Prince Harry lands at Heathrow after becoming first royal to leave Balmoral after Queen’s death – as he is spotted wrapping his arm round Aberdeen airport worker before BA flight back
- Do you know the airport worker Harry comforted? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Duke of Sussex landed alone at Aberdeen Airport after the announcement of Queen’s death was made
- Harry arrived at Balmoral at just before 8pm last night. He left for Windsor at around 8.28am today
- He had been due to make a speech at the WellChild Awards in London last night but cancelled the appearance
- Harry then raced up to Scotland as news of The Queen’s deteriorating health broke as Meghan stayed behind
- The Sussexes’ spokesman had initially said the couple would go together – before last minute change of plan
- Follow MailOnline’s liveblog for updates today after Her Majesty The Queen died aged 96 at Balmoral
- Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing
Prince Harry has landed at Heathrow after jumping on an early morning BA flight where he comforted an airport worker with a reassuring hand on her shoulder after she gave him her condolences about the death of the Queen.
He is heading back to Windsor to be with Meghan Markle having left Balmoral after 12 hours mourning his grandmother with his father, King Charles III, and brother Prince William – as it was claimed the Sussexes will stay in Britain for ten days until the state funeral.
The Duke of Sussex was the last royal to arrive at the Aberdeenshire castle last night and the first to leave this morning after losing a race against time to get to the Queen’s bedside before she died yesterday.
Today the world mourns the death of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch as her son accedes to the throne. The Queen’s coffin – draped in the Royal Standard with a wreath of her favourite flowers on top – is believed to be at rest in the ballroom of Balmoral, where she spent every summer with her beloved Prince Philip.
The King and the Queen Consort, Camilla, have left for London where the monarch will meet the Prime Minister before addressing the nation. His siblings and his eldest son Prince William remain at Balmoral.
A Buckingham Palace source told MailOnline: ‘King Charles must return to London to attend to matters of state. But the other senior royal will spend a day of quiet reflection at Balmoral Castle.’ King Charles III will be proclaimed at the Accession Council at 10am tomorrow in the State Apartments of St James’s Palace.
Harry headed back to Meghan at 8.28am, where he was sat alone in the rear of a Range Rover as he was driven out of the Royal Family’s Scottish home, where he had arrived at 7.52pm last night. He was swept into Aberdeen airport at 9.20am, led by five police outriders, and boarded a flight to London leaving at 10am.
Harry wore a black suit and carried a shoulder bag as he walked towards the steps of the plane. An airport worker offered her sympathies as the Prince was about to walk up the steps of a British Airways aircraft.
The woman, who was dressed in a high- visibility yellow jacket, addressed Prince Harry. The royal smiled and patted her gently in the shoulder before boarding the aircraft for London’s Heathrow Airport.
Grief was written on the Duke of Sussex’s face after he landed in Scotland yesterday – 15 minutes after Her Majesty’s death was announced to the world. He had his head bowed and partially covered his face as he was driven out of Aberdeen airport, arriving at Balmoral after dark. He left 12 hours later.
The Sussexes, whose comments since Megxit has caused a rift with the royals, especially William, were not expected to see any members of the Royal Family – despite staying yards from the Cambridges during their pseudo-royal tour of Europe – until yesterday’s tragedy.
Prince William had flown up on a RAF jet with Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie. But it is understood that they did not reach the estate before she passed. Initial reports had said his younger brother would also be on board.
But instead Harry was in mid air when Buckingham Palace announced the death of his beloved grandmother. He flew by private jet from Luton Airport, arriving at Balmoral an hour and a half after the historic statement.
Courtiers issued the declaration at 6.30pm – just over an hour after Prince William and other senior royals had arrived to join Prince Charles at the Queen’s residence. Liz Truss was told at around 4.30pm, Downing Street said.
But when the world was being told the saddest of news, Harry’s Cessna was still in the air, making its approach to Aberdeen Airport.
The Duke of Sussex’s flight had been due to land at 6.29pm, a minute before the statement. But it was 20 minutes late taking off from London’s Luton Airport – with flight data showing it departed at 5.35pm. It took one hour and 11 minutes to reach Aberdeen.
By the time he landed, at 6.46pm, it was 16 minutes after the palace had made the announcement.
Harry then faced a lonely drive to the castle, finally arriving at 7.52pm where he joined other members of the Royal Family in mourning the Queen’s death.
He looked ashen-faced on the back seat of the Range Rover as it swept into the Balmoral estate. As well as losing a beloved grandmother, he may have been reflecting on his future without her as monarch. She remained fond of him, in spite of recent challenges, and he was said to have retained an ability to make her laugh.
By the time he arrived, his and Meghan’s Archewell website homepage had been replaced with a respectful blackedout page with the words: ‘In loving memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022.’
Earlier in the day there had been confusion over whether Meghan was also on her way to Scotland.
In the morning, it appeared they were both intending to visit Her Majesty’s residence – until changing the plan so that Harry went alone.
As senior royals dashed to the bedside, a spokesman for the Sussexes was widely reported to have announced that Meghan and Harry were on their way.
The possibility raised eyebrows behind palace doors, given the recent strained relations between the Sussexes and senior royals.
Meghan’s well-publicised accusations about racism in the Royal
Family and alleging it did not support her in palace life overshadowed the Queen’s final days.
In contrast to the Sussexes, there was never any suggestion that the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge would go together.
While William hastened north, Kate remained in London, where she was seen taking their children to their first full day at their new school.
Senior royals including William are said to have been avoiding his brother and wife amid concerns any encounters could provide material for the Duke of Sussex’s forthcoming book.
Although they live in California, the Sussexes have been in Europe this week on a mini ‘royal’-style tour, including an event in Germany for the duke’s forthcoming Invictus Games.
Last night they had been due to attend the WellChild Awards in London, which honours the brave deeds of seriously ill children.
They were not scheduled to see the Queen at all during their trip to the UK, but decided to go to Balmoral on hearing about Her Majesty’s health, it was reported yesterday morning.
However by the afternoon, the plan suddenly experienced a dramatic U-turn, with Meghan apparently no longer coming. A spokesman for the couple was widely reported as saying Meghan would now remain in London, although would not attend the WellChild awards. It was said the duchess could potentially join Harry in Scotland at a later date.
Harry and Meghan’s children Archie and Lilibet – named after the Queen – have stayed behind in the United States, and the couple were expected to return to them by the end of the week.
Earlier this week, one of the Sussexes’ favoured journalists claimed that Meghan and Harry still had not spoken to William and Kate, despite enjoying a day off from their tour, at Frogmore Cottage just 700 yards away from the latter pair’s Adelaide Cottage.
It was claimed this week that William had resolved not to speak to Harry until after his memoirs are released, fearing their conversation would appear on its pages.
The brothers now face seeing a lot of each other as they prepare for the Queen’s funeral.
The last time the Sussexes saw The Queen was in June amid the celebrations for the Platinum Jubilee, when they introduced her to their daughter Lilibet – named in honour of Her Majesty’s childhood nickname – for the first time.
King Charles, seen carrying a briefcase, took a royal helicopter to Balmoral from Dumfries House with his wife this morning. Princess Anne was already at Balmoral after an engagement this week.
A flight carrying Prince William, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex – flew from RAF Northolt in London and landed at Aberdeen at 4pm.
The Duke of Cambridge took to the wheel of his Range Rover with his uncles and aunt on board amid deep concerns about Her Majesty’s health earlier today.
It was confirmed that Her Majesty had died ‘peacefully’ at Balmoral this afternoon, at the age of 96.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow’.
The Queen’s death will see Britain and her Commonwealth realms enter into a ten-day period of mourning as millions of her subjects in the UK and abroad come to terms with her passing.
And as her son accedes to the throne, there will also be a celebration of her historic 70-year reign that saw her reach her Platinum Jubilee this year – a landmark unlikely to be reached again by a British monarch.
Charles, the King, said: ‘The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.
‘We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.
‘During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely held.’
The Queen’s coffin will be moved to London on the royal train via Edinburgh before she lies in state in Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament for four days. Hundreds of thousands of people will be able to pay their respects.
The state funeral is expected take place at Westminster Abbey in central London on Monday, September 19, which will be attended by her bereft family as well as 2,000 heads of state, prime ministers and presidents, European royals and key figures from public life around the globe.
Flags will fly at half mast on UK Government buildings in tribute to the Queen from now until the morning after her funeral.
Guidance was issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the flying of official flags.
All such flags, which include Union Flags and any national flag, are to be ‘half masted on all UK government buildings as soon as possible today until 0800 the day following the Queen’s state funeral’, the department said.
It advises that any non-official flags, which include for example the rainbow flag or Armed Forces flag, should be taken down and replaced with a Union Flag flying at half mast.
The Union flag on Buckingham Palace was at half mast on Thursday while a framed plaque announcing the Queen’s death was placed on the front gates by royal household staff.
Similarly, flags at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh were lowered to half mast, along with those at the Scottish Parliament and at Scottish Government buildings.
Half mast means that flags are flown a third of the way down the flagpole, with at least the height of the flag between the top of the flag and the top of the pole.
The Royal Standard is never flown at half mast, even after the Queen’s death, as there is always a monarch on the throne – with the role passing to her son the King.
Liz Truss stepped out of No 10 and to the podium on Downing Street at 7.07pm, dressed in black, to address the nation following the Queen’s death.
Ms Truss was appointed as Prime Minister by the Queen at Balmoral only two days ago.
Liz Truss hailed the Queen, who appointed her as the 15th Prime Minister of her reign on Tuesday, said: ‘Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her.’
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described the Queen as a ‘remarkable sovereign’, adding: ‘It is a deep, private loss for the royal family and all our thoughts are with them at this time. The nation shares in their grief.
‘We will always treasure Queen Elizabeth II’s life of service and devotion to our nation and the Commonwealth; our longest-serving and greatest monarch.
‘Above the clashes of politics, she stood not for what the nation fought over, but what it agreed upon. As Britain changed rapidly around her, this dedication became the still point of our turning world.
‘So as our great Elizabethan era comes to an end, we will honour the late Queen’s memory by keeping alive the values of public service she embodied.
‘For 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II stood as the head of our country. But, in spirit, she stood amongst us.’
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden said the Queen was ‘more than a monarch’ and that she ‘defined an era’. A White House statement said: ‘In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her. She, in turn, dedicated her whole life to their service’.
The Queen’s passing came more than a year after that of her beloved husband Philip, her ‘strength and guide’, who died aged 99 in April 2021.
Since his funeral, where she poignantly sat alone because of lockdown restrictions, her own health faltered, and she was forced to miss an increasing number of events mainly due to ‘mobility problems’ and tiredness.
Through such longevity Elizabeth inevitably experienced personal lows as well as great national highs, but won deeper admiration for the stoicism she showed in the face of adversity and her ability to remain untainted by scandals that occasionally engulfed her family.
She famously declared 1992 her ‘annus horribilis’, after it saw a devastating fire gut Windsor Castle and the marriages of her children Anne, Charles and Andrew all falter.
Five years later she steered the Crown through its gravest crisis since the abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII, when Princess Diana was killed in a Paris car crash.
And in the last years of her life she faced her grandson Harry exiting royal life and entering into a war of words with ‘The Firm’ after moving to California with wife Meghan rather than continue living in Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
The Sussexes also carried out a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, and Harry is planning to release a tell-all book.
In January 2020 the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shocked the world by announcing their intention to step down as senior royals.
Buckingham Palace said all were ‘saddened’ by their decision to permanently step down as working royals, but they remained ‘much loved members of the family’.
A statement added that the Queen had ‘written confirming that in stepping away from the work of the Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service’.
But the Sussexes hit back with a statement of their own, saying: ‘We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.’
Prince William, 40, is now heir to the throne of the United Kingdom after Prince Charles’s accession and is expected to become the new Prince of Wales, with his wife Kate Middleton taking on the new title of the Princess of Wales.
William is the oldest royals among the top eight in line, and is followed by his three children Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven, and Prince Louis, four.
Following the Cambridges are Prince Harry, his children Archie and Lilibet, and then Prince Andrew and his two daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York.
William has become a hugely popular member of the Royal Family in recent years, with his wedding to Kate in April 2011 watched by an estimated two billion people.
Technically, Charles’s wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles, has been the Princess of Wales until now, but she has used the feminine equivalent of Charles’s Duke of Cornwall title, the Duchess of Cornwall.
The Duchess of Cornwall is thought to not use the Princess of Wales title out of respect for Charles’s ex-wife Princess Diana, who died in Paris in August 1997.
Camilla will now become Queen Consort after the Queen gave this approval.
Following the Queen’s death, Charles also becomes head of the Commonwealth – and it has been claimed Harry will take a more active role in this.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, is now technically a prince following the death of the Queen – a title which Meghan controversially claimed was previously denied to him because of his race.
His younger sister, Lilibet ‘Lili’ Mountbatten-Windsor, is also entitled to be a princess following the death of the Queen and with her grandfather, the Prince of Wales, becoming King.
The rules set out by King George V in 1917 mean Archie and Lili – as the children of a son of a sovereign – also now have an HRH style if they choose to use it.
During the explosive Oprah Winfrey interview, Meghan Markle described her ‘pain’ as she claimed officials had denied Archie the title of prince and accused Buckingham Palace of failing to protect him by denying him 24/7 security.
When asked if it was ‘important’ for Meghan that Archie be called a prince, she said she doesn’t have any attachment to the ‘grandeur’ of official titles.
But she said it was about ‘the idea of our son not being safe, and also the idea of the first member of colour in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be.’
Meghan argued in the Sussexes’ bombshell interview with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey that Archie was not given the title of prince because of his race.
However, when Archie was born seventh in line to the throne in May 2019, he was too far down the line of succession.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not thought to be visiting the Queen during their European tour this month.
On Tuesday they were in Dusseldorf, Germany, to mark a year before the next Invictus Games, where they were greeted by rapturous crowds of royalist enthusiasts, while today’s schedule was intended to be focused on the Wellchild Awards.
The duke has served as a patron of Wellchild since 2007.
The couple’s tour was the subject of mounting speculation about whether they would see other members of the Royal Family, in particular Harry’s father Prince Charles and brother Prince William.
A royal insider said the two brothers had seen each other just twice in 12 months.
How Britain will mourn Queen’s death: King Charles to address the nation within hours before thousands will pay their respects to Her Majesty as she lies in state before funeral which is expected on Monday, September 19
By Mark Duell
The Queen died aged 96 yesterday and King Charles III is now the new monarch. Here is the day-by-day account of what is expected to happen next, leading up to the Queen’s funeral expected on September 19:
Day of Death
Yesterday would traditionally have been D-Day or D+0 in the plans for the aftermath of the Queen’s death, codenamed London Bridge.
But the announcement came late in the day – at around 6.30pm yesterday – meaning plans have been shifted a day to allow the complex arrangements to be put in place, meaning D+0 will be considered today.
The new King had dashed to the Queen’s bedside. Charles was joined by the monarch’s other children the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex, with the Duke of Cambridge, now heir to the throne.
The Duke of Sussex also travelled there but left alone this morning. Also at Balmoral are Camilla – the new Queen – and the Countess of Wessex. The King and Camilla will return to London today.
The following is expected to take place in the coming days, but Buckingham Palace has yet to confirm plans:
D+0 – Friday September 9
– The King and Queen to return to London – Charles and Camilla stayed at Balmoral overnight last night, but return to London today.
– 12pm: Church bells expected to ring across the country in commemoration of the Queen. Bells will toll at Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and Windsor Castle – but the timing of that has not been confirmed.
-12pm: Tributes to the Queen will be paid by MPs in the House of Commons, led by Prime Minister Liz Truss and Speaker of the House Lindsay Hoyle.
– 1pm: Gun salutes – one round for every year of the Queen’s life – will be fired in London’s Hyde Park and at other stations.
– Audience with the PM – despite his grief, duty calls for new sovereign Charles who will have his first audience as monarch with Prime Minister Liz Truss this afternoon.
– Confirming funeral plans – Charles is likely to meet the Earl Marshal – the Duke of Norfolk – who is in charge of the accession and the Queen’s funeral, to approve the carefully choreographed schedule for the coming days.
The London Bridge arrangements have long been planned in consultation with the Government. They will incorporate Operation Unicorn, the contingency plans for the death of the Queen in Scotland.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Government and the Royal Household prepared a ‘London minus’ version of the London Bridge plans in case it was needed – which is now unlikely – with all the elements but with the involvement of fewer people.
– Court mourning – A period of royal mourning for members of the royal family and royal households will be observed until seven days after the Queen’s funeral, the date of which is to be confirmed by Buckingham Palace.
– National mourning – The Government will confirm the length of national mourning, which is likely to be around 12 days, from now up to the day after the Queen’s funeral. They will also announce that the funeral day will be a public holiday in the form of a Day of National Mourning.
– 6pm: Televised address by King Charles III – The King will make a televised address to the nation, which he is due to pre-record. He will pay tribute to the Queen and pledge his duty to his service as the new sovereign.
– 6pm: Service at St Paul’s Cathedral – The Prime Minister and senior ministers will attend a public service of remembrance at St Paul’s in central London.
– Flags – Union flags on royal buildings are flying at half-mast. The Royal Standard never flies half-mast. It represents the Sovereign and the United Kingdom, and is a symbol of the continuation of the monarchy.
If the new King is in residence at a royal palace or castle, the Royal Standard will fly there full-mast as is the tradition. The Union flag does not fly there at the same time.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is in charge of arrangements for lowering flags on government buildings.
Downing Street reportedly expressed concern in the past that the Government would face a wave of public anger if it did not lower its flags within 10 minutes of the announcement of the Queen’s death.
– Sports events – A decision is likely to be made later today on whether sports bodies such as the Premier League will cancel matches this weekend. Official Government guidance recommends sports bodies should consider cancelling events on the day of the funeral, but there is no obligation for other days.
D+1 – Saturday, September 10
The Accession Council meets, traditionally at 10am, at St James’s Palace in London to formally proclaim Charles as the new sovereign.
First, the Privy Council gathers without the King to proclaim the new monarch and arrange business relating to the proclamation.
Then Charles holds his first Privy Council, accompanied by Camilla – the new Queen – and William who are also Privy Counsellors, and makes his personal declaration and oath.
The first public proclamation of the new sovereign is read in the open air from the Friary Court balcony at St James’s Palace by the Garter King of Arms.
Proclamations are made around the city and across the country.
Union flags go back up to full-mast at 1pm and remain there for 24 hours to coincide with the proclamations before returning to half-mast.
Charles will also hold audiences with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
D+2 – Sunday, September 11
The Queen’s coffin is expected to be taken by road to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
Proclamations will be read in the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland devolved parliaments in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
D+3 – Monday, September 12
Procession is expected along Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral. Service and the Vigil of the Princes by members of the royal family.
The public may get the chance to file past the Queen’s coffin at a mini lying in state in St Giles’.
The House of Commons and the House of Lords are expected to come together in Westminster for a Motion of Condolence, which the King could attend.
After leaving England and visiting Scotland, Charles will at some stage travel to the other countries of the UK – Wales and Northern Ireland – known as Operation Spring Tide.
D+4 – Tuesday, September 13
Coffin expected to be flown to London. Expected to be at rest at Buckingham Palace.
A rehearsal for the procession of the coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster takes place.
D+5 – Wednesday, September 14
The Queen’s lying in state is expected to begin in Westminster Hall – Operation Marquee – following a ceremonial procession through London. It will last four full days.
The Archbishop of Canterbury will conduct a short service following the coffin’s arrival.
Hundreds of thousands of people will file past the coffin on its catafalque and pay their respects, just as they did for the Queen Mother’s lying in state in 2002.
The management of the queues outside is Operation Feather.
During the Covid-19 crisis, plans included the possibility of the introduction of timed ticketing for those wanting to attend.
Senior royals are also expected to pay their own moving tribute, standing guard at some stage around the coffin – the tradition known as the Vigil of the Princes.
D+6 – Thursday, September 15
Lying in state continues and a rehearsal is likely to take place for the state funeral procession.
D+7 – Friday, September 16 – Sunday, September 18
Lying in state continues, ending on D+9. Heads of state begin to arrive for the funeral.
D+10 – Monday, September 19
The Queen’s state funeral is expected take place at Westminster Abbey in central London.
The original plans are for the Queen’s coffin to process on a gun carriage to the abbey, pulled by naval ratings – sailors – using ropes rather than horses.
Senior members of the family are expected to poignantly follow behind – just like they did for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh.
The military will line the streets and also join the procession.
Heads of state, prime ministers and presidents, European royals and key figures from public life will be invited to gather in the abbey, which can hold a congregation of 2,000.
The service will be televised, and a national two minutes’ silence is expected to be held.
The same day as the funeral, the Queen’s coffin will be taken to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for a televised committal service.
Later in the evening, there will be a private interment service with senior members of the royal family.
The Queen’s final resting place will be the King George VI memorial chapel, an annex to the main chapel – where her mother and father were buried, along with the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret.
Philip’s coffin will move from the Royal Vault to the memorial chapel to join the Queen’s.