Prince Harry has been slammed for staying in California and ‘not bothering’ to attend Prince Philip’s memorial at Westminster Abbey this morning – with the late Duke’s former protection officer describing his absence as ‘pathetic’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remained at their $14million mansion in Montecito while the rest of the Royal Family, including the Queen despite recent health issues, gathered in London for the poignant event.
Harry, who is due to travel to the Netherlands in two weeks to attend the Invictus Games, refused to travel over a row about his security.
The Duke, 37, is pursuing a legal challenge against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the ‘same degree’ of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.
However, his excuse was branded ‘pathetic’ by Richard Griffin, who spent 14 years as a royal protection officer for Prince Philip.
He said: ‘Prince Philip was their grandfather so William has obviously had a great training from him and is going to learn examples from him. I just hope Harry gets some of these things in his mind.
It [Harry not being here] was a big disappointment for everybody. People were talking about it. Certainly around where I was people were saying he should have been here.
‘All this nonsense about how he couldn’t get protection, as far as I’m concerned that was a pathetic excuse. He should’ve been here to honor his grandfather.
‘At the end of the day, if he was that worried about security, he could’ve stuck with his brother and father who have got wonderful security and he would have been more than safe.’
Other royal watchers also slammed Harry for being the only senior royal to miss the tribute to Prince Philip, with GMB presenter Richard Madeley asking: ‘What is he playing at?’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Global Citizen Live in New York on September 25, 2021. They were the only senior royals to miss today’s service
Richard Griffin with the Queen during his service as royal protection officer. He served Prince Philip in the role for 14 years
Royal expert Angela Levin tweeted: ‘Heart warming to see the great grandchildren at Prince Philip’s thanksgiving service. Plenty of royals, and hundred of those connected to his charities. No one will forget or forgive he who didn’t feel safe.’
Fans took to Twitter to criticize the Duke of Sussex. One wrote: ‘I always defend Prince Harry no matter what but now he can royally kiss my fat a**. He’s far too important to attend his grandads memorial.’
Another said: ‘It’s shameful that Prince Harry refused to attend, but this is the same guy that trashed his family on global TV while his grandfather lay seriously ill in hospital.’
While a third commented: ‘Sorry but Prince Harry should be there, no question and no debate.
‘He probably has ‘better things to do’ in the United States of America with that awful wife of his. A disgrace of epic proportions.’
Harry last returned to the UK eight months ago to unveil the statue of his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales in London on July 1 with his brother Prince William.
However, he does plan to fly to The Hague in the Netherlands in two weeks’ time to attend the Invictus Games for injured military service that he set up.
The Games run from April 16 to 22, which means Harry would have the opportunity to visit his grandmother for her 96th birthday on the 21st.
On March 11, a spokesman for the Duke confirmed that he would not return to the UK for the service – but added that he hopes to visit his grandmother soon.
In April 2021, Harry flew back from California, without Meghan who was heavily pregnant at the time, to attend Philip’s funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
Prince Harry and Prince Philip at the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham on October 31, 2015
Harry sits alone at Philip’s funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021
Royal author Phil Dampier told MailOnline yesterday: ‘It’s very sad that Harry and Meghan won’t be at Prince Philip’s memorial service and I think one day Harry might regret it.
‘He has said that he doesn’t feel safe without Scotland Yard security but to me that sounds like an excuse not to come back to the UK and indicates the rift with his blood family is still bad.
‘Harry was always very fond of his grandfather and was deeply honored when he took over from him as Captain General of the Royal Marines, but sadly that didn’t last long.
‘The pair attended some Remembrance Day events together and there was always a rapport between them, both being serving military men who had seen active service.’
Mr Dampier said that Harry ‘loved’ Philip’s sense of humor and praised him in interviews, adding that this makes his non-attendance ‘all the more mystifying and strange’.
He continued: ‘You get the impression he is still very hurt by what has happened between him and his father and brother, and I’m sure they feel the same, but to miss a memorial for his beloved grandfather is tragic.
‘Harry did fly over for his funeral and for the unveiling of the Diana statue, but hasn’t been back since.
‘He will be at the Invictus Games in The Hague, but there must now be great doubts about whether he will attend any of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
‘I’m sure the Queen is very upset he’s not coming tomorrow but she realizes she can’t make Harry alter his mindset at the moment.’
The Queen shed a tear for Prince Philip at today’s extraordinary service in remembrance of his remarkable life.
Her Majesty stood in Westminster Abbey where she had personally ensured her beloved husband’s final wishes were fulfilled after his Covid-hit funeral left her sat alone without the rousing hymns and guests he loved so much.
The 95-year-old monarch used a stick as she was walked to her seat by her disgraced son the Duke of York to give her ‘strength and stay’ Philip the send-off he wanted at a service attended by the Royal Family and his relatives, friends and people who benefitted from his charities.
The Queen stood and shed a tear for her husband today at an extraordinary service in remembrance of his life
Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Princess Royal, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence. (second row left to right) The Duke of Cambridge, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, the Duchess of Cambridge during a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh
Despite battling mobility problems, she stood to pray and sing anthems during a 40-minute service that her husband of 73 years had helped plan for before his death last April. But chose Prince Andrew to support her as she arrived and left the church, clutching his elbow with one hand and a walking stick with the other.
The Queen had stood with tears in her eyes as the 1,800-strong congregation sang Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer before the bells of Westminster Abbey rang out to mark the end of the memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh.
After she leant on Andrew as she walked back out of the church, the Queen appeared to grimace as she walked to the car hunched over with the Duke of York at her side guiding her towards the Bentley.
She appeared to be holding tightly to her sticks and appeared to be making a great effort to get to the vehicle, concentrating very hard in taking each step. Once inside the car she appeared to be back to her normal composed self as the car slowly drove away. She waved to onlookers as she arrived and left the service.