Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

Prince Harry’s ‘bittersweet’ birthday could ‘bring peace’ for mother’s death

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The Duke of Sussex turns 36 years old today, and is set to speak to his brother Prince William on the landmark occasion, despite reports emerging of a new rift between the pair. Ahead of his birthday, it was reported that William was unhappy with Harry for announcing his decision to stand down from senior Royal Family duties a day before his wife, Kate Middleton, turned 38 in January. But with the Duke of Sussex now reaching the age his mother was when she passed away following a car crash in Paris 23 years ago, the brothers will talk on the phone – albeit from different sides of the world.

CNN’s royal expert Victoria Arbiter believes that although “finding his peace” with the loss of his mother’s death “will take patience and time”, reaching the age of 36 could leave him “inspired to make the best of each extra year his mother was denied”.

Since Diana died, Harry has spoken at length about the grief he and William have experienced, including the toll it has taken upon both the princes’ mental health.

However, Ms Arbiter explained there could be positivity surrounding this birthday, although Harry will still experience difficulties.

She said: “In some respects, the day will likely be bittersweet for the prince, who’s spoken openly of the ‘total chaos’ he’s endured since losing his mum, but there may also be relief in moving past what can only be described as a pivotal marker.

“Finding his peace will take patience and time, but in celebrating his first birthday in the good ol’ US of A, one hopes he’ll be inspired to make the best of each extra year his mother was denied.”

To mark Harry’s 35th birthday last year, the Duke and his wife, former US actress Meghan Markle, released a photo collage which shared images throughout Harry’s life.

The collage was seen by thousands on the couple’s now defunct Instagram page, with a special new picture of their son Archie sparking excitement among royal fans.

The year since, though, has been one of difficulty for both, after Harry admitted to being on a “different path” to his brother while on a tour in South Africa.

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By January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had resigned from senior Royal Family life, claiming they wanted to lead a “financially independent life”.

Yet, reflecting on the message the couple shared for Harry’s 35th, which included a note from Meghan that said she was “deeply inspired by the Duke everyday”, Ms Arbiter said the pair were struggling.

She added: “The message indicated a loving and unified partnership, but it also concealed what we now know was a desperately troubling time for the pair.

“Harry and Meghan’s dissatisfaction with the institution to which they were bound had been well-documented, but it’s fair to say the true magnitude of their turmoil had been widely miscalculated.

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“It was soon to be revealed on the global stage.”

Among those to offer their best wishes was Harry’s grandmother, the Queen, who was the first member of the Royal Family to publicly mark the occasions.

In a message on the monarch’s social media page, staff wrote: “Wishing The Duke of Sussex a very happy birthday!”

The post was accompanied by a photo showing the Duke laughing with his grandmother.

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