Meghan and Harry criticised for ‘ice cold’ tribute to Prince Philip on Archewell website

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have paid tribute to Prince Philip, as the United Kingdom wonders whether they will return to the country for his funeral.

Prince Harry’s grandfather “passed away peacefully” at Windsor Castle on Friday morning, UK time.

But the couple’s brief, 10-word tribute thanking Prince Philip for his “service” has been labelled “unbelievably cold” mid a social media backlash.

Harry and Meghan Markle’s Archewell website was transformed into a page paying tribute to Philip hours after his death was announced.

“In loving memory of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. Thank you for your service … you will be greatly missed,” the page read.

The brief message was labelled “cold” and “impersonal” by those on social media, who criticised its “lack of affection”.

Philip’s death may prompt Harry and Meghan to return to the UK for the first time since March of 2020, when they left after stepping back from their duties as senior working members of the royal family.

The Prince will receive a relatively private funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, in line with both the coronavirus pandemic and his own wishes.

That is the venue where Harry and Meghan got married.

“The funeral will not be a state funeral and will not be preceded by a lying-in-state,” the College of Arms announced today.

“His Royal Highness’s body will lie at rest in Windsor Castle ahead of the funeral in St George’s Chapel. This is in line with custom and with His Royal Highness’s wishes.

“The funeral arrangements have been revised in view of the prevailing circumstances arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and it is regretfully requested that members of the public do not attempt to attend or participate in any of the events that make up the funeral.”

We do not yet know the official date of the funeral, though British media is reporting it could happen next Saturday.

Under the British government’s current coronavirus restrictions, no more than 30 people are allowed to attend funerals. The question is, will the Duke and Duchess of Sussex be among the mourners at Windsor Castle?

“Harry will absolutely do his utmost to get back to the UK and be with his family,” a source close to the family told The Daily Mail.

“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.”

Harry and Meghan have not been back to the UK since they left in March of last year, having stepped back from their role as senior working royals. They currently live in California.

The Duke of Sussex was already due to return to Britain on July 1 to unveil a statue of his mother, Diana, alongside his brother Prince William. Meghan, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, was not expected to accompany him.

Should the Sussexes decide to attend the funeral, it is unclear what kind of reception they could expect from the British people.

Harry and Meghan have frequently sparred with Buckingham Palace over the past year, and last month sat down for a high-profile interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which they alleged the royals had prevented Meghan from seeking treatment for her mental health.

They also accused an unnamed senior royal of expressing “concerns” about the colour of their son Archie’s skin before he was born, though they stressed the individual in question was neither the Queen nor Prince Philip.

Any potential backlash against the couple might be limited by the understated nature of the Duke’s funeral.

“Clearly they have planned for a Covid funeral, and I know that Philip’s would be a pretty understated royal funeral compared to that which would be held for his wife,” Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, told The Sun.

“But in the midst of a pandemic, it’s going to be pared back so much. It will be behind castle walls at Windsor and we won’t get to see much of it at all.

“It will be a great shame that he has to have such a quiet send-off. But in saying that, he didn’t want all the pomp and pageantry anyway, so I suppose in a way it would suit his purpose.”

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