by land’. Philip was, for 64 years, Captain General of the Royal Marines, a role he handed down to Harry when he retired in 2017. Although the role was initially held in abeyance after Harry and Meghan announced their plans to quit royal duties, the Queen decided she had no choice but to ask him to give it up this year. Harry was said to be deeply angered by the decision.

Yesterday the Daily Mail revealed how Philip regretted his grandson’s decision to quit royal life and thought it was ‘not the right thing either for the country or themselves’.

He thought their decision to do a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey was ‘madness’ and that ‘no good would come of it’.

But biographer Gyles Brandreth said Philip also believed Harry was a ‘good man’ who had to live his own life.   

A tale of two tributes: RICHARD KAY decodes Princes Harry and William’s very different tributes to Prince Philip… and sees no healing comments to repair royal rift

At its heart, Saturday’s funeral for Prince Philip at Windsor Castle is no more, and certainly no less, than what was always intended – the family farewell to an extraordinary man whose long life brimmed with accomplishment.

But sadly there are other factors which will turn this moving ceremony from a simple act of interment into the most minutely examined royal event for years, with every expression and gesture on the mourners’ faces scrutinised as never before.

The reason, of course, is the presence of Prince Harry and what it means for the future of the monarchy.

Can this most acrimonious of family feuds, which burst into public consciousness with Harry and Meghan’s explosive TV interview a month ago in which they accused an unnamed member of the Royal Family of casual racism, be settled?

Prince Harry and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium, London, October 31, 2015

Prince Harry and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium, London, October 31, 2015

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match at Twickenham Stadium, October 31, 2015

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match at Twickenham Stadium, October 31, 2015

If so, it is the apparent rift with Prince William which is central to any reconciliation.

Yesterday the brothers issued their own, separate, heartfelt tributes to their much-loved grandfather. Seldom have their words been polished and honed with greater care than those they summoned to describe the huge hole Prince Philip’s death has left in their lives.

On one level it was even possible to divine some common ground, unlocked from their shared memories of growing up with this remarkable figure. Both, for example, invoked Philip’s often used maxim of wanting to ‘get on’ with things. And both were dutiful.

But while William’s offering was formal and sober, his brother caught something of his grandfather’s irreverence in colourful, if grammatically incorrect, comments.

The fact that they did not issue a single joint statement as Philip’s grandsons as they once might have, suggests, alas, that a rapprochement is as far away as ever.

Prince William has given this moving tribute to his 'grandpa' Prince Philip, who died on Friday at the age of 99, pledging to continue his work and support the Queen

Prince William has given this moving tribute to his ‘grandpa’ Prince Philip, who died on Friday at the age of 99, pledging to continue his work and support the Queen

Prince Harry's tribute to his grandpa Prince Philip, who he called a 'legend of banter', was released via the Archewell charity he set up with Meghan, not Buckingham Palace

Prince Harry’s tribute to his grandpa Prince Philip, who he called a ‘legend of banter’, was released via the Archewell charity he set up with Meghan, not Buckingham Palace

'My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation': A message from The Duke of Cambridge following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh

‘My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation’: A message from The Duke of Cambridge following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh 

With Harry in strict quarantine at his Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, after flying to London from Los Angeles, and William and Kate with their children at Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, for the Easter school holidays, the chances of the brothers meeting ahead of the funeral service look remote.

So the words they chose to remember the Duke of Edinburgh by will take on even greater significance.

Both included personal memories. William reminisced about his grandfather taking his children for horse-drawn rides – his statement was issued with a photograph of a two-year-old Prince George alongside Philip on his carriage at Sandringham – while Harry remembered him with a beer in hand. Both spoke with affection. Like the Queen, William is reticent and not given to expressing emotion in public. Harry, on the other hand, appears to pride himself on being open and even too emotional for some.

Thirty minutes separated the brothers’ statements but the manner in which they were issued spoke volumes. William’s came first, in line with royal precedent, and was released by Kensington Palace.

Harry, meanwhile, chose not to use the services of the Palace – a mistake surely – and instead gave it to his US-based Archewell Foundation to distribute. This might explain the corny Americanism that stood out in his choice of words.

It was not enough to describe his grandfather as ‘a man of service, honour and great humour’ but he added that Philip was ‘authentically himself’, a curiously modern expression for a 99-year-old man who made a virtue of his old-fashioned bluntness and was anything but politically correct.

But the focus, inevitably, will be on Harry’s decision to include in his eulogy the official motto of the Royal Marines: ‘Per Mare, Per Terram’ – By Sea, By Land.

   

More from Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter…

On the surface, it was a fitting nod to Philip, Captain General of the Marines for 64 years, and whom Harry had succeeded. But by exiling himself from Royal Family duty, he’d had to surrender that role after barely 30 months. And the Marines are unlikely to forget his departure, even if they do forgive it. Was this a cri de coeur about his sadness at losing that honorary title or even perhaps a coded appeal to be allowed to don the Marines uniform for one last time?

The Philip whom Harry recalled was the ‘master of the barbecue’ and the ‘legend of banter’ who was ‘cheeky right ’til the end’, adding: ‘I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it.’

To William his ‘mischievous’ grandfather had been a presence in his life not just in the good times but also ‘the hardest days’, a reference almost certainly to the death of Diana when Philip did so much to console the 15-year-old in his grief.

He was grateful too for the kindness that his grandfather had shown Kate.

But in his remarks was there one icy barb directed at his brother? ‘Catherine and I,’ he wrote, ‘will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support the Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job.’

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Princess Anne preparing a barbecue on the Estate at Balmoral Castle, Scotland during the Royal Family's annual summer holiday, 22nd August 1972

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Princess Anne preparing a barbecue on the Estate at Balmoral Castle, Scotland during the Royal Family’s annual summer holiday, 22nd August 1972

Harry by his actions and his self-imposed absence in California can, of course, do no such thing. But he did include his pregnant wife and son in his salute. ‘Meghan, Archie and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts.’

Two brothers, two very different ways of marking their grandfather’s life, but no sign of any healing comments to mend a heart-breaking rift.

Funerals are often times when families have an opportunity to take stock and put on a united front in public, which can smooth the path in private. Can William and Harry turn back the clock?

It is not so long ago that the two were scarcely ever out of each other’s company, popping in and out of each other’s homes and sharing everything. But the Oprah Winfrey interview has changed everything.

It was not just the attack that he and Meghan made on the cold aloofness of the Royal Family, but also the criticism of Kate and the saga in which the duchess cried, and even dragged flower girl Princess Charlotte into their narrative, that has pushed those close fraternal bonds to breaking point.

On Saturday all eyes will be on the brothers – analysing their expressions, their eye contact, their body language – for any hint of bridges being built and differences being settled. Both know that, even now, far more unites them than divides them.