The Prince and Princess of Wales were joined by the Sussexes as they greeted members of the public outside Windsor Castle days after the queen died on 8 September 2022.
The appearance surprised fans amid reports of a growing rift between the “Fab Four” – as the royals were jointly known before Harry and Meghan resigned as senior members and relocated to the US in 2020.
Royal biographer Robert Hardman’s new book Charles III: New King. New Court. The Inside Story described the “remarkable scene” at Cambridge Gate on the castle’s Long Walk on 10 September 2022, including details about what went on behind the scenes that day.
Citing conversations with the prince’s closest advisors, Mr Hardman claims the walkabout was “very much William’s idea” because he felt it was the right thing to do for his grandmother – despite the awkwardness of the engagement.
“It was very much William’s idea,” Mr Hardman writes. “He had organised it in about two hours flat.
“He had been giving it a lot of thought and he said: ‘I know it’s awkward but isn’t it right in the context of my grandmother’s death?’
“I know he asked a couple of other people, too.”
The walkabout lasted 40 minutes, as the couples greeted well-wishers and mourners who had gathered outside Windsor to pay tribute to the queen.
About their joint appearance, a member of the Waleses’ team reportedly told Mr Hardman: “I don’t think either couple found it easy.”
The Windsor walkabout preceded the release of Harry and Meghan’s bombshell Netflix docuseries and the duke’s tell-all memoir, further straining their relationship with the royal family.
Elsewhere in Mr Hardman’s book, which has been serialised by Mail Online, the author reveals the moment Charles learnt about his mother’s death.
Then the Prince of Wales, Charles had been returning to Balmoral castle after picking mushrooms when he was informed that Queen Elizabeth had died.
Charles, who had gone out to gather mushrooms and clear his head after seeing his mother, received the news as he was driving back to their Scottish holiday home, when his most senior aide received a phone call.
Charles pulled over and was addressed for the first time as “Your Majesty”, according to Mr Hardman’s biography.
Queen Elizabeth II’s final moments were described as “very peaceful” in a memo written by her private secretary, which also revealed she “wouldn’t have been aware of anything”.
According to the document, which is a part of Mr Hardman’s book, Sir Edward Young wrote: “Very peaceful. In her sleep. Slipped away. Old age. She wouldn’t have been aware of anything. No pain.”