Prince Harry says he first found out about the death of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth from the BBC website.
In his memoir Spare, the Duke of Sussex says he had a phone call from his father, then Prince Charles, to say that the Queen’s health was worsening.
But while Prince Harry made plans to travel to Balmoral, he says he was asked not to bring his wife Meghan.
By the time his plane landed in Scotland, he found from BBC News on his phone that the Queen had died.
“When the plane started to descend I saw that my phone lit up. It was a message from Meg: “Call me when you get this.”
“I looked at the BBC website. My grandmother had died. My father was King,” writes Prince Harry.
This account adds previously unknown detail to the events surrounding the Queen’s death last September – and reveals that the news first reached Prince Harry not from his family, but from the online news on his phone, as he arrived on a charter flight from Luton airport.
It might also clarify some confusion on the day of the Queen’s death, when it was first thought that Meghan was travelling with Harry, but it later emerged that she wasn’t.
Prince William’s wife, Catherine, also did not go to Balmoral, the Scottish estate where the Queen had spent her last summer.
In Prince Harry’s account, he says his father told him not to bring Meghan with explanations that “didn’t make any sense, and actually they were disrespectful. I didn’t tolerate it”.
“Don’t even think about speaking about my wife like that,” Prince Harry recalls saying to his father.
“Regretful, he stammered that he simply didn’t want it to fill up with people. Nobody’s wife was going, not even Kate, he told me, so Meg shouldn’t either.
“‘Then you should have started with that,” says Prince Harry’s recollection.
The book, translated from a Spanish edition, reveals details from the prince’s final conversation with the late Queen, which he thought about as he travelled up to Balmoral – including a joke about his own thinning hair.
“I spent almost the whole flight looking at the clouds, reliving the last time I’d spoken to my grandmother. We’d been chatting at length four days before.
“We touched on lots of issues. Her health of course, the chaos in Downing Street, the Braemar Games, which she was sorry not to have been able to attend because she wasn’t well.
“We also spoke about the devastating drought. Meg and I were staying at Frogmore and the lawn was in a really bad state.
“It’s like my head, granny, full of bald spots and brown patches!’ She burst out laughing. I told her to take care of herself and that I hoped we’d see each other soon.”
But by the time he landed he saw the news about the Queen’s death.
“I put on my black tie, got out of the plane under heavy rain and raced up to Balmoral in a borrowed car.”
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