PRINCE Harry must use his grandfather’s funeral to heal any rift with his family “as speedily as possible”, says former PM John Major.
The Duke of Sussex is due to attend Saturday’s sombre ceremony with the rest of the royals but pregnant Meghan has been told not to fly in from the US.
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Speaking on BBC’s Andrew Marr programme this morning, Mr Major said: “The friction that we are told has arisen is a friction better ended as speedily as possible.”
The Tory grandee added that “shared emotion” and “shared grief” was an “ideal opportunity” to build bridges.
His comments came after Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, suggested a coming together for Prince Philip’s funeral could help heal any family tensions.
It would mark the first time Harry has come face-to-face with his family since he and Meghan sat down with Oprah Winfrey for their explosive interview last month.
Asked if he agreed with Mr Nichols, Sir John said: “I’m sure he is right, I hope he’s right, I believe he is right and I certainly hope so.
“The friction that we are told has arisen is a friction better ended as speedily as possible, and a shared emotion, a shared grief, at the present time because of the death of their father, their grandfather, I think is an ideal opportunity.
“I hope very much that it is possible to mend any rifts that may exist.”
Speaking on Times Radio on Saturday, Mr Nichols had said “many a family gather and get over tension and broken relationships at the time of a funeral”.
“Something very profound unites them all again. And that would be true for this family, I’m sure,” he added.
“Obviously the whole ceremony will be watched by everybody, but you think of the complexities of the dynamics in that family and we have to think of Harry, so far away.
“I’m sure he’ll come but not being, the whole time, in the public eye might just help.”
Meghan accused some members of the royal family of racism while speaking to Oprah during the bombshell chat and also said the institution failed to help her when she had suicidal thoughts.
Harry, who has not returned to the UK since stepping down as a senior royal just over a year ago, told the chat show host he felt let down by his father.
He added that he wanted to heal the relationship with the Prince of Wales but “there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened”.
Harry described his relationship with the Duke of Cambridge as “space” but said he loved him and “time heals all things, hopefully”.
The brothers’ rift stretches back to before Harry and Meghan’s wedding, when Harry was reportedly angered by what he perceived as his brother’s “snobbish” attitude to Meghan.
Following the Oprah interview, the Queen issued a statement saying “while some recollections may vary”, the issues raised would be taken “very seriously” but dealt with privately as a family.
Two royal experts also 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.”