Queen's former spokesman says Harry must heal rift with William

‘Harry has got to sort himself out’: Queen’s former spokesman Dickie Arbiter says prince must heal rift with brother William with Meghan’s help amid fears that couple’s decision to shun royal Christmas could split family

  • Former press secretary Dickie Arbiter warned Harry ‘has got to sort himself out’
  • He spoke out amid mounting speculation of a rift between Harry and William
  • Mr Arbiter, 79, says the Queen is ‘letting her grandchildren get on with it’ 
  • But he said the Duke of Sussex has now ‘got to decide what it is he wants to do’

The Queen’s former spokesman has today warned Prince Harry needs to ‘sort himself out’ amid mounting speculation of a rift between the Duke and his older brother William. 

Dickie Arbiter, who was press secretary to Her Majesty for 12 years, spoke out as it was revealed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would not be spending Christmas with the rest of the royal family at Sandringham.

Mr Arbiter said the Queen was ‘pragmatic’ and let her grandchildren ‘get on with it’ but said Harry has now ‘got to decide what he wants to do.’

The 79-year-old made the comments on Nine News Australia after it was revealed Harry and Meghan confirmed they would be spending Christmas with baby Archie and his American grandmother Doria Ragland.


Harry, Meghan and Archie, pictured in South Africa in September, will spend Christmas with her mother Doria (together right at a Grenfell Tower event in 2019) rather than the Queen and Prince this year. Mother and daughter are expected to support the homeless in London over Thanksgiving, DailyMail.com has learned

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex today shared an unseen photo from Archie’s Christening to celebrate Prince Charles ‘s 71st birthday today amid continuing rumours of a family rift over their Christmas plans

Mr Arbiter pointed to William and Catherine spending Christmas with her mother and father in 2012 and again in 2016, adding, ‘so this is no big deal.’

Dickie Arbiter spoke out as it was revealed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would not be spending Christmas at Sandringham

He added the Queen may have expected such an announcement, but said it was a ‘shame’ the family would not be together. 

He added: ‘I think the Queen is letting [Harry] get on with it, she’s very pragmatic and certainly understand that Harry’s got mental health issues and they need to sort it out. 

‘But she’s not heavy with any of the grandchildren and lets them get on with it. 

‘It’s a pity that Harry and Meghan might not be there but Meghan has got family as well.’

Mr Arbiter did however warn that Harry ‘needed to decide’ what he wants to do as a royal and discussed the 35-year-old dropping out of the royal family, and the line of succession.

He said he hoped Meghan ‘would help him’ heal any alleged rift with his brother. 

This candid shot of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was taken by a member of the pubic at Sandringham at Christmas 2017 – but the royal couples will be apart this year amid rumours of tensions between the brothers and their wives

Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, could spend all of December together

He added: ‘They have got to sort themselves out because this [rift] can’t go on forever. 

‘Harry has got to sort himself out. He’s got to decide what it is he wants to do. 

The Queen, pictured in Aylesford earlier this month, has given Harry her blessing after her grandson called her yesterday at Buckingham Palace to let her know

‘There is a lot of speculation about him dropping out of the royal family but he was born a prince and he’ll die a price and there’s no way he can escape from that.   

‘He’s got to sort his relationship out with his brother. I don’t think the animosity goes as far as Catherine. 

‘But there is a rift between the brothers and the body language between the brothers when they are together is not the best.

‘Hopefully Meghan will help him sort it out. 

‘She was very relaxed, very calm at the Remembrance on Sunday] and Harry was very tense.’ 

On Monday the couple will start a six-week break from royal duties with a intimate Christmas together at their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, most likely.

Her Majesty has given her grandson her full support but intriguingly royals sources said the monarch was in the dark about his festive plans until he called her at Buckingham Palace yesterday to decline her open invite.

The £2.4m overhaul of Frogmore Cottage  (pictured) was approved by the Queen, who is a regular visitor to the Sussexes’ new home out of London – the most

William and Kate have missed Christmas at Sandringham twice since 2012, but Phil Dampier, author of Royally Suited: Harry and Meghan, told MailOnline today: ‘It’s very hard to see this as anything other than a snub to the Queen and the rest of the royal family. It shows there is a deep rift.

‘If Harry and Meghan wanted to heal the divisions they should have turned up at Sandringham. It’s a great shame but there seems to be a problem which is getting worse, not better’.

He added: ‘I don’t buy it’s the turn of Meghan to spend Christmas with her family. She’s only close to her mother and they will see plenty of her during their six-week break. I’m sure that the Queen would be happy to invite Doria to Sandringham to join them’.

As Harry and Meghan confirmed Christmas away from the Queen, it emerged:

  • Harry and Meghan’s Christmas decision has ‘the support of the Queen’, their spokesman said, because other members of the royal family Prince William and Kate have done the same in the past.
  • William and Kate spent Christmas with Kate’s parents in Berkshire in 2012 and 2016.
  • But the decision by the Sussexes will not stem speculation about their isolation from the rest of the family and tensions between Harry and his brother.
  • The couple also missed the annual royal gathering at Balmoral over the summer – although the Queen is a regular visitor to Frogmore Cottage.

DailyMail.com revealed last night that Doria will fly to Britain from Los Angeles before Thanksgiving to celebrate the holiday with her daughter, grandson and son-in-law.

Sources close to the Duchess of Sussex say the 38-year-old royal and her mother are considering spending the day helping out at a homeless shelter in London, not far from her home in Windsor, helping cook and serve the traditional roast turkey and pumpkin pie to those in need.  

The location of the Sussexes’ Christmas is a closely guarded secret but their new home Frogmore Cottage, nestled away from prying eyes in the grounds of Windsor Castle, is a possible destination. 

Queen ‘often pops in to Frogmore Cottage to visit Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as she bids to keep them in the Royal fold – but disagrees with their approach to the media’

The Queen is trying to help the Duke and Duchess of Sussex cope with the pressures of royal life in a desperate bid to reunite the family, it was claimed today.

Buckingham Palace yesterday announced Harry and Meghan will not be spending Christmas with the rest of the royals at Sandringham, fueling speculation of tension in the family. 

A statement said the Sussexes had the ‘full support’ of the monarch to be with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, instead, as Harry’s brother William and wife Kate have previously chosen to spend the festive period with her parents in Berkshire. 

Although some described the move as a ‘snub’ of Harry’s 93-year-old grandmother, it has today been claimed the Queen is at the centre of the bid to bring the family back together.

She is trying to counsel them through their difficulties with media coverage and often visits them at Frogmore Cottage when she goes to neighbouring Windsor Castle, The Daily Express reports. 


The Queen (left) is trying to help the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (right) cope with the pressures of royal life in a desperate bid to reunite the family, it was claimed today 

The newspaper claims the Queen does not agree with some of their decisions about press coverage, but is trying to guide them to heal rifts. 

A spokesman for the Sussexes said last night: ‘Having spent the last two Christmases at Sandringham, their Royal Highnesses will spend the holiday this year, as a new family, with the duchess’s mother Doria Ragland.

‘This decision is in line with precedent set previously by other members of the Royal Family, and has the support of Her Majesty the Queen.

‘For security reasons, we will not be providing further details on their schedule at this time.’

She is trying to counsel them through their difficulties with media coverage and often visits them at Frogmore Cottage (pictured) when she goes to neighbouring Windsor Castle

Although the Palace stressed that the couple’s decision to miss the Royal Family’s traditional Christmas celebrations on the monarch’s Norfolk estate was in no way a ‘snub’, it comes after they turned down an invitation to join her at Balmoral this summer.

But an aide insisted: ‘The duke and duchess see a lot of the Queen as they now live at Windsor. 

‘That’s why they didn’t go to Scotland this summer and why the Queen is supportive of their decision about Christmas.’

The couple could spend it quietly at their new Windsor home with Miss Ragland for the first time – seen as the most likely option – or go abroad, either to the US or even Africa, which Harry views as his ‘second home’.

The six-week sabbatical will begin after Harry’s last official engagement of the year on Sunday. 

It is likely to coincide with Thanksgiving, which falls on November 28 this year.  

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