The Duke of Sussex visited Buckingham Palace during his brief trip to Britain for his father King Charles’ coronation, slipping in and out of the monarchy’s headquarters briefly without seeing the royal family.
The Duke spent less than half an hour at the palace after the end of the Westminster Abbey service on Saturday, The Telegraph has learned.
From there he travelled straight to Heathrow Airport while his family were still occupied with public Coronation duties.
It is understood that the visit was for logistical reasons. It allowed him to take a moment out of the public gaze following the two-hour Abbey service.
He did not join the royal family for official coronation portraits and is not known to have seen or spoken to his relatives.
Sources emphasised that the lack of contact was for practical reasons only, with the Duke keen to return to his wife and children in America as soon as possible, and the working royal family busy with the procession, taking the salute from the military, and appearing on the palace balcony.
The Duke was seen soon afterwards at Heathrow, before catching a 3.45pm flight to LAX.
It is the first time the Duke is known to have been at the palace since his grandmother’s funeral. He was a regular guest throughout her reign.
He has been in the UK this year to attend his court cases but is not known to have seen his father, the King, or brother, the Prince of Wales.
Then, during his 36-hour visit for the Coronation, he stayed at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, his former family home.
On Saturday, he was collected from Frogmore by a black BMW just before 9.30am for the journey to Westminster Abbey.
It is understood that he had been assigned a Scotland Yard protection squad to ensure his safety.
The service was the first time the Duke had appeared with his family since the publication of his memoir Spare.
He was seated in the third row for the crowning of King Charles and Queen Camilla, two rows behind his brother the Prince of Wales.
The Duke was seen in conversation with his cousins Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie and their husbands, telling them he was flying home “about quarter to four”. According to reports, Jack Brooksbank replied: “So soon?”
Prince Harry wore a dark morning suit and tie, his Afghanistan and Jubilee medals pinned to his suit jacket, and a Royal Victorian Order star and neck decoration. He was still wearing the suit and medals when he arrived at Heathrow for his return flight.
He landed in LA on the afternoon of his son’s fourth birthday and is said to have arrived home in time for Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet’s bedtime.
‘Showing up, showing support’
The Duke’s decision to attend the Coronation is said to have pleased the King, who had hoped to have both his sons at the ceremony.
While the Prince of Wales had a formal role in proceedings, the Duke – who in other circumstances may have also been seen to pay homage – was a member of the congregation.
The Telegraph has previously reported he spent several weeks agonising over whether to travel to London for the event, given his now-difficult relationship with members of his close family.
He eventually opted to attend the Abbey service but did not go to the Windsor concert or reception.
Announcing the decision last month, the Palace said: “Buckingham Palace is pleased to confirm that the Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on 6th May.
“The Duchess of Sussex will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.”
“It is about showing up, showing support and being there for his father,” one source had said.