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Prince Harry has flown to Germany for the Invictus Games after a shock and secret visit to the Windsor church where the Queen was laid to rest to mark the first anniversary of her death, MailOnline can reveal today.
The Duke of Sussex, who went on the solo whirlwind trip to the UK without his wife and children, was spotted leaving St George’s Chapel at lunchtime after attending the WellChild Awards last night.
The fifth in the line to the throne was photographed paying respects to the Queen by a tourist just before William and Kate, wearing a pair of the Queen’s earrings, arrived at St Davids Cathedral, Wales – 230 miles from Windsor – and laid a wreath next to portrait of the late monarch.
This morning King Charles attended a memorial service to say private prayers at Balmoral’s parish church with his wife Queen Camilla.
Harry is believed to have gone straight from the church where he married Meghan Markle in 2018 to Heathrow to catch a British Airways flight to Düsseldorf for the start of the Invictus Games tomorrow – leaving the UK without seeing his father or brother.
He was driven to the five star Hyatt hotel after by passing the usual passport checks at the west German airport. Harry was seen in the back of a Range Rover car as it sped into the hotel’s underground car park. A passenger on the flight said: ’There was a bit of a buzz as people passed word that Harry was on the flight.’
The Duke of Sussex was sat in the Club Europe section at the front of the plane together with three members of the Invictus Games organisers. While they were met by a member of the military on arrival, Harry was whisked away for the short drive to his luxury hotel and settle into the Presidential suite. He will open the Games on Saturday night after earlier attending a reception at Düsseldorf town hall.
Prince Harry arrives at Dusseldorf Airport today ahead of the Invictus Games tomorrow
Prince Harry arrives at the five-star Hyatt Regency hotel in Dusseldorf today before the Invictus Games start tomorrow
Harry is driven into the Hyatt Regency hotel in Dusseldorf today after his quick trip to Britain
Prince Harry leaves St George’s Chapel in Windsor today to mark the first anniversary of the Queen’s death. Her Majesty is buried there alongside her beloved husband Prince Philip
The Prince and Princess of Wales bow their heads as they attend a service at St Davids Cathedral where prayers were said for the Queen
King Charles III looked visibly moved after leaving a service to mark the first anniversary of his mother the Queen. Camilla clutches flowers handed to them by well wishers
The Hyatt Regency hotel in Dusseldorf where Prince Harry is staying for the duration of the Invictus Games
Kate pauses in front of the flowers she laid at St Davids Cathedral in Wales this afternoon
The Princess of Wales takes a selfie with schoolchildren today
Massive crowds had gathered to see the Prince and Princess of Wales
The Prince of Wales crouches down to speak to a young fan outside the church
The Prince and Princess of Wales at a service to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth II at St Davids Cathedral in Wales
The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive at St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire this afternoon
The Queen’s funeral took place at St George’s Chapel Windsor (pictured) and it is also where Harry married Meghan
Large crowds gather outside Buckingham palace on the anniversary of the accession of King Charles III and the death of his mother
Wearing a white shirt and smart trousers, Harry looked sombre as he left a side entrance of St George’s Chapel as family, Britain and the world again mourned the Queen’s passing. It is not known if he went to Her Majesty’s grave in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, which sits within the walls of the church.
Harry was seen by the public leaving the church where his grandparents are both buried at around Midday. An executive Range Rover was waiting for him with his bodyguard waiting to open the door.
A number of members of the Royal Family are understood to have visited the chapel today. Harry remains close to his cousins Beatrice and Eugenie but it is not yet known if they and others paid their respects together. MailOnline has asked Buckingham Palace and a spokesman for the Duke of Sussex to comment.
The warring brothers are spending the first anniversary of their grandmother’s death in the same country – but still couldn’t be farther apart and have no plans to meet before Harry heads to Germany tomorrow.
Yesterday William went to a Pret sandwich shop in Bournemouth when his brother went to WellChild’s annual awards in west London.
The Duke of Sussex was at his personable best in London as he met winners of the WellChild Awards – a charity he has been patron of for 15 years and stayed with after his acrimonious departure from the Royal Family.
Harry flew in for the engagement from his home in California, making his first appearance in the UK since June.
But despite the long flight, the duke cut a relaxed figure as he sat with the youngsters and their families during a pre-ceremony reception at The Hurlingham Club in south-west London.
It was as Harry prepared for the awards this time last year that news began filtering through that his grandmother was seriously ill before passing away hours later. The duke took a flight to Scotland but landed too late to see the Queen before she took her last breath.
‘As you know, I was unable to attend the awards last year as my grandmother passed away,’ he told the audience.
‘As you also probably know, she would have been the first person to insist that I still come to be with you all instead of going to her. And that’s precisely why I know, exactly one year on, she is looking down on all of us tonight, happy we’re together continuing to spotlight such an incredible community.’
The Prince and Princess of Wales meet with well-wishers following a service at St Davids Cathedral, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire
Kate smiles as she speaks to people in big crowds who gathered to see them
Prince William, Prince of Wales, meets with Jasmine Joyce, former Wales international rugby player,
Flowers placed by the Prince and Princess of Wales are pictured next to a portrait of the late Queen
The Princess of Wales lays flowers during the service at St Davids Cathedral in Wales today
William and Kate are shown to their seats by Sarah Rowland Jones, Dean of St Davids Cathedral
Prince William and Kateare shown to their seats by Sarah Rowland Jones in St Davids today
The Prince and Princess of Wales meet dignitaries as they visit St Davids Cathedral today
The Princess of Wales smiles with her husband as they speak to people on Pembrokeshire
The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive at St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire this afternoon
Prince Harry returned to Britain for the first time in three months to attend the WellChild Awards last night. He also gave a tribute to the Queen
The Duke of Sussex speaks to and hi-fives Violet Seymour during the annual WellChild Awards 2023 at the Hurlingham Club
Kate, Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex walk to meet members of the public, at Windsor Castle, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Harry has no plans to see his brother and sister-in-law
The King and Queen today attended a special service at Crathie Kirk to commemorate the life of the late Queen Elizabeth – and appeared moved by warm-wishes from crowds who also gathered to mark the anniversary of her death.
Charles and Camilla made the short journey by car from the nearby Balmoral Estate to the Scottish church, where successive monarchs have worshiped since Queen Victoria.
The couple spoke to crowds outside afterwards who shared their condolences and handed them bouquets and cards. The King told them that the flowers were ‘wonderful’ and joked with children about getting back to school.
Other royals were also at the service, including the Queen’s great nephews Samuel and Arthur Chatto, sons of Lady Sarah and Daniel Chatto, who also went. And staff from Balmoral, the beloved Scottish home of the Queen where she died, also attended, walking to and from the service in the September sunshine.
The King looked emotional as he left Crathie Kirk having paid a moving tribute to his adored mother as the nation marks the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death today. Crowds gathered at Buckingham Palace and Army gun salutes honouring Her Majesty rang out across the United Kingdom.
In an unprecedented break with tradition, signifying how touched he has been by the country’s grief at her passing but also pride in a remarkable life of public duty, His Majesty recalled his mother’s ‘long life, devoted service and all she meant to so many of us’.
Charles anc Camlla leave today’s memorial service also attended by other royals
King Charles speaks with people at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral, collecting bouquets and cards from schoolchildren
Crowds watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, on the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s death today
The gun salute to mark the anniversary of Britain’s King Charles’ accession takes place in Hyde Park today
The band of the Grenadier Guards march in Hyde Park, London ahead of a Gun Royal Salute
King Charles has paid a moving tribute to his adored mother as the nation marks the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death. Pictured: King Charles arriving at Crathie Parish Church, Balmoral today
Samuel and Arthur Chatto were among other royals at the service
He also spoke to local schoolchildren and joked about them needing to return to class
William and Kate have travelled to Wales to grieve Queen Elizabeth’s passing and shared their own favourite pictures of the late monarch and said: ‘Today we remember the extraordinary life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth. We all miss you. W & C’.
Initially Charles, 74, had planned only to mark his mother’s death – and his own grief-tinged accession – in ‘quiet contemplation’ at home in Scotland.
In doing so he would follow the same pattern that Queen Elizabeth chose to adopt for 70 years, marking her father King George VI’s death, at Sandringham in Norfolk, away from public gaze.
But in recent weeks he began to have a change of heart, having been so deeply touched by the global outpouring of grief after his mother died on September 8 last year.
Indeed, the Mail can reveal that the King and Queen Camilla chose last night not to return to their own home at Birkhall on the Balmoral estate as planned, but to remain at the castle itself where Elizabeth died at the age of 96, surrounded by the glory of the Scottish Highlands she adored.
They will remain there today, comforted by some of those who were closest to Her late Majesty, spending tonight there as well, before moving back to their neighbouring estate. A source said: ‘I think it will be of comfort to be surrounded by so much that was familiar to her.’
Meanwhile, the Prince and Princess of Wales are to mark the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s death with a small private service in Wales. William and Kate will attend St Davids Cathedral in St Davids, the smallest city in Britain, in Pembrokeshire on Friday. They will also meet members of the local community in the adjacent cloister, including local people who met Elizabeth II during her visits to St Davids.
St Davids has been a site of pilgrimage and worship for more than 1,400 years, since St David – the patron saint of Wales – settled there with his monastic community in the sixth century.
Since the Reformation, one of the quire stalls has been in the possession of the Crown and is known as the Sovereign’s Stall. This makes St Davids the only UK cathedral where the sovereign has a special stall in the quire among members of the chapter, the governing body of the cathedral.
Charles released his favourite picture of his mother, dated October 16, 1968 and taken by Cecil Beaton
‘I am deeply grateful, too, for the love and support that has been shown to my wife and myself during this year as we do our utmost to be of service to you all,’ wrote King Charles
Signed W&C for William and Catherine, the heartfelt message was posted on the anniversary of the Queen’s death
Sarah Ferguson shared a picture of her with the Queen’s corgis Sandy and Muick. She said: ‘I am delighted to say they are thriving’
His tribute was echoed by that of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who said: ‘On the solemn anniversary of the passing of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, our thoughts are with His Majesty King Charles III and the whole Royal Family.
‘With the perspective of a year, the scale of Her late Majesty’s service only seems greater. Her devotion to the nations of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth only seems deeper. And our gratitude for such an extraordinary life of duty and dedication only continues to grow.
‘I treasure my memories of those occasions when I met Her late Majesty, in particular the private audience I had with her at Buckingham Palace before presenting my first Budget as Chancellor. I was struck by her wisdom, by her incredible warmth and grace, but also her sharp wit.’
And he spoke for many when he recalled the effect that she had on everyone she met.
‘People across the UK – whether they had the good fortune to meet Her late Majesty or not – will be reflecting today on what she meant to them and the example she set for us all. We will cherish those memories,’ he said.
‘The bond between country and monarch is sacred. It endures. So, while we continue to mourn Her late Majesty’s passing, we should be proud that this remarkable legacy of service – and this remarkable bond – continues to grow today under the reign of His Majesty the King.’
Julia Davies from the Cotswolds lays flowers outside the Buckingham Palace
A woman lays flowers outside the Buckingham Palace on the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s death
Former Head Groom Terry Pendry walks the Queen’s favourite fell pony Emma at Windsor Castle today
Emma bows her head as the Queen’s coffin passes aboard the State Hearse, travels up The Long Walk in Windsor on September 19, 2022
Charles kisses the hand of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, after she presented him with a Royal Horticultural Society Victoria Medal of Honour in May 2009
The King will spend today and tonight at Balmoral Castle (pictured) where his mother died a year ago
Queen Elizabeth welcomes Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral, Scotland, in September last year
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the long queues through the night to see the late Queen lying in state had shown that she ‘always enjoyed a special bond with her people’.
‘It was a relationship built from her understanding that service of this great nation is the thread that unites sovereign and subject,’ he said.
‘So, as we reflect on her legacy again today, let us embrace that spirit of public service as our guide towards a better future.’
Her last prime minister – albeit briefly – Liz Truss, with whom she was so memorably photographed for the final time, also opened up about their encounter.
She described how the frail but ‘upbeat’ and ‘mentally alert’ monarch had told her they would be ‘meeting again soon’. The Queen had welcomed Ms Truss to Balmoral on September 6 to appoint her as prime minister.
‘She was very, very keen to reassure me that we’d be meeting again soon. It was very important to her,’ Ms Truss told GB News.
The Queen had welcomed Ms Truss to Balmoral on September 6 to appoint her as prime minister
Ms Truss added: ‘She was very determined to do her duty, right to the end.’
The Queen died two days later, with Ms Truss describing the scene as she waited in Downing Street when the confirmation came at around 4.30pm.
‘We were in the Downing Street flat with, officials, other people. So when the news came through, it was sort of confirming all the worst fears that we’d had,’ she said.
She recalled the King was ‘very, very resolute’ when she spoke to him to express her condolences on the phone the day his mother died and his reign began.
Today, soldiers and horses which took part in the state funeral procession and proclamation salutes signifying the new reign are to return to perform Accession Day anniversary gun salutes in the King’s honour.
Captain Amy Cooper – who was the lead rider in the procession which carried the Queen’s coffin to lie in state in Westminster Hall – will give the order to fire a 41-gun salute at midday in London’s Hyde Park.
Captain Cooper is with the King’s Troop, almost all of whom played a role in the final farewell to the Queen a year ago.
There will also be a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London by The Honourable Artillery Company, while bells will be rung at Westminster Abbey at 1pm in commemoration of the King’s accession.
The Prince and Princess of Wales will be in Wales at St David’s Cathedral where they will commemorate the life of Queen Elizabeth and speak to members of the community she met during her visits to the city.
A source said it was important to William and Kate to be in Wales in honour of their new titles and to honour the bond the late monarch had with the Welsh nation.
A source said King Charles and Queen Camilla will ‘balance between reflecting properly on the public nature of moment but finding the space for privacy to reflect in private’.