LONDON - Warring brothers Prince William and Prince Harry, and their wives Kate and Meghan, reunited on Saturday to view floral tributes to Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.
The two couples, all dressed in mourning black, put on a united front as they looked at the banks of flowers left since the queen’s death on Thursday aged 96.
It was William and Kate’s first outing as the new Prince and Princess of Wales, a title once held by William and Harry’s father and mother – the new King Charles III and his first wife, princess Diana.
The sight of the two couples together – even if they separated to speak and shake hands with different sides of the cheering crowds – will likely spark rumours of a reconciliation.
An unnamed royal source was quoted by British media saying that William “invited the Duke and Duchess (of Sussex – Harry and Meghan) to join him and the Princess of Wales earlier”.
Charles also offered what has been interpreted as a clear olive branch to Harry and Meghan, who quit royal life in early 2020 and moved to the United States.
In his first speech as king on Friday, Charles, 73, spoke of his love for his second son and daughter-in-law.
William, Harry, Kate and Meghan were once dubbed “the fab four”, with hopes they could together secure the monarchy’s appeal to younger generations.
But relations between them reportedly soured soon after former British Army captain Harry’s wedding to Meghan, a mixed-race American television actress, at Windsor in 2018.
Harry, 37, the following year admitted publicly that he and his brother were “on different paths” in the clearest indication the rumours were true.
The two couples had last been seen together at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in 2020, just days before Harry and Meghan’s bombshell announcement.
From their sprawling Californian mansion they have made repeated public criticisms of life behind the palace walls, including claims of racism.
That prompted William, 40, to angrily insist that “we are very much not a racist family”.
Harry also claimed that William, who is now heir to the throne after their grandmother’s death, and their father were trapped by convention and duty.
Relations between the brothers were visibly frosty when they reunited last year to unveil a statue to their mother at her former London home, Kensington Palace, on what would have been her 60th birthday.
Diana was killed in a high-speed car crash in Paris in August 1997.
The brothers, who as young boys provided the enduring image of her funeral, walking heads bowed behind her coffin, did not meet during the queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.
Harry and Meghan are staying at Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor estate, just a stone’s throw from William and Kate’s new home, Adelaide Cottage.
British media said that despite their proximity the couples had no plans to meet – until the queen’s death on Thursday.
Harry and Meghan were initially on a whistlestop tour, attending two charity events in Britain and another in Germany for the former’s Invictus Games for disabled veterans.
But they are now expected to stay for the queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey in London on Sept 19. AFP