PRINCE Philip's funeral could be an opportunity for Prince Harry to repair the "deep damage" from his and Meghan Markle's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, according to royal experts.
The Duke of Sussex – who is "united in grief" with his family – is planning to return to the UK for the service following talks with Prince Charles.
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It would mark the first time that Prince Harry has come face-to-face with his family since him and Meghan sat down for their explosive interview last month – and his first trip home since quitting royal life and moving to California.
However, while Harry is poised to return, it is currently unclear if Meghan – who is pregnant with the couple's second child – will be able join him, even though she reportedly wants to be by his side.
Two royal experts believe that the Duke of Edinburgh's upcoming funeral could offer Harry a chance to heal any rift the interview may have caused.
Author Penny Junor says she believes the family will "pull together" for the Queen's sake.
"My hope is that if something good can come out of the Duke’s death it will be that it brings the family together," she told the MailOnline.
"But clearly there is a lot of hurt there on all sides, and I imagine they will all be feeling apprehensive about seeing one another again.
"With luck, their desire to support the Queen and pull together for her sake, which I am sure is what the Duke would have wanted, will win the day."
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams has said a "show of unity" is vital for repairing relations after the "very damaging" remarks made in the Oprah interview.
He told the outlet: "Harry will undoubtedly want to be there and this might start a process which helped to heal the current royal rift.
"His grandfather would undoubtedly welcome it if the monarchy, the institution he spent his life supporting, was strengthened as a result of the start of a reconciliation which began after his death."
The Duke of Sussex is reported to be making immediate plans to fly back to Britain.
Sources told the Daily Mirror that the Duke of Sussex spoke to several members of his family following Prince Philip’s death on Friday, including Prince Charles.
Another source told the newspaper that Harry spoke to his cousins Beatrice and Eugenie – and said he would return to Britain.
The insider told the Mirror: “He said he wants to be with everyone and was already making arrangements to come home.”
The highly-respected Press Association also reported it's "likely Harry will be among the small number of mourners" at the private service.
Meghan, 39, is currently pregnant and undoubtedly needing to take advice from doctors before embarking on the 12-hour flight from California.
The pair paid a poignant tribute to Harry's grandfather on Friday afternoon, leaving a message on their Archewell website.
A source close to the family told DailyMail.com on Friday: "Harry will absolutely do his utmost to get back to the UK and be with his family.
"He will want nothing more than to be there for his family, and particularly his grandmother, during this awful time.
"Meghan is obviously pregnant so she will need to take advice from her doctors about whether it is safe for her to travel, but I think Harry will definitely go."
The Duke of Edinburgh passed away "peacefully" at Windsor Castle on Friday aged 99 after being by the Queen's side for more than 70 years – with the Royal Family now in mourning.
And, according to insiders, Harry is now preparing to fly back to be with them for the first time since quitting the UK in March 2020.
A royal source told the New York Post: "Harry was extremely close to his grandfather.
"He will, of course, be there, no matter how difficult relations are between the Sussexes and the family."
The Duke of Edinburgh's body will lie at rest at Windsor Castle ahead of the funeral in St George's Chapel – where Harry and Meghan wed in 2018.
As the consort of the Queen, the dedicated royal is entitled to a state funeral but will not be given one – a decision the duke made before his death.
Instead, he will be given a military funeral, with a private service held at St George’s Chapel in Windsor and burial in Frogmore Gardens.
The public has been urged to stay away due to the threat of coronavirus.
The Duke of Edinburgh died just weeks after Meghan and Harry gave a shocking interview to Oprah Winfrey alleging racism within the Royal Family.
The couple infamously quit the UK and royal duties in March 2020 to pursue a "private life" on the other side of the Atlantic.
It's reported Harry has recently been self isolating at his LA mansion just so he could race back if his grandfather's health deteriorated.
During their Oprah interview, the couple spoke of how they had grown close to the Queen despite reports of tension after they quit the Firm.
And they said they had been in close contact with the monarch when Philip was admitted to hospital earlier this year.
Meghan told the chatshow queen: "This morning, I woke up earlier than H, and saw a note from someone on our team in the UK saying that the Duke of Edinburgh had gone to the hospital.
"But I just picked up the phone and I called the Queen just to check in."
Philip spent a month in hospital and underwent heart surgery after suffering from an infection earlier this year.
He was then released last month, taken back to Windsor Castle where he tragically passed away on Friday morning.
Buckingham Palace said it will now "join with people around the world in mourning his loss".
A statement from the Palace said: "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
"His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.
"Further announcements will made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."
During the Oprah interview, Meghan also claimed their son Archie wasn't made a prince after "concerns and conversations" about "how dark" his skin would be when he was born.
The Duchess of Sussex said there had been conversations with Harry and a "family" member about their unborn son and what colour his skin would be – and "what that would mean or look like".
But the 39-year-old declined to say who had started those conversations, saying it would be "damaging" for them.
Prince Harry said he would "never share" the full details of the discussion but that he was asked at the start of his relationship with Meghan, how dark the skin of their children might be.
But Oprah Winfrey later revealed it was NOT the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh who made the comment about Archie's skin.
She told CBS This Morning: "He did not share the identity with me but he wanted to make sure I knew, and if I had an opportunity to share it, that it was not his grandmother or grandfather that were part of those conversations.
"He did not tell me who was a part of those conversations."
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