‘Spare’: Prince Harry took Meghan to Althorp a week before QEII’s death

Queen Elizabeth II passed away at Balmoral on September 8th. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex happened to be in Windsor at the time, because they were on a week-long charity visit to the UK and Germany. I remember it well, the British media was screaming, crying and throwing up about Meghan’s speech at One Young World in Manchester in early September. Several British media outlets were doing wall-to-wall coverage of the Sussexes’ “arrival” and travel to Manchester, plus there was an insane amount of focus on the Sussexes’ journey to Dusseldorf, Germany for an Invictus hype event. Harry and Meghan returned to Windsor after their German trip and they were due to appear in London at the WellChild Awards the day the Queen died. I bring all of this up because, in Spare, Prince Harry reveals something pretty incredible: that he and Meghan had actually arrived in the UK days before the media found out, and Harry took Meghan to Althorp to see Diana’s grave for the first time:

I helped Meg into the boat. It wobbled, but I quick-stepped to the middle, got it righted in time. As she found a seat in the stern, I took up the oars. They didn’t work. We’re stuck. The thick mud of the shallows had us in its grip. Uncle Charles came down to the water’s edge, gave us a little shove. We waved to him, and to my two aunts. Bye. See you in a bit.

Gliding across the pond, I gazed around at Althorp’s rolling fields and ancient trees, the thousands of green acres where my mother grew up, and where, though things weren’t perfect, she’d known some peace. Minutes later we reached the island and gingerly stepped onto the shore. I led Meg up the path, around a hedge, through the labyrinth. There it was, looming: the grayish white oval stone. No visit to this place was ever easy, but this one… Twenty-fifth anniversary.

And Meg’s first time. At long last I was bringing the girl of my dreams home to meet mum.

We hesitated, hugging, and then I went first. I placed flowers on the grave. Meg gave me a moment, and I spoke to my mother in my head, told her I missed her, asked her for guidance and clarity.

Feeling that Meg might also want a moment, I went around the hedge, scanned the pond. When I came back, Meg was kneeling, eyes shut, palms against the stone. I asked, as we walked back to the boat, what she’d prayed for. Clarity, she said. And guidance.

[From Spare, by Prince Harry]

I saw commentators criticize Meghan for “throwing herself on Diana’s grave” but that’s not what she did. She did what many mourners or family members would do – she prayed and tried to speak to someone in her family. And as with all of the criticism of the Sussexes, I found it very interesting that the British media chose not to focus on the fact that their very public meltdown about the Sussexes’ September visit was not based on facts – H&M managed to get into the country days before the media realized. They even managed to make it to Althorp without anyone knowing. The Daily Mail was literally making and publishing maps and timelines of the Sussexes’ movements that week – it’s bonkers that they got it so wrong.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Cover Images.

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60 Responses to “‘Spare’: Prince Harry took Meghan to Althorp a week before QEII’s death”

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  1. Polo says:

    I can see why Harry seems to have had a bit of a spiritual awakening after they left the Uk. I had chills so many times reading all the moments where it felt like the universe/God/Diana was telling him you are right where you’re supposed to be.
    Them both asking Diana for the same thing without knowing, the Elisabeth ornament breaking, the Diana named picture at Tyler Perry’s house that Archie kept looking at, the hummingbird…

    Sometimes when you step out into the unknown it’s great to have assurance like this.

    • C-Shell says:

      So true. I saw a grief counselor for a few years after I lost my darling husband, and it was such a comfort when she validated my recollections of times when he’d come into my dreams (vividly), or when I’d deal with something that he’d have taken care of and I’d feel him guiding my thoughts and actions. I miss those connections, now, but still feel comforted by the memories.

    • The Old Chick says:

      The painting gave me chills! I got to that bit this afternoon.

    • Jais says:

      The hummingbird! It makes that scene from the docuseries with Archie even more poignant. My mom feels that about butterflies and my grandmother. A butterfly landed on my sister during her wedding rehearsal and my mom felt the spirit of my grandmother was with her. And yes, the painting definitely gave chills.

      • Clarity says:

        I was in a puddle most of the book but had some many tears throughout part 3…this part too. They are really connected.
        can someone explain their interpretation of the hummingbird? Do you think to him it symbolized Elisabeth saying it’s gonna be okay? I know they are supposed to mean good luck, sometimes spirits of ancestors?

      • Jaded says:

        @Clarity – Hummingbirds are viewed very positively in most Native American tribes. They are associated with beauty, harmony, industriousness, and integrity. I, however, have a deep love of dragonflies. A week before my mother passed, I was sitting in my back yard after being at the hospital with her all afternoon. Suddenly masses of dragonflies appeared, it was amazing. A week or so before my BFF of 45 years suddenly died, I was sitting on our 8th floor balcony having a glass of wine and watching the sunset. Again, a dozen or so dragonflies flew right into the balcony and stayed there for about 10 minutes. I knew it was a sign. Interestingly, the dragonfly symbolizes change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization. The change that is often referred to has its source in mental and emotional maturity and understanding the deeper meaning of life.

      • TheVolvesSeidr says:

        The first spring after my son died, I was sitting out on our deck and a mother sparrow with her fledglings came over to me and walked all over me. Her babies were sitting on my arms and knees. I couldn’t believe it. It was my son. He’s sent me birds/feathers since the day after he died. Our loved ones still love us the same after they die. I do believe they send signs.

  2. C-Shell says:

    There were many places in the book when I had to pause, cry, process, and this was certainly one. Clarity and guidance … I’m sure H&M have had many many conversations about how much that has been needed as they’ve navigated their way loose from the mud’s grip.

    • Christine says:

      This has been my experience as well. I am a fast (and constant) reader, but I’m not finished with Spare. I’ve been taking it a chapter at a time, all while finishing novels in between. It’s so heavy, and it really has me thinking about things pertaining to my own life, not just the shit show that is the royal family and British media.

      I’m not sure how Harry made it through, there’s just so much sadness and isolation.

  3. Abby says:

    I was in a puddle of tears after the end of the book right before this part in the epilogue (SO GOOD Y’ALL) and I felt like this was a very sweet moment. It really showed Meghan’s character in the best way, and made me cry even more.

    This was immediately followed by documenting how terrible Harry’s family treated him AGAIN over the queen’s death. They left him alone AGAIN after family died, and Charles wouldn’t let Meghan come with him.

    • Kp says:

      I was undone after the miscarriage and burial. I literally had to put the book down and just sit and cry. Sigh

      • Babz says:

        That’s when I really began to lose it, and the rest of the book had me in absolute pieces. What those two have endured is beyond description, but their love and commitment to each other pulled them through all of it. The outside world can do its damndest to break them, but it will never destroy them. Love wins.

      • Jaded says:

        I was devastated by that too Kp…the visual of them burying their sweet little one who didn’t make it gutted me. God what those two have gone through, and are still going through…they may bend but they don’t break.

    • RoyalBlue says:

      The Epilogue was BEAUTIFUL. I am so happy that he and Meghan had that special moment, and on the 25th anniversary no doubt.

  4. girl_ninja says:

    The way these trash tabloids live for this couple is pathetic. It was lovely to see that Harry and Meghan were able to have that private moment at Diana’s grave. They prayed for the same thing, really are a connected unit.

  5. equality says:

    PH seems close to the Spencers, including the uncle. I wonder if he really did try to get PH not to marry Meghan or if Will tried to drag him into it and failed.

    • Flower says:

      Not sure how close he is to his uncle.

      His uncle Charles is a racist POS and I don’t recall that he was actually invited to the wedding (someone please correct me).

      Around the same time he posted a picture on twitter of some fare at Althorp with a black bride on a wedding cake eating a watermelon.

      Poor Meghan.

      • Beach Dreams says:

        He was at the wedding, but I’m not sure he was at Archie’s christening. Harry’s aunts were in that photo but he wasn’t.

      • Chloe says:

        @flower: the queen wasn’t at archie’s Christening either but harry maintained good contact with her. Coincidentally i was watching footage of the Diana statue unveiling in 2021 and it’s clear harry has a good relationship with his mothers siblings. ALL of them. He also thanks his mother’s siblings in his book, not just his aunts but all her siblings.

        I can’t speak for Charles’ Spencer character but it is clear that he and harry get on.

        I also think it speaks volumes that this wasn’t leaked but that they were actually able to do this privately

      • Becks1 says:

        Its interesting to look back at all the tabloid stories and try to figure out how much is true or how much was twisted. Like maybe William DID go to Charles Spencer to ask for his help and Charles said, nope. Maybe it was just a total fake story to make it seem like everyone, even the Spencers, were opposed to the wedding. I don’t know how family tiaras work, but I can’t imagine the aunts would have offered it to Meghan if Charles Spencer was that opposed to the wedding, because the tiara is technically his, right?

    • AmelieOriginal says:

      Even if they’re not close, I don’t think Charles Spencer would ever block Harry or William from visiting their mother’s grave. Diana was buried at Althorp specifically to keep the hordes away from trampling/vandalizing her grave and for good reason. Uncle Charles walked with both of them during that horrible procession to Westminster Abbey and while he may be a POS, I think he has a heart when it comes to his nephews.

      • Christine says:

        Can you imagine the outrage if there was ever the suggestion that Diana’s sons weren’t allowed to visit her grave whenever they wanted? Charles Spencer has an awful reputation, but even he must know this would be a horrible look.

  6. Chantal says:

    Leave it to the carnivores aka BM to take a lovely and solemn moment and turn it into a scandal
    The BM always have sh*tfits when the Sussexes outsmart them. Which is constantly! Oh well…

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      When I saw the headlines about Meghan throwing herself prostrate on Diana’s grave, I moved on. I knew it was bs and wanted to wait to read it myself.

      • Christine says:

        Exactly. It sounds exactly like what she did when she visited the memorial in Uvalde, which is what most people do when they visit a grave or memorial. So, she mourned appropriately, NEXT!

      • Kate’s Jeggings says:

        How is this even a conversation?? How incredibly vulgar to make yourself a voyeur of someone’s body language when they’re having a private moment at a gravesite and comment on it. Is there no low these people won’t stoop to?

  7. L4Frimaire says:

    This was a beautiful anecdote and noticed the timing too. I attribute them being able to do this undetected to their security team. I wonder why Meghan hadn’t gone out there while she was living in the UK. In that last passage before she died Harry was talking to the Queen and mentioned he’s see her soon, so assumed they planned on visiting her after their events but of course she passed away before that was able to happen.

    • 809Matriarch says:

      The difference between the Spencers and the RF is striking. If H&M had been trying to visit the grave of a Windsor relative in private, it would have leaked. I’m sure the visit to Diana’s grave had been scheduled in advance but notice, it was not leaked.

  8. lanne says:

    The royal family and ratchet lack of boundaries is astounding. In what universe is it okay to criticize the way a person grieves privately at a grave?

    The ratchets aren’t doing UK PR any good right now. Seriously, if this were happening when I was making my decision to spend a year at St Andrews, I would have second guessed myself, and I likely would have turned it down. I’d be thinking, will I be safe as a black woman in this country? Will I be safe in a small town with few POCs? Because this talk about Meghan doesn’t just stay on high–it trickles down to how WOC in particular are viewed in society–what people feel comfortable saying in your presence, etc. Misogynoir hurts WOC across the board. It’s just part of the calculus we measure whenever we go anywhere–is it safe for me to exist as myself in this place? As a traveler to 50+ countries, I have had to think about that with every trip I’ve taken.

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      Really good point, Ianne! I’m sorry that’s a consideration you have to even think about.

    • Blithe says:

      “is it safe for me to exist as myself in this place?”

      Wow @Ianne! Your powerful words really resonate with me. Thank you for putting such clear and simple words to what usually feels like my much more complicated every day reality. It really does all come down to exactly what you’ve said.

      And, sadly, I’m not even talking about traveling.

  9. Lissen says:

    Harry prayed for “guidance and clarity”.
    Meghan prayed for “clarity and guidance”.
    They are SO in tune with each other.
    Explaining to the haters in the back, “Now, children of all ages, this is love.”

    I’m thankful they managed to have this moment before the world came crashing down on them with Granny’s death and her funeral.

  10. AmelieOriginal says:

    That’s so touching Harry finally got to bring Meghan to his mom’s grave. I wonder if he never got around to bringing her before while they lived in the UK because things were so insane or if William had anything to do with it. I could see him pitching a hissy fit and manipulating Charles Spencer to block access to Harry and Meghan. I read the book last week and it was the perfect note to end it on. I’m also thankful Harry was able to include that last minute in the book since I think the announcement about his memoir was imminent before the Queen died.

  11. ChillinginDC says:

    I am laughing at the RR not knowing they were there and out and about. And this was lovely. Why in the world are they losing it about this?

    • L4Frimaire says:

      I didn’t even know there was an issue with this passage and them doing this. The press over there is so desperate to pick around the edges of these anecdotes because they can’t refute the main substance of what Harry is writing. It’s a good memoir, well done.

    • Becks1 says:

      Your first sentence answers your question. They’re losing it because they didn’t know they were there and out and about.

  12. Crowned Huntress says:

    Throughout the book I got the sense that Harry is profoundly sensitive if not psychic or intuitive.
    At his core he’s soulful and spiritual and has a deep empathetic connection with children and nature.

    Him noticing the messages that the natural world (Foxes, Elephants, Lions & hummingbirds etc) were constantly sending him was likely training. He was able to follow the signs to safety.

    May he always trust his instincts.

  13. Well Wisher says:

    Harry has experienced the five stages of grief, so the healing process has been well on its way, if not complete.
    It is wonderful that he finally got the opportunity to have a shared visit with his wife.
    As they continue to focus on the right things, clarity and guidance will follow as they surrender to a higher purpose.

    They are well on their way.

    Please forgive me for inserting myself, but I must acknowledged my pain which is still raw after three years of losing my father.

    • Puppy1 says:

      @WellWisher, no need to apologize. Losing a parent can be difficult (it’s been 17 years for me). I’m still very sad about it but I try to focus on all the good memories and how funny he was, which is how I cope. I’m sorry for your loss and hope you can get to an easier and more peaceful place in your heart soon.

    • Kingston says:

      Please accept condolences on your loss, from a stranger. I wish for you peace and courage as you continue your journey through grief.

    • Jaded says:

      Much sympathy to you Well Wisher. I found my father’s death particularly hard to deal with and I totally understand your pain. I still have dreams about him after 20 years.

  14. TheOriginalMia says:

    I got emotional reading that passage. They are so in tune with each other. Soulmates indeed. The Spencers are obviously more supportive and accepting of Meghan than the Windsors. For all of Diana’s siblings to be there as Harry brought Meghan to Diana’s grave is a testament to their closeness. Shame on the Windsors for throwing Harry away, for abusing and using him without a care for his wellbeing. I know Diana is looking down on him and is happy for him that he found peace, love and clarity.

  15. Lizzie says:

    This sure confirms where the leaks come from! If Charles and William don’t know something about Harry, then neither does the DM.

  16. Petra (Brazen Archetyped Phenomenal Woman) says:

    A beautiful and spiritual moment for them at his moms’ final resting place.

  17. ElleE says:

    Diana being alone out on that island can’t be what she wanted, right? She was a powerful and wealthy woman, she had to have an estate plan and it’s staggering how Diana lost all agency the day she died.

    When I saw Charles and her sister on the news, coming out of a building in Paris to claim her body, I was like, what is he even doing there? Maybe some British government officials should’ve brought her home, given her status, but I can’t imagine that Diana’s will said “my ex-husband Charles, and his family shall be in charge of all funeral arrangements”.

    Diana pulled a hissy when her sons were photographed, eating burgers at a ski resort – there’s no way she would’ve been on board with having her body paraded through the streets of London (with that mummy card) with her two kids walking behind her the whole way.

    Everyone used her the way they wanted to and no one stopped them. I mean her staff stole a bunch of her shit right away and got away with it? If I was Harry and his brother??? All I can say is it’s a good thing the UK has different gun laws. I have barely cracked Spare so maybe this is all explained.

    • Becks1 says:

      I agree with your overall points, but I do think she would have liked being at Althorp, where its quiet and she finally has peace, and her grave cannot be used as a tourist attraction.

      I watched a documentary about her death once and Charles going to France was discussed; apparently someone (the queen or Philip) was opposed to it bc Charles was the ex, but his response was something like “what should we do? Have her sent home in a cargo plane?” or something like that so he went and brought her home in a royal (RAF?) plane. I can’t imagine that would have been what Diana wanted, but it was certainly the right thing for Charles’ PR, which is always his #1 concern.

      • Blujfly says:

        The movie “the queen” suggests that the royal family had decided to completely wash their hands of getting the body back for burial or otherwise helping the Spencers get to and from Paris etc and Charles whether in a PR move or not fought that and then insisted on going partially to get an RAF plane and so on. Certainly Harry’s remark in Spare that he had been told Diana was no longer part of their family give some credence to that

    • Jaded says:

      Once you’ve shed your physical being, the spiritual being doesn’t care where their body is laid to rest. Both William and Harry have stated they feel her presence, Harry especially over the past few years. Her positive energy is drawn to them, and she continues to love and guide them, although it’s clear William is far too closed off emotionally to be as receptive as Harry is to it.

  18. RoyalBlue says:

    has the incandescent one ever been sighted taking the laughing hyena out there?

  19. QuiteContrary says:

    This was a lovely thing for Harry to do, and Meghan acted as would any loving partner. Leave it to the British tabloids to try to sully it.

  20. Vanessa says:

    The British media are garbage they are upset that at every turn Harry and Meghan outwit them . A lot of the over reaction is in my opinion jealousy and envy this was a sweet moment between husband and wife but because the royal reporter and the Karen’s can’t stand that Meghan got to go see Diana grave . I don’t think William has ever brought Kate to see Diana grave that what bothering the Karen’s If this was William the royalist and the Cambridge’s stans would be praises it .

  21. AnneL says:

    Who on earth gets bent out of shape over someone kneeling at and touching a grave?! It was a private moment in a relatively private place. Diana wasn’t Meghan’s mother, but she was the mother of her husband, of the man she loves, and grandmother to her two children. Of course she would want to feel closer to her and commune in her own way. It’s very personal and no one else’s damned business.

    Ugh, these people, The Chutzpah.

  22. Saucy&Sassy says:

    Charles (Earl Spencer) isn’t discussed much. Of course, we know about his passionate speech at Diana’s funeral. I’ve learned 3 things over the years. In an article I read somewhere he was directly quoted about Diana’s interview Although he made clear his thoughts on how it was obtained, he said that Diana had the right to tell her story (or words to that effect). He sued when the media said he wouldn’t let Diana live at Althorpe. He didn’t want her to live the house she chose because of the press, and offered another. She decided not to live there. He won the legal case. He was giving an interview when his last book was published–he writes about history, and it sounds like his books are good–and someone asked him about Lilibet Diana, who had been born days earlier. He said that he had reached the age that family was the most important thing, and that he was delighted. He also said that he knew that Diana would be happy that they named the baby after her.

    I don’t know how close Harry is to his Uncle Charles, but it does sound like he’s making an effort. Which is more than can be said for the Windsors.

    Before anyone says anything, no I’m not saying the man isn’t racist or shown himself to be racist. I’m just saying that the Spencers did what the Windsors refused to do. Welcomed her.

  23. Angela Smith says:

    One of the comments is about William and Catherine and doubts that William has taken Catherine to visit his mother’s grave. . In the run up to their marriage William and Catherine visited his mother’s grave. This was reported at the time.