Harry cancelled an appearance at a charity awards ceremony in London to fly to Scotland in the wake of fellow royals who have also travelled to Aberdeenshire to see the monarch.
The Queen’s four children – Charles, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex – are either at her bedside or on their way, joined by the Duchess of Cornwall, Duke of Cambridge and Countess of Wessex.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes had initially said Meghan would be joining Harry at Balmoral but later a source said she would remain in London but would not attend the WellChild Awards.
The duchess could potentially join Harry in Scotland at a later date, the source said, following the change of plan.
The Sussexes have a troubled relationship with their relatives and in a recent wide-ranging interview with The Cut magazine, Meghan said that “just by existing” she and Harry were “upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy” before they stepped down as senior working royals in 2020.
In a dramatic interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, the couple made a series of shocking claims and painted the royal family as a racist and uncaring institution.
After the Sussexes’ bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Queen said in a statement that the issues raised, including race, would be “addressed by the family privately”.
The couple had accused an unnamed royal, not the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh, of raising concerns about how dark their son Archie’s skin tone would be, before he was born.
Meghan also revealed she asked for help when she was suicidal, but said the institution gave her no support.
But with the Queen’s health in the forefront of everyone’s minds, any tensions are likely to be overlooked as the family come together in support of their mother, grandmother and head of state.
Harry was due to give a speech at the WellChild Awards on Thursday evening and celebrate the achievements and resilience of seriously ill youngsters and their families.
The duke has been patron of WellChild, the national charity for seriously ill children and their families, since 2007 and despite stepping down as a working royal has maintained his links with the organisation.
Harry and Meghan, who have been visiting Europe this week, attended the One Young World summit in Manchester on Monday. Meghan delivered a keynote speech and declared it was “very nice to be back in the UK” and told the young leaders “you are the future, you are the present”.
It was their first public appearance in the UK since they joined other members of the royal family for events in June that celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
They also travelled to Dusseldorf in Germany on Tuesday, to mark the one-year countdown to The Invictus Games in the city, and thrilled fans when they went on a walkabout.
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