The Duke of Sussex said he was suddenly told the Queen was too “busy” for him to visit her in the days before he and his wife released their shock statement saying they intended to step down as working royals.
Harry said his grandmother had told him to come and see her at Sandringham after he and Meghan arrived back in the UK from Canada in January 2020.
He said it made him “really sad” that some of the advice which he says the Queen as head of The Firm – the name by which the royal family is sometimes known – had received “has been really bad”.
The Sussexes released their statement on January 8 2020, saying they intended to step down and become financially independent, but still support the Queen – a dual role which in the end was unworkable.
In a previously-unseen clip from the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry said the contents of that statement had been put in a letter “to the institution, to my father, which was then shared at the end of December while we were in Canada”.
He said the Queen had already invited them to spend time with her at the estate in Norfolk, but that plans then changed.
He said “the moment we landed in the UK” on January 6, he got a message from his private secretary at the time, passing on a message from the Queen’s private secretary.
He said it was “basically saying ‘please pass on to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that he cannot come to Norfolk. The Queen is busy, she’s busy all week’.”
Winfrey said: “After she’d just invited to you?”
Harry replied: “She’d just invited me. ‘The Queen is busy, she’s busy all week, do not come up here’.”
Harry said he then rang the Queen from Frogmore cottage that night and told her he was “thinking about coming anyway but I hear you’re now busy”.
He said the monarch told him: “Yes, there’s something in my diary that I didn’t know that I had.”
He said he asked about the rest of the week, and his grandmother had replied that she was busy then too.
He told Winfrey: “I didn’t want to push because I kind of knew what was going on.”
The chat show host asked: “Doesn’t the Queen get to do what the Queen wants to do?”
After a pause, Harry replied: “When you’re head of ‘The Firm’ there is people around you that give you advice.
“And what has also made me really sad is some of that advice has been really bad.”