The Truth About Prince Harry’s Relationship With Queen Elizabeth

If there’s one person whose presence attracts unparalleled attention, it’s Queen Elizabeth. The storied monarch is a beloved figurehead, but despite her decades on throne, Queen Elizabeth’s familial life hasn’t been easy. Most notably, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s exit from royal life has turned heads — a story with a lot of sources, a lot of rumors, and a lot of twists.

Ever since Harry and Meghan announced that they’d be stepping away from their roles as senior royals in January 2020, conflicting reports — about the Queen’s reaction, the involvement of the royals in the decision making process, the rifts in relationships — have been insufferable. So many inside sources spoke for the parties involved, adding fuel to the fire; it really seemed, at one point, that everyone in the royal family was at a breaking point.

So what is the reality of the Queen’s relationship with Harry? How has Harry’s departure from the royal family impacted his dynamic with the monarch? What was exposed during the much anticipated March 7, 2021 interview with Harry and Meghan? Sit tight, because this is the truth about Prince Harry’s relationship with Queen Elizabeth.

Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth shared a kind, funny relationship when he was young

Everyone wants to have a good relationship with their grandmother, but not every grandmother is the Queen of England. But Prince Harry didn’t seem to let titles and formalities impact his early relationship with his grandmother, because as noted by Vanity Fair, the two were very close in Harry’s younger years. 

A close confidant of the Queen shared that the two had a “very warm and jokey grandmother grandson rapport” in both private and public life. For instance, Harry gifted his grandmother a shower cap for Christmas one year that had “Ain’t life a b**ch” written on it. Yes, you read that correctly, the Queen has a racy shower cap. According to Marie Claire, she was absolutely taken with it, “finding it hilarious.” (And you might not know this, but the royals have a “joke gift only policy.”) 

In their shared public lives, Harry often pushed his grandmother into uncharted, but jovial waters. For example, he convinced her to appear in a spoof video with Barack and Michelle Obama for his charity, the Invictus Games. Fair to say that their relationship has a solid foundation.

Queen Elizabeth told a young Prince Harry to put the needs of Britain over his own

Prince Harry has always been a beloved member of the royal family, but he did get up to some wild times during his younger years — think Las Vegas, Nevada, strip billiards, and questionable costumes. So when it came time for him to formally represent Queen Elizabeth during his first international tour in 2012, Harry was given some rather grueling advice from the monarch. 

As noted by British Heritage, Queen Elizabeth told Harry to “think of the nation’s needs rather than [his] own.” Harry’s brother, Prince William, was also privy to the conversation. The advice (which sounded more like a warning if you ask us) reportedly stemmed from the fact that the Queen was “concerned” about Harry’s priorities, and that there was hesitation about his ability to represent the Crown internationally. 

But Harry clearly pulled off the tour and worked to make his grandmother proud. Katie Nicholl, the author of Harry: Life, Loss, and Love, wrote that the tour “was an opportunity to show a sober, more mature side to his personality,” an opportunity that Harry took advantage of.

Queen Elizabeth stepped in after Prince Harry's mother tragically died

The world held its breath when Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, tragically died in a car accident. Diana was beloved by the British public, but her two sons were clearly the most important people in her life. Prince Harry was just 12 years old when his mother passed, and the tragedy greatly impacted both his emotional health and his relationship with Queen Elizabeth. 

In a book about Harry’s life, Finding Freedom by Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, the authors assert that the Queen became “one of the most important women” in Prince Harry’s life. Additionally, her impact wasn’t just limited to the Crown, but extended well beyond her role as a royal (via Town & Country). And it’s not difficult to understand why the Queen felt like she needed to step in. According to Reader’s Digest, the day the palace learned of Diana’s death was unlike any other. Queen Elizabeth was awoken in the middle of the night with the news that she’d been in a car accident. When the news of her death was confirmed to Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth watched as he broke down in tears.

Queen Elizabeth reportedly was delighted to give Prince Harry's marriage her blessing

There have been so many rumors of bad blood between Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle, but the whispers and gossip about tension and negativity couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Katie Nicholl, a royal expert and author of Harry: Life, Loss, and Love, told Entertainment Tonight that Queen Elizabeth couldn’t have been more accommodating to Harry and Meghan when they got engaged, and that she was “genuinely delighted” that Harry had found the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. “She has said to the couple, ‘This is your wedding, this is your day. Plan it as you want it,'” Nicholl revealed. “She is thrilled to be seeing Harry settle down and finally marry, she’s going to want to be a very important part of that day and indeed she will.” 

Nicholl also asserted that in contrast to rumors that the Queen was concerned about Meghan — about her reputation, career, ethnicity, and past divorce — Queen Elizabeth wasn’t worried in the slightest. “Exceptionally close to her grandson, the Queen trusts Harry,” Nicholl added.

Prince Harry's relationship with Queen Elizabeth reportedly was strained before his wedding

Weddings can be a super stressful event for folks. And while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding wasn’t just the day that they publicly tied the knot, it was also a celebration for the entire world. The pressure was on, and the time leading up to the wedding reportedly led to a lot of strain between Harry and Queen Elizabeth. 

As noted by Vanity Fair, a source close to the Queen shared that the monarch became “very upset” due to “Harry’s demands.” “He didn’t want to use the Queen’s staff for the wedding, he and Meghan brought in their own florist and cake makers, and Harry apparently asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to marry them before consulting the Queen and the Dean of Windsor, which wasn’t the correct way to do things,” the source shared. The Queen was reportedly “dismayed by [Harry’s] attitude,” thinking that he was behaving rather “beastly.” 

There was also some drama about what tiara Meghan was to wear, which led to the Queen sitting Harry down for a talk. “Their relationship was quite badly damaged by it all,” the source concluded. Yikes.

Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth reportedly have good communication

As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their presence known in the royal family as a newly married couple, rumors about frustration and tension only grew. But according to Vanity Fair, palace sources adamantly defended Queen Elizabeth, and asserted that she’d been nothing but accommodating and welcoming to the new couple — she even understood why they wanted to take a step back from their royal duties. 

Additionally, the Queen could reportedly tell that Harry and Meghan were finding the pressures of public life difficult, so she “did not rule out” the idea of them scaling back their royal responsibilities. “The Queen is always there to talk about family matters but when it comes to matters of monarchy and the institution it’s not off the cuff,” a royal source said. “It’s not just a case of popping over for tea to discuss it. Decisions made on things like that have ramifications for three generations going forward and time was needed to get this right.” Still, despite any rumored tension, Queen Elizabeth and Harry reportedly communicated about everything.

Prince Harry confirmed that his exit from the royal family wasn't a surprise for Queen Elizabeth

The rumor that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle surprised the royal family with the news of their departure from their roles as senior royals circulated for over a year. But when the couple sat down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey on March 7, 2021, Harry cleared the air. According to People, Harry told Oprah that he didn’t surprise the Queen with the news. “I never blindsided my grandmother,” he explained during the interview. “I have too much respect for her.” 

That respect certainly seems to have helped Harry and Meghan in the fallout of their exodus as well, because despite the gossip about negativity and tension between the couple and the royal family, it’s been asserted that the royals would welcome the couple back in a heartbeat. “The queen has made it absolutely clear that they would always be welcome back if they had a change of heart,” royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Us Weekly. While the likelihood of that happening is arguably small, it should be noted that there is genuine respect and transparency between Harry and the Queen.

Prince Harry understood Queen Elizabeth's decision to take away his military honors

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back from their roles as senior royals, they were put on a one-year probation period. When that year was up and their royal exit was confirmed, the palace announced that both their royal patronages and Harry’s honorary military titles would be taken away. That news really seemed to sting, but Harry told Oprah Winfrey during the March 7, 2021 interview that while he was “hurt” by Queen Elizabeth’s decision to repeal the honors, he very much had respect for her decision. 

According to the Daily Mail, Harry said that he’d “still love… to be able to continue to support” the charities and causes he championed while a royal, “albeit without the title or the role.” Oprah then asked Harry and Meghan if the decision to walk back their honors was “punishment” for doing the tell-all interview. “Those letters, those conversations, that was finalized before anyone even knew that we were going to sit down,” Meghan said. “So, that’s just not true.” Daily reminder to not listen to everything you hear.

Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth are close despite Harry's issues with Prince Charles

A lot of attention has been paid to Prince Harry’s relationship with his father, Prince Charles, and his brother, Prince William; the relationships are certainly strained, but Harry asserted that his relationship with Queen Elizabeth has been positively maintained throughout all the drama and stress. “My grandmother [has] been welcoming throughout,” Harry told Oprah Winfrey in his sit-down interview in March 2021. He also divulged that he had multiple conversations with the Queen and Charles about his future in the royal family. 

It looks as though the Queen was able to stay above the fray, because her relationship with Harry remained intact even though the bond between the young prince and his father was dwindling. Harry revealed, as noted by The Oprah Magazine, that Charles stopped answering the phone when he called, leaving Harry feeling “really let down.” “There’s a lot to work through there,” Harry added. “Of course, I will always love him, but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened” (via People).

Queen Elizabeth has a playful relationship with Prince Harry's son, Archie

In addition to being a beloved monarch, Queen Elizabeth is known as “Gan-Gan” to her great-grandchildren. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son, Archie, has interacted with the Queen via Zoom. 

Harry told James Corden during a segment on the The Late Late Show that both the Queen and Prince Philip know how to navigate Zoom, a video chat service that came in handy during the coronavirus pandemic. The Queen has “seen Archie running around,” and has even sent thoughtful gifts to him in California. Harry shared with Corden that the Queen sent Archie a waffle maker for Christmas, and that the first thing the little guy asks for in the morning is, “Waffle?” 

Harry and Meghan have been able to maintain a communicative relationship with the Queen since their move to the United States, with Meghan sharing with Oprah Winfrey that she’s placed calls to the palace to check in. The couple also has plans, COVID-19 permitting, to travel to the United Kingdom for the Trooping the Colour ceremony in June (via E! News).

Queen Elizabeth still serves as a mentor to Prince Harry, despite his move to the United States

Maintaining any kind of long-distance relationship has been made so much easier with technology; between phone calls, texts, FaceTime dates, and Zoom sessions, it’s easier than ever to stay in contact with people, regardless of the miles between us. And as noted by Marie Claire, Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth have been able to maintain their mentor/mentee relationship, even though Harry relocated to the United States. 

Katie Nicholl, a royal expert and author of Harry: Life, Loss, and Love, told Marie Claire that Harry has “stayed in close contact with other members of his family,” most notably the Queen. Harry reportedly still confides in the Queen, and doesn’t hesitate to ask her for her advice. He’s also continued to share his thoughts and plans about his future with his grandmother. “She is in touch with them, she knows what is going on in their lives, they discuss their plans with her,” Nicholl revealed. “Harry has always seen his grandmother as a mentor. While he might be in LA that has not changed.” That’s really nice to hear.

Queen Elizabeth won't strip Prince Harry of his Duke title

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey was highly anticipated. No subject was off-limits, and after years of silence, the two shared some bombshells during the March 7, 2021 CBS special. 

As noted by Deadline, Queen Elizabeth was “pretty cheesed off” with the entire interview situation, and made it clear to her staff that she’d be focusing on her work at hand, not watching the interview. “The mood in the family is: can everyone just shut the hell up and can we just get on with the day job,” a source said about the situation. 

But despite any frustrations that the bombshell interview may have created, the Queen remained adamant that she won’t punish Harry and Meghan. The Sunday Times reported that royal courtiers suggested potentially taking away Harry and Meghan’s titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex due to the expository nature of the interview, but according to a close source of the Queen, that kind of punishment is “not up for debate.” Looks like the positive aspects of Harry’s relationship with his grandmother prevailed. 

Prince Harry's relationship with Queen Elizabeth is stronger than ever

The time following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s announcement that they’d be leaving their roles as senior royals was fraught with drama. For one, a public feud between Harry and Prince William erupted. Additionally, the couple lost their security and moved to the United States; it seemed like every aspect of their life, royal or otherwise, was uprooted. 

But despite any of the negative attention from the public or the press, Harry asserted that his relationship with Queen Elizabeth is stronger than ever. During his sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, Harry said that the connection between himself and the beloved monarch is strong. “I have spoken more with my grandmother in the last year than I have done in many, many years,” Harry shared (via People). “My grandmother and I have a really good relationship and a good understanding.” 

As for Harry’s relationships with his other family members, including his brother William? Those aren’t as stable, but Harry has hope that things will mend. “I love William to bits — we’ve been through hell together,” he added. “And you know, time heals all things, hopefully.”

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