Royal Expert Breaks Down Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Next Steps - Exclusive

Buckingham Palace announced the death of England's longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, on September 8. Earlier that day, the royal family had tweeted a separate statement noting that, "The Queen's doctors were concerned for Her Majesty's health." This prompted a mass exodus of senior working royals to travel to Balmoral in Scotland, where the queen spent her final hours. Notably absent from the gathering was the Duchess of Windsor, Kate Middleton, who stayed behind to be with her children on their first day of school, according to People. However, prior to the monarch's death, she and Kate had spent much of their time together, fostering a "close" relationship.

Like Kate, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, was not at the queen's side at Balmoral — though for different reasons. BBC's royal correspondent suggested Meghan stayed away due to potential fears that the royal family would not take kindly to her presence, per the Daily Mail. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, did rush to Scotland, though his plane was still in the air when news of the queen's death broke. Per E! News, Harry and his wife will remain across the pond for "scheduled events for the next 10 days of mourning," and as the new King Charles III assumes his duties.

Despite the sad circumstances, the couple's presence in England is sparking speculation over their current relationship status with the working royals. What do Harry and Meghan's next steps look like in lieu of the queen's death?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will attend the queen's funeral

Many royalists are wondering what the future now looks like Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. According to royal expert Kinsey Schofield, founder of, the Sussexes must first do damage control in order to move forward. "I suspect that Spotify or Archewell Audio had a strategy meeting today to take a magnifying glass through the remaining podcast episodes to ensure that there is nothing critical of the BRF," Schofield told Nicki Swift exclusively, adding that any negativity could be a "PR nightmare" for Harry and Meghan.

As for immediate next steps, it's likely that Meghan will attend the queen's funeral. "I think it would mean a lot to Prince Charles for her to attend the funeral and he was there to walk her down the aisle at her wedding," Schofield said. Harry will also be on hand to pay his respects. Despite the fact he's no longer a working royal, "he is still technically within the line of succession and the queen's grandson," per Schofield.

Harry and Meghan will also want to do everything they can to honor Queen Elizabeth II. Not only was Her Majesty "the primary instigator" for unity within the fold, but Harry has often spoken fondly of his grandmother, and she was known to have a "soft spot" for him despite his falling-out with the family, per Express. Likewise, Meghan told Oprah Winfrey in 2021 (via People), "The queen ... has always been wonderful to me."