When Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh passed away at age 99, Prince Harry made what some at this point may see as an unusual move: he dropped everything and rushed to the royal family’s side. Of course, just a year ago, this would have been nothing but the bare minimum of expectation for Harry — but in the wake of his increasing independence from the royals, and his willingness to publicly criticize their treatment of him and wife Meghan Markle, many had been unsure how this particular family reunion would play out. Harry is now in the UK and reportedly staying at his and Meghan’s old home Frogmore Cottage, which has been more recently occupied by his close cousin Princess Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank. While it’s easy to speculate that better times might have had him crashing in Prince William’s spare room instead, there is another reason apart from their ongoing feud that Harry might have chosen to stay at Eugenie’s: meeting her new baby son August Philip Hawke Brooksbank (and yes, that’s a tribute to the late Philip).
Of all his cousins, Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, has always had a special place in Harry’s heart, and he no doubt relishes the opportunity to reconnect with her and meet baby August — even as relations with closer kin like brother William remain tense. People has confirmed that Harry is staying with Eugenie and her husband ahead of Saturday’s funeral, and notes that her connection to Harry in this case includes the fact that her spouse likely won’t attend the funeral either (Meghan, highly pregnant, has been advised not to travel from LA, while Brooksbank may not be in attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions requiring them to limit the number of attendees).
Prince William shares a sweet tribute to his grandfather Prince Philip and looks toward the future of the monarchy.https://t.co/5b1GIg80Dx
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) April 12, 2021
Eugenie has always been not just friendly with Harry but somewhat like-minded, with rumors swirling late last year that the Sussexes might be persuading their royal cousin to join their non-royal way of life. While the Princess has as yet taken no steps that would suggest she’s planning such a change, sources have claimed that she and Brooksbank are eager to keep their child out of the media spotlight while growing up and believe their royal connection provides limited benefits.
It’s possible that William never offered Harry a place to stay while he was in town for the funeral, or that Harry didn’t ask, or that none of it works this way and royal arrangements are simply made without either brother needing to explicitly offer or turn down anything. The royal rumor mill suggests that Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview left William deeply offended and eager to respond in kind, and that conversations between the brothers have been stiff and unproductive when it comes to brokering peace. At a time in which they’re already mourning, it may have been far simpler for both brothers not to address this tension too, and for Harry to go stay with someone less likely to sit in judgment of his choices.
Then again, maybe William was just already hosting other family members and Harry was dying to meet royal baby August. With a new daughter on the way, Harry seems like the kind of dad who would be unable to resist giving his newborn relative a hug if he has the chance, even if it’s for a very sad reason.
Before you go, click here to see the best photos of Prince Philip’s remarkable life.