When members of the British royal family came together in April for Prince Philip’s funeral, which was a much more scaled back affair than typical royal funerals due to the coronavirus pandemic, one person was notably absent: Meghan Markle. The Duchess of Sussex, who was heavily pregnant at the time with her second child, was not given medical clearance to fly as her husband Prince Harry returned home for the first time in more than a year, though her absence was reportedly a relief to some members of the family, according to the new epilogue of the Sussex biography Finding Freedom.
In the revised version of the book, obtained by E! News, biographers Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote that despite “the difficulties Harry and Meghan faced” at the time amid reports of a deep rift in the royal family, “there was never any doubt that Harry would race back to England to be with his family.” Markle also reportedly “hoped to accompany Harry, but as she was heavily pregnant with their daughter, her doctors wouldn’t give her medical clearance to fly.” According to sources, “several members of the royal family are understood to have been ‘quietly pleased'” that Markle remained in California “because they ‘didn’t want a circus” and were afraid of “the Duchess creating a spectacle.” At this time, Buckingham Palace has not commented on the claims, and Markle and Harry have denied involvement in Finding Freedom, a representative for the couple having previously told the outlet that they “were not interviewed and did not contribute.”
Philip’s funeral came amid a tumultuous time for the British royals, as it came just weeks after Harry and Markle’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. That interview led to a number of alarming confessions, including allegations of racism and Harry speaking candidly about his troubled relationships with his father, Prince Charles, and older brother, Prince William. Due to the nature of the interview and the intensity under which the royals were under at the time, all eyes had been on Philip’s funeral and Harry’s reunion with his family. Following the ceremony at St. George’s Chapel, Harry had been spotted outside chatting with William and Kate Middleton, and things only seem to have improved since then.
Royal expert Stewart Pearce recently told Us Weekly Harry and Markle and William and Middleton “are talking with one another and they’re talking by Zoom [and by] FaceTime.” Despite the drama that has shadowed them in recent months, the two couples are said to be growing “very close” in the process.