LONDON — Prince Harry said he wanted to return to the United Kingdom for Queen Elizabeth II’s upcoming platinum jubilee and so his children could spend time with their great-grandmother, but warned that “security issues” could get in the way.
“I don’t know yet. There’s a lot of things, with security issues and everything else,” Harry told “TODAY” co-host Hoda Kotb during an exclusive interview to discuss the fifth Invictus Games, a sports competition for wounded and sick service members and veterans that he founded.
Harry, 37, said he was “trying to make it possible” to return to the U.K. with his children, Archie and Lilibet, so they can get to know his home country and spend time with Elizabeth, who turns 96 Thursday. Lilibet, who was born in the United States in June, has not met her great-grandmother and other members of the royal family.
The Duke of Sussex has been locked in a battle with the British government over a decision to block him from paying for police protection during visits to the U.K. Harry has said he wants to pay for police protection himself, rather than asking British taxpayers to foot the bill, but he has said he cannot do so without the go-ahead from Britain’s Home Office.
Without proper police protection, a legal representative for Harry has previously said, it would be too risky for the prince, his wife, Meghan, and their children to visit the U.K. from Santa Barbara, California, where they now live.
Harry also told Kotb of how nice it was to spend time with his grandmother earlier this month after he and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, quietly met with the monarch over tea.
The meeting was their first since the couple stepped down as senior working royals and moved to North America in 2020, with the two speaking out about the pressure they faced in their roles and alleged racist treatment of Meghan by members of the British media.
Harry told Kotb the queen had appeared in “great form” following a bout of Covid. “Being with her, it was great,” he said. “It was nice to see her, you know.”
The prince said he had wanted to make sure his grandmother was “protected” and has “got the right people around her.”
He also praised the queen for her “great sense of humor” and said he still shared a “really special relationship” with his grandmother.
“We talk about things that she can’t talk about with anybody else," he said.
Asked later whether he has missed his family, he said “Of course, that’s a huge part of it.” However, he said, he was focused on the families represented at the Invictus Games.
“That’s my focus here. And when I leave here, I get back and my focus is my family, who I miss massively,” he said of his wife and two children.
The prince said he loved everything about being a father, including “the chaos, the learning, the reminder of just every element of yourself, your soul.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a dad. I’ve always wanted to have my own kids and now, I’ve got two little people who I’m responsible for,” he said.
He said that while it could feel “complicated” at times having to “sort of restart” life “from a blank canvas,” with their move to the U.S., he and Meghan are committed to building a future for their family “together as a couple forever.”
Asked by Kotb whether he ever talks about his mother, Princess Diana, with his son, Archie, now that he’s old enough, Harry replied: “Very much so.”
“I don’t tell him all the stuff that happened, but certainly that this is you know, Grandma Diana, and we’ve got a couple of photos up in the house,” he said.
Harry said he could still feel his mother’s presence, particularly over “the last two years, more so than ever before.”
“I feel her presence in almost everything that I do now,” he said.