Are Meghan Markle and Prince Harry returning to the palace gates? The Duke and Duchess of Sussex fled the U.K. in 2020, and as a result, the couple was stripped of their HRH status and various privileges, including personnel.
"There seem to be little indicators from Buckingham Palace that they hope the Sussexes will come back," Gareth Russell exclusively tells The Royal Observer while discussing his book The Palace. "I'm always a little bit skeptical, but recently, the decision in the court here that said the rescinding of security from Prince Harry because he was no longer a working royal was unjustified."
In his 2023 witness statement against the Home Office, Harry claimed he felt "forced" to leave the monarchy, and he didn't feel comfortable returning to his native nation with his kids unless he knew they'd be protected.
"I do think if you are the grandson of a reigning British monarch, out of that, you're going to be the son of a reigning British monarch," the author continues. "We have to be realistic about the threat he will always be facing."
"We cannot hold our royal family at ransom and say, 'You must continue to do this job exactly as prescribed,'" he continues. "If you don't, we will take away your security in Britain for you and your children."
"That's unhinged," the expert notes. "That's awful to say that, and look at the monarchy's defense about how they continued giving Prince Harry security. Many of the people praising Prince Harry would criticize them and say, 'How could they give him the security?'"
"We also have to be realistic about the threat to not just to be a member of the royal family, but national security. What happens if Prince Harry is kidnapped or one of his children or his wife?" Russell questioned. "It becomes a major diplomatic incident."
Aside from Harry's comfortability, the famous redhead insisted in the past that he never left The Firm, but he chose to step down from his senior-level role. Now that King Charles is the leader, there are whispers of the prodigal son returning to the royal fold one day.
"I thought that Queen Elizabeth II was very firm on 'all in all or all out,' and you can't really question her success with of that," Russell admits. "I think Charles III always hoped Harry would come back, and he is more flexible than his mother was — that's not an insult to either of them."
Harry initially wanted to split his time between the U.K. and Canada, but his plans quickly unraveled due to Elizabeth's requirements. Although Harry and Meghan gave up their HRH status when they stepped down from their senior-level positions, there was an element of curiosity surrounding His Majesty's approach to the Sussexes' demands.
"I think Charles III has left the door open for them," Russell adds. "I think some of the interviews they have done have made that more difficult."