Prince Harry and the Queen forged a ‘really special relationship’

Prince Harry has returned to the UK alongside Meghan Markle ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral on Monday, September 19.

It is an emotional time for the entire Royal Family, but for Prince Harry it is particularly tough after the two shared a ‘unique bond’ over the years.

Despite the Royal rift that has splintered the family in recent years, the Queen always remained supportive of Harry.

In turn, Harry, who is celebrating his 38th birthday today (September 15), continually showed his support for the monarch, despite stepping away from the Royal Family as a full-time working member.

Here is everything you need to know about their relationship.

What did Prince Harry say about the Queen?

Earlier this year, Harry got the chance to visit the Queen during his trip to Europe for the Invictus Games.

In April 2022, Prince Harry sat down with NBC News’ Today show after visiting the monarch in the UK.

Harry said: "Being with her, it was great, it was just so nice to see her. She's on great form.

“She's always got a great sense of humour with me, and I'm just making sure that she's, you know, protected, and got the right people around her.”

He added: "We have a really special relationship; we talk about things she can't talk about with anyone else.”

The Queen’s reaction to Harry and Meghan

The Queen welcomed Meghan Markle into the Royal Family with open arms, even breaking a long-standing tradition soon after meeting her.

After they were formally introduced to one another at Balmoral Castle in September 2017, the Queen invited Meghan to Christmas dinner with them.

Previously, this invitation was only ever offered to people that had married into the family.

In an interview following her engagement to Harry, Meghan opened put about the relationship he shared with his grandmother.

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Meghan explained: “To be able to meet her through his lens, not just with his honour and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother, all of those layers have been so important for me so that when I met her, I had such a deep understanding and, of course, incredible respect for being able to have that time with her. She’s an incredible woman.”

Soon after they married in May 2018, she took a solo trip with the Queen to attend various Royal engagements, something she fondly looked back on during an interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021.

She said: “I just really loved being in her company. We were in the car going between engagements.

“And she has a blanket that sits across her knees for warmth, and it was chilly. And she was like, ‘Meghan, come on’, and put it over my knees as well.

“It made me think of my grandmother, where she’s always been warm and inviting and really welcoming.”

How did the Queen react to Harry leaving the Royal Family?

Harry and Meghan’s decision to no longer be working Royals proved controversial back in January 2020.

However, the Queen was fully supportive of their decision and even released a rare first-person statement regarding the situation.

Her Majesty wrote: “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family.

“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”

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Just a few days after penning this original statement, the Queen continued to show her support for Harry, Meghan and their son, Archie.

She wrote: “Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much loved members of my family. I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.

“I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across the country, the Commonwealth, and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.

“It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life.”

Ultimately, it is clear how much Harry and Meghan loved the monarch, as they chose the name Lilibet for their daughter, which was the childhood nickname for the Queen.