The Truth About Queen Elizabeth's Relationship With Prince Harry

For both Brits and royalists across the globe, Queen Elizabeth II is the ultimate symbol of poise and decorum. Representing the hallowed institution of the British royal family has been equal parts joyous and burdensome for the queen. While the seemingly indefatigable monarch has stood by her beloved grandson, Prince Harry, through tragedy and turmoil, their relationship has been tested by external factors beyond their control.

In marked contrast to the queen, who is always depicted as nothing short of dutiful and revered, Prince Harry has been involved in his fair share of controversies throughout the years. From his hard partying days (and questionable choice of Halloween attire) to his more recent renunciation of his royal duties along with wife Meghan Markle, Harry is frequently characterized as the royal rebel. Considering that Queen Elizabeth has served her country since 1953, it is understandable that there might be aspects to her grandson that are difficult for Her Royal Highness to fathom.

However, their generational differences aside, Prince Harry is by no means a royal pain in his grandmother's side. As Harry told Oprah Winfrey in 2021 (via Us Weekly), "I've spoken more to my grandmother in the last year than I have done for many, many years." They may have had their ups and downs, but there is a wealth of love between the queen and grandson Harry, one that transcends the pressures of the crown. Here is the truth about Queen Elizabeth's relationship with Prince Harry.

Queen Elizabeth protected Prince Harry when his mom died

When Princess Diana died in a car crash in 1997, the world was left in shock and mourning. Her death devastated her young sons, William and Harry, who were aged just 15 and 12, respectively. Being the children of the woman whom then-Prime Minister Tony Blair dubbed "the People's Princess," the young princes were thrust into the media spotlight.

"My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television," Prince Harry reflected in a 2017 interview with Newsweek. "I don't think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances."

At the time, Queen Elizabeth II was criticized for supposedly appearing cold and refusing to fly the flag at half-mast outside Buckingham Palace, which is the royal tradition when the nation is in mourning, as noted by the Mirror. But the truth is, she did this to protect her grandsons. "The Queen was adamant that her place was at Balmoral with her grieving grandsons," said Tina Brown, who wrote "The Diana Chronicles" (via the Mirror). "Everyone rallied around the young princes. This was the first time in a long reign that the Queen was thinking about her family before her people. We should admire her for that. Her thoughts were with her grandchildren and she wasn't thinking about how this would be played out in the media."

The queen 'would do almost anything' for Prince Harry

Queen Elizabeth II adopting millennial speak? Yass, queen. When then-President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama playfully teased the queen and Prince Harry in a promo for the 2016 Invictus Games, they weren't quite prepared for the monarch herself to have game. "Hey, Prince Harry! Remember when you told us to bring it at the Invictus Games? Careful what you wish for," the Obamas taunted, as per the BBC. The queen responded with an unexpectedly sassy, "Oh, really? Please," prompting Harry to do a mic drop. "Boom," he uttered, following his grandmother's shade.

"The queen and Harry made a great double act, with the queen showing utter surprise that the president was determined to win," Angela Levin wrote in her book, "Harry: Conversations with the Prince" (via Express). Levin added that Queen Elizabeth II's willingness to take part in the tongue-in-cheek video "showed she would do almost anything for her grandson."

Speaking with Hello! magazine, Prince Harry opened up about the experience and praised his grandmother highly. "She had great fun. And I think it was almost as though you could see that look in her face, at the age of 90, thinking, 'Why the hell does nobody ask me to do these things more often?'" he joked, adding, "We did one take from two angles. She's the Queen, she's busy! You don't have more than 90 seconds to get that right. Also, she's so incredibly skilled, she only needs one take."

For Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth is simply 'granny'

She may be the most powerful woman in the world, but Queen Elizabeth takes on a more grounded role in the eyes of doting grandson Prince Harry. "In a small room with close members of the family, then she is just a normal grandmother. Very relaxed," he told ABC's Katie Couric in 2012. "She obviously takes a huge interest in what we all do, that's her children as well as her grandchildren. She wants to know which charities we're supporting, how life is going in our jobs and such. So you know, she has a vested interest in what we do."

The Duke of Sussex went on to applaud his grandmother for helping to modernize the royal family. There's no denying that the institution conjures images of stuffy, antiquated ideals, but there have been strides made in the past decade — for instance, diversity measures were introduced to the establishment in 2021. And, many decades earlier, Queen Elizabeth was pioneering for women in the British workforce, as she trained as a mechanic during World War II, as per the Evening Standard.

"She's managed to get the family to move with the times, and I think that's incredibly important," Prince Harry told Couric. "You can't get stuck in a sort of an old-age situation when everything else around you is changing. So you have, you have to go with it."

The queen is Prince Harry's 'mentor'

Following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's explosive 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which they heavily criticized the requirements of being working members of the royal family, many believed that the Duke of Sussex's relationship with his grandmother would be irreparably damaged. However, royal insider Kate Nicholl said that the bond between Harry and Queen Elizabeth is unbreakable. This is, in large part, due to the important role that the queen has always played in her grandson's life. 

"Harry is in touch with his father the Prince of Wales and he is in quite regular contact with the Queen," Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight (via Express). "She is always delighted to see [great-grandson] Archie on video calls and it is very important to her that she touches base with Harry. She is in touch with them, she knows what is going on in their lives, they discuss their plans with her. Harry has always seen his grandmother as a mentor."

Likewise, don't expect the queen to ban her beloved grandson from Buckingham Palace following the Oprah revelations. In spite of everything that has been said, insiders claim that she would welcome Harry back into the royal family with open arms should he ever want to waltz back across the pond. As royal expert Andrew Morton told Vanity Fair, Her Royal Highness "has made sure the door is always open for Harry to return to the royal fold. She will have a lot of empathy and sympathy for him."

She supported Prince Harry's relationship with Meghan Markle

For many years, Prince Harry was pigeonholed by a "bad boy" reputation, which was in stark contrast to his gracious brother, Prince William. Infamously, a 20-year-old Harry donned a Nazi uniform at a Halloween party in 2005, for which he swiftly apologized, and royal historian Robert Lacey argues that this incident "would be taken to represent his wild, foolish and totally unjudged side," per People. But the so-called "Dirty Harry" soon proved himself to be a magnum force in redemption.

After being set up on a blind date in 2016, Prince Harry and "Suits" star Meghan Markle fell in love, and Harry went from Playboy Prince to Prince Charming. When news broke that the reformed edgelord had found love, no one was happier than his grandmother. Many assumed that the queen would disapprove of her grandson cavorting with an American actor, which drew parallels with her own uncle, Edward VIII, marrying American socialite Wallis Simpson, but she was reportedly ecstatic by the news. 

"She's delighted to see Harry in a loving relationship," an insider told Us Weekly, noting that the queen was "fully supportive" of Markle. Subsequently, she gave the lovebirds her own personalized seal of approval to wed after they became engaged in 2017, as reported by the BBC. What's more, Her Majesty bonded with her grandson's new bride, reportedly welcoming her with open arms. "It's that warm side of her that has made Meghan feel so at ease," another source said to Us Weekly.

Queen Elizabeth prevented Prince Harry from leaving earlier

Although Prince Harry has since given up his royal duties, this decision was by no means a reflection of any paucity of obligation to his grandmother. In fact, Harry had considered quitting the royal gamily years earlier, but opted not to out of love and respect for Queen Elizabeth. 

Following his time in the British Army, which he loved, Harry felt disillusioned with his princely responsibilities. Speaking with Angela Levin for the Daily Mail in 2017, he reflected, "I spent many years kicking my heels and I didn't want to grow up." As a result, he questioned whether he actually wanted to remain a part of the hallowed institution. "There was a time I felt I wanted out," he told Levin. "But then I decided to stay in [The Firm] and work out a role for myself."

The prince also explained that he decided to remain in the institution despite his reservations, because Her Royal Highness did not put pressure on him to perform his royal duties. "The queen has been fantastic in letting us choose," he told Newsweek. "She tells us to take our time and really think things through." While he is no longer the proud bearer of the His Royal Highness title, Prince Harry's unyielding deference to his regal grandmother is evident.

She reportedly felt 'let down' by Prince Harry

Eventually, Prince Harry's disillusionment with royal obligations did indeed catch up with him, and he and Meghan Markle officially decided to step away from the establishment in 2020. Following his departure, the Duke of Sussex was interviewed in 2021 by actor Dax Shepard on his podcast, "Armchair Expert," during which he shockingly described the royal institution as "a mix between 'The Truman Show' and being in a zoo." 

According to insiders, Queen Elizabeth was reportedly infuriated by this analogy. "It definitely hasn't helped with healing the rift," an insider claimed to Us Weekly. "They feel it was thoughtless and irresponsible of Harry to once again shade The Firm so soon after Prince Philip's death, while the queen is still mourning the death of her husband."

Accordingly, a source previously told Vanity Fair that the queen was disappointed by her grandson following the so-called Megxit. "After everything she has done for Harry she feels monumentally let down," the insider claimed. "All she has done is accommodate him and Meghan from the start. The family are all very upset at how the Sussexes have behaved, not least because of the impact it has had on the Queen ... the whole Andrew problem to deal with and now Harry, who is frankly behaving like a bolshie teenager." 

If that wasn't a big enough kick to the crown jewels, the insider lamented the alleged effect of Harry's actions on his relationship with the Queen Elizabeth: "What was once a very warm and jokey grandmother-grandson rapport has dissipated."

The queen allegedly sees sister Margaret in her grandson

Queen Elizabeth's sister, Princess Margaret, was known for being a renegade royal. The party-girl was the antithesis of her reigning big sister, having been spotted frolicking with Mick Jagger, with whom she is rumored to have had an affair, as per the Daily Mail. The queen had immense sympathy for her sister, who, like Prince Harry, struggled with excessive drug and alcohol use, as noted by The Washington Post.

Thus, Queen Elizabeth reportedly sees her sister in Harry's behavior. "I think the Queen knows that being the spare is hard and a part of her recognizes that Harry was sometimes a bit of a lost soul just like her sister," royal biographer Andrew Morton told Vanity Fair. "She has always wanted to protect Harry and I think in part that's because she watched Margaret fall victim to the system. Shutting out Margaret didn't help. ... She didn't want history to repeat itself with Harry."

Like Liz and Margaret, Harry and his brother, Prince William, appear to be polar opposites. In many ways, Harry has lived in the shadow of his upstanding sibling, just as Margaret was always overshadowed by her bethroned sister. "When you compare personalities, Harry is like Margaret, a royal rebel," Morton added. "Margaret once said 'disobedience is my joy' and you see some of that in Harry."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Queen Elizabeth is apparently 'proud' of Prince Harry living his truth

At the tender age of 27, Queen Elizabeth was catapulted onto the throne when her father, George VI, died of cancer. For almost seven decades, she has devoted her life to the British people and her stately responsibilities. As such, she missed out on leading a "normal" life for the sake of her duty to crown and country. Before she was declared monarch, the queen was known for her jovial and fun persona. "She was beautiful, amusing and gay. She was fun to take dancing or to the theater," Patricia Mountbatten, the queen's cousin, told Vanity Fair in an illuminating interview that cast a different light on the seemingly austere monarch.

Although there have been claims of disharmony between grandmother and grandson, some insiders have alleged that Queen Elizabeth had a positive outlook on Prince Harry leaving the royal family. "His family here should be very proud of him. I suspect the Queen is very proud of him," Majesty magazine editor Ingred Seward said, as per Express. "He has managed to do something that, for years historically, we have never been able to do. That is, to harness the might of the monarchy to the wealth of America."

This theory was buttressed by royal biographer Omid Scobie. "When it comes to that relationship with the queen, it is as strong as ever — they have nothing but love for her," Scobie said on "Good Morning America."

Prince Harry used to take his royal grandmother 'for granted'

In more recent years, Prince Harry has opened up about how the loss of his mother affected his mental health. "I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions," he told The Telegraph in 2017. Grief affects people in manifold complex ways; bereavement expert Kriss Kevorkian told Thriveworks that "grief teaches us to appreciate what we have and not to take it for granted." Subsequently, Prince Harry has admitted to some regrets regarding his relationship with Queen Elizabeth.

"When we were young, it was very easy to take our grandmother for granted," Prince Harry confessed in an interview with Katie Couric. "She was just a grandmother to us. It's really sort of been over the last five, eight, ten years that I have actually really learnt to understand and accept the huge deal that she is around the world."

Years later, Harry would compensate for his past behavior by paying tribute to his grandmother in the sweetest way: He named his daughter Lilibet Diana. Vanity Fair elucidates the personal nature of "Lilibet," since it was the queen's nickname as a child.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Harry chat over Zoom

Queen Elizabeth using Zoom? What next? Perhaps we can soon expect the nonagenarian monarch to go viral on TikTok. It turns out that the queen is up for a spot of Zooming if it means she gets to keep in touch with her grandson and great-grandchildren from across the pond. "Both my grandparents do Zoom," Prince Harry told James Cordon. "... They've seen Archie running around."

The Duke of Sussex explained that the video communications app is a perfect means of asking his grandmother to purchase gifts that are most unbefitting of the most powerful woman in the world. "My grandmother asked us what Archie wanted for Christmas, and Meg said a waffle maker. She sent us a waffle maker for Archie. So breakfast now, Meg makes up a beautiful organic mix in the waffle maker," he joked to Corden.

It seems that, despite his move to the U.S., Prince Harry is in constant contact with the queen. According to some insiders, he actually speaks to her more than any other relatives residing in the U.K. (and that includes his dad, Prince Charles). As royal commentator Chris Shipp said (via Express), "His granny is the one person he spends a lot of time talking to."

They bonded at Prince Philip's funeral

When Prince Philip died in April 2021, the world was in shock. Although approaching 100 years old, Queen Elizabeth's dutiful husband appeared to be fitter than many people decades younger than him. Prince Harry was devastated by his grandfather's demise. "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 poignantly wrote on his website, Archwell.

A somber Prince Harry was photographed paying his respects to his grandfather when he attended his funeral at Windsor Castle. The sad event was an opportunity for Harry to reconcile with the queen after being separated by both borders and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Subsequently, the pair had a private meeting during which they reportedly had a much needed one-on-one chat. 

"This trip was to honor the life of his grandfather and support his grandmother and relatives," an insider told Harper's Bazaar. "It was very much a family-focused period of time. Saturday broke the ice for future conversations but outstanding issues have not been addressed at any great length. The family simply put their issues to one side to focus on what mattered." A second source added, "The love and respect he has for his grandmother will always be unwavering."

Prince Harry thinks his grandparents were the 'most adorable'

Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth have had their ups and downs, but there is no denying the immense love that they have for one another. Following his grandfather's death in 2021, Harry took part in the BBC documentary, "Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers," in which he reflected on his grandparents' relationship and the queen's enduring support of her controversial husband. 

"The two of them together were just the most adorable couple," Harry reminisced, as per Vanity Fair. "I don't know if anyone's ever described them as adorable but, to me, knowing the cheekiness of him and knowing that behind what the world sees you have two individuals who were very much in love, and both at a very young age dedicated both of their lives to service."

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were married for an astonishing 73 years. Accordingly, the Duke of Sussex was rightly concerned as to how his grandmother would cope without her husband by her side. "[I] miss him more for my grandmother because I know how incredibly strong she was with him there," Harry said, before acknowledging, "I also know she will be OK without him." Despite having lost her soulmate, Harry recognizes that his grandmother is a resilient woman.

Prince Harry has 'deep respect' for Queen Elizabeth

While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey was a cornucopia of juicy royal gossip, the Duke of Sussex made a point of never once disparaging his grandmother. Although he was highly critical of the royal institution, and the media scrutiny that lies therein, Harry did not say a bad word against Queen Elizabeth herself.

Among the bombshell revelations that surfaced in the interview were claims that a member of the royal family made racist observations regarding Harry and Meghan Markle's infant son Archie's skin tone. However, during an interview with CBS Mornings, Winfrey noted that Harry made it clear that it was certainly not the Queen Elizabeth who uttered the offensive remark. "He wanted to make sure that I knew ... that it was not his grandmother nor his grandfather that were part of those conversations," she stressed.

Throughout the Oprah interview, Harry emphasized how much he continued to look up to the queen. "I've never blindsided my grandmother. I have too much respect for her," Harry insisted of his and Markle's joint decision to step back from their senior royal duties in 2020, as per The Sun. "My grandmother and I have a really good relationship and understanding, and I have deep respect for her," he added.