Prince Harry’s bond with Queen Elizabeth II has remained strong through the years, despite his decision to step away from his senior position within the royal family along with his wife, Meghan Markle.
Despite reports that Harry “blindsided” his grandmother, the prince turned that down during a March 2021 interview on CBS. “I have too much respect for her,” he shared at the time, noting that they discussed the exit three different times before it became public information.
“I’ve spoken more to my grandmother in the last year than I have done for many, many years,” he said during the interview, adding that they’ve Zoomed with her so she could see her grandson Archie. “My grandmother and I have a really good relationship and an understanding. And I have a deep respect for her. She’s my Colonel-in-chief, right? She always will be.”
Last year, King Charles III‘s former butler, Grant Harrold, spoke about the queen’s “very special relationship” with her grandson in a Quest Red royal documentary. Harrold said that the queen is able to “let her guard down a bit with” Harry.
“Sometimes, I wonder if maybe he reminds the Queen a little bit of [her husband] Prince Philip,” Harrold continued. “You know, with that wonderful, let’s say, the kind of glint in his eye.”
Royal correspondent Katie Nicholl gave an inside look at Harry’s relationship with Queen Elizabeth in her 2010 book, William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls. Nicholl revealed that the monarch has been “on the receiving end” of Harry’s pranks. She was informed about a prank Harry pulled that involved changing her voicemail recording, giving the queen’s private secretary Robin Janvrin the “shock of his life.”
Harry, who Nicholl described as “more troublesome” than his brother, Prince William, said in the recorded voice message: “Hey, wassup? This is Liz! Sorry, I’m away from the throne. For a hotline to Philip, press one, for Charles press two, for the corgis, press three.”
In the 2016 ITV documentary, Our Queen at Ninety, Harry praised the queen for her work over the years. “I look at the Commonwealth and think, ‘Look how much it’s achieved,’” he said at the time. “She should be incredibly proud of what she’s led and what she’s achieved and what she’s created amongst a huge amount of people from different ethnic backgrounds, different skin colors, different experiences, different islands — whatever it be. Hats off to her, it’s incredible.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced via Instagram on January 8, 2020, that they planned to step down as senior members of the British royal family and “become financially independent.” The parents of Archie revealed they have chosen to “carve out a progressive new role” for themselves after “many months of reflection and internal discussions.”
In the wake of the pair’s joint statement, a source told Us Weekly exclusively that their announcement was made “without the official blessing” of the queen. “It’s not that they didn’t care — it was a miscommunication,” the insider added. Still, Harry and his grandmother have had love and laughs over the years.
Despite the family drama, Harry returned to the U.K. after Philip died in April 2021 and the prince spent time with his grandmother on at least two different occasions during the visit. While he left before her 95th birthday — which came days after the funeral — Elizabeth knew Harry was thinking of her.
“Prince Harry got to say goodbye to the queen before her birthday and he left her a gift and card from him and Meghan,” a source told Us at the time.
In September 2022, the former military pilot rushed to Scotland to be present by his grandmother’s bedside ahead of her death. A palace spokesperson confirmed that Harry — along with other members of the royal family, including William and Charles — went to Balmoral following the news that the queen was receiving medical treatment amid concerns for her health, while Meghan remained in London. Hours later, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Queen Elizabeth had “died peacefully” at her home in Scotland at the age of 96.
Sign up for Us Weekly’s free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more!
Scroll down to see adorable moments of Harry and the queen together over the years: