Queen Elizabeth II has reportedly told her grandson, Prince Harry, he will “always be welcomed back” into the royal life, as he prepares to step down as a senior member of the royal family.
The 35-year-old royal and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are set to step back from royal life at the end of this month in favour of a new life in Canada with their nine-month-old son Archie.
Harry held a four-hour candid conversation with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth to "clear the air", during which she reportedly told him the door is always open if he and his spouse change their minds.
The 93-year-old monarch is believed to have ended the talk by saying: “You are much loved and will always be welcomed back.”
Harry’s talk with his grandmother took place in Windsor Castle, where he joined the Queen for a light lunch and tea as they discussed his future.
A royal source told The Sun newspaper: “The Queen had a lot to talk to Harry about and this was the ideal time for them to both say their piece.
“When Harry and Meghan announced they wanted to quit it all happened very quickly and it was very stressful for all concerned.
“Sunday was the first time the Queen has had the chance to talk to Harry on his own and really find out what his plans are. It was a much more relaxed environment and they were both able to speak their mind.”
The heart-to-heart came amid reports that the Queen was “very upset” by Harry and Meghan’s decision to leave, but talks over the weekend are said to have “cleared the air” between them.
The insider added: “It’s fair to say she is very upset about him and Meghan leaving and she would love to see more of Archie, as would Prince Charles and the rest of the family.
“She made it very clear to him that he and Meghan are always able to come back if they change their minds and she will welcome them with open arms.
“Hopefully the chat cleared the air and the way forward is looking more positive.”
The source added that the Queen was very upset about her grandson's abrupt departure and that she and her family would love to spend more time with Archie.
She accepts that Harry and Meghan intend to live in Canada, but made it clear that the arrangement can only work if they do not exploit their royal status and try to "cash in" on their Sussex name.
"The Queen is protecting the institution and she is also aware of the cost of security," the source said.
"That is something that still needs to be resolved. But Harry is also a much-loved grandson who she has always doted on."
Harry and Meghan, 38, will officially step down as senior royals on March 31.
- Bang! Showbiz, additional reporting by NZ Herald