Why Prince Harry's Initial Prince Philip Tribute Was 'Highly Criticized,' According To An Expert

Prince Harry arrived in England on April 11, 2021, just two days after the death of his grandfather, Prince Philip. Harry will be attending Philip's funeral service, which will be held on April 17, 2021, at St George's Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, according to BBC News. This trip marks the first time that Harry has seen his family since he left the UK with his wife, Meghan Markle — who didn't travel to the UK because she is pregnant — in March 2020. It's also the first time that Harry has seen his family since his sit-down with Oprah Winfrey that aired back on February 7, 2021, and caused tensions within the Royal Family to flare. Several reports indicate that Harry hasn't had the best communication with his family over the past year, and that things have only gotten worse since the bombshell interview with Oprah.

Nearly one month to the day after that interview aired, the Duke of Edinburgh died. "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle," read the official statement from the palace, via Twitter.

Shortly thereafter, a statement was posted on Harry and Meghan's Archewell website. A royal expert was quick to highlight quite a few issues with what Harry and Meghan originally put out. Keep reading to find out more.

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle's statement on Archewell's website was 'out of order'

After Prince Philip's death, members of the Royal Family first shared the same message that the palace sent out, all clearly on the same page in keeping with protocol. However, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose to put out their own statement on their charity website Archewell. "In loving memory of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021. Thank you for your service. You will be greatly missed," the statement read. 

The List caught up with royal expert Kinsey Schofield, founder of ToDiForDaily.com, a website about the British Royal Family, to discuss Harry and Meghan's decision to go against the grain. "It seems like these statements [were] being released in a specific order, royal rank, by the palace and perhaps Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Archewell page statement was 'out of order,' which I imagine caused some eye rolls at Buckingham Palace," Schofield said. "On Friday, all members of the royal family shared the same message across social media so press wise, everyone was quoting the Queen's statement and that alone. Hours later they were quoting the Queen's statement AND the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Archewell landing page," Schofield added. 

Schofield also believes that Harry and Meghan's statement was made out of "ignorance," rather than the Duke and Duchess of Sussex posting it "on purpose," perhaps in an effort to try to "position themselves as important as the Queen," or with other malicious intent. 

Prince Harry's initial statement appears to have been removed from the Archewell website

Kinsey Schofield pointed out that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's statement on Archewell's website was "so corporate and highly criticized." Aside from the fact that the statement was clearly released without following protocol, going against what other members of the Royal Family had been doing, it was also very bland, and lacked any kind of personal touch. Over the course of a few days, Schofield kept a close eye on what was being said, and which Royal Family members had been releasing more personalized statements — and when.

"Slowly over the weekend, senior members of the royal family began to react, it appeared to be based on rank. Then we received statements from William and Harry separately this morning," she told The List. "I think this was a case of Harry and Meghan, yet again, jumping the gun instead of asking what the palace's plan was – since the palace has had a plan in place for at least a decade. A plan Prince Philip likely participated in and approved," she added.

Interestingly, Harry and Meghan's initial statement on the death of Prince Philip appears to have been removed from the Archewell website. It has since been replaced with Harry's new, more personalized tribute to his grandfather. You can read it below. 

Prince Harry's tribute to Prince Philip was more personal

The second post on the Archewell website was more heartfelt, and came directly from Prince Harry. "My grandfather was a man of service, honor and great humor. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm—and also because you never knew what he might say next. He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the Monarch, a decorated serviceman, a Prince and a Duke. But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right 'til the end," the statement begins.

"Prince Harry's statement really centered around Harry's relationship with Prince Philip," Kinsey Schofield told The List. She added that she was "happy to see a more personalized statement that was Harry's brand." Keep scrolling to read the rest of Harry's tribute.

Prince Harry's trip to the UK will be 'uncomfortable,' expert says

Kinsey Schofield told The List that this trip to the UK for Prince Philip's funeral will undoubtedly be "uncomfortable" for Prince Harry, but that she admires "his commitment to his family," and his love for his grandfather, which was evident in his tribute, which continues below.

"He has been a rock for Her Majesty The Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage, and while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, 'Oh do get on with it!' So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself. You will be sorely missed, but always remembered—by the nation and the world. Meghan, Archie, and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts." 

Harry signed the tribute, "Per Mare, Per Terram," which translates to "By Sea, By Land," according to the Evening Standard. "The motto symbolizes the Royal Marines' dual role of fighting both on-board ships and ashore, and is believed to have been used for the first time in 1775 during the American Revolutionary War," the outlet reported.