Sussexes claim royal institution ‘blocked' Harry from seeing the Queen

In the final episodes of their Netflix series, Meghan also reflects on her relationship with the late monarch.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have claimed the institution “blocked” Harry from seeing his grandmother, the Queen, after they decided to step back as senior royals.

The final three episodes of their Netflix series, which dropped at 8am on Thursday, contain a number of references to the late monarch, with the fourth instalment starting with clips from her wedding to the Duke of Edinburgh.

The duke tells in episode five that they were planning to fly back to the UK from Canada for a visit in early 2020 and the Queen told him she had no plans all week so they could go for tea and stay the night.

Fiftieth anniversary of the Investiture of the Prince of Wales
Meghan with the royal family including the Queen at a reception at Buckingham Palace to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the investiture of the Prince of Wales (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Meghan said: “We’re flying back from Vancouver straight to Heathrow and right as we’re getting on the plane this urgent message comes through to H, saying: ‘You are not allowed to go and see Her Majesty.

“Make sure that your principal is aware he cannot go and see her. She’s busy. She has plans all week.’”

Harry told the camera: “I was like ‘Well, that’s certainly the opposite to what she had told me’.”

“Once we were back in the UK, I rang her and said ‘We’re now told that you’re busy’.

“And she said ‘Yes. I didn’t know that I was busy. I’ve now been told I’m busy all week. I’ve actually been told I’m busy all week’. I was like ‘Wow’.”

Meghan added: “I remember looking at H and thinking ‘My gosh. This is when a family and a family business are in direct conflict because they’re blocking you from seeing the Queen, but what they’re really doing is blocking a grandson from seeing his grandmother.”

Harry also denied claims he “blindsided” the Queen with the couple’s social media statement on stepping back as senior royals, dubbed Megxit by some in the press.

Meghan said that, as they suspected contents from Harry’s letter to his father had been leaked, they could “could feel the ticking clock from that point”.

She added: “So with our team we decided that we were going to put out a statement to say that we were going to, sadly, be stepping back, not stepping down, but to just have a reduced role.”

Harry added: “For my whole life the purse strings have been controlled by my father. Within a family, it’s normal to have that financial control over other members of the family.”

Meghan said their intentions to continue supporting the Queen and the Commonwealth were “in black and white” in the statement.

The documentary cuts to news coverage of the fallout with news presenters’ voices saying Charles and William were only sent a copy of the statement 10 minutes before it was released.

“This idea that I supposedly blindsided my grandmother just never happened. I have so much respect for her,” Harry said.

Meghan added: “This has been on going for months and months. I think in some people’s mind this was me going: ‘Post!’ – What?”

The duchess also disclosed the Queen told her to write the letter to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, which was then leaked to the press.

Meghan subsequently sued the current publisher of the Daily Mail, Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), and won in 2021 after The Mail On Sunday published parts of the “personal and private” letter.

Elsewhere, she spoke of her first official engagement with the Queen and how the late monarch had covered her with a blanket to keep her warm.

Speaking of their relationship, she said: “I treated her as my husband’s grandma, and knowing that of course there has to be a completely different sense of propriety in public, when you’re sitting and having breakfast to just be able to talk.

“When we got into the car in between engagements she had a blanket and she put it over my knees and we were sitting in this car with this blanket and I thought ‘I recognise and respect and see that you’re the Queen, but in this moment I’m so grateful that there is a grandmother figure because that feels like family’.

“And because I was so so close with my grandmother,” Meghan said, adding she had taken care of her grandmother “in her final years”.

Meghan added of her engagement with the Queen that it was “such a good day, we laughed”.