May 11, 2021

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Will Harry and Meghan be able to fly back for Prince Philip’s funeral?


The Duke of Edinburgh has died, aged 99 on 9 April, three weeks after returning from a month’s stay in hospital.

As is royal tradition, the Queen and the family have entered a period of mourning, reported to last around eight days.

While information has yet to be announced about the funeral, the ceremony is thought to take place at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel.

With coronavirus restrictions allowing just 30 people at a funeral, it won’t be the large affair usually expected when a senior royal dies.

For the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Duke of Edinburgh’s grandson and granddaughter-in-law, who are based in California, attending the funeral will be a trickier issue given the complex travel restrictions currently in place across the world.

What travel hoops will they need to jump through to attend?

Will they attend the funeral?

Following the Sussexes’ decision to step down from royal duties, there has been some speculation about whether the couple, who now live in California, will come to the funeral.

The Daily Mail cites an unnamed source close to the family as saying that Prince Harry will “absolutely do his utmost” to return to the UK and be with the family.

The source told the newspaper that the Duke of Sussex “will want nothing more than to be there for his family and particularly his grandmother, during this awful time”.

They added that Meghan Markle, who is pregnant, will likely have to take advice from her doctor about whether she is able to travel from California.

Will they have to quarantine when they get to the UK?

Yes. All international arrivals into the UK from anywhere in the world have to quarantine either at home or in a hotel, and they’ll both have to present a negative PCR test on arrival.

The US is not on the “red list” of high-risk countries, which includes the UAE, Qatar and most of South America, triggering hotel quarantine, so the Duke and Duchess will have to quarantine at home for 10 days.

Won’t that mean they miss the funeral?

No, because government advice states: “You are required to self-isolate from arrival and for the first full 10 days after you arrive.

“However, you can leave your place of self-isolation in limited circumstances, including on compassionate grounds.

“This includes attending a funeral of a household member [or] a close family member.”

Will Harry be allowed back into the US?

The presidential proclamation of 14 March 2020 banned UK travellers to the US because their presence “threatens the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security”.

US citizens and permanent residents are exempted, as is “any alien whose entry would be in the national interest”. Presumably Harry falls into one of these categories, while Meghan is a US citizen.

The UK’s Foreign Office travel advice for the US states: “If you are flying to the USA from any foreign country, you must have either a negative pre-departure test result (NAAT or antigen) or documentation of recovery from Covid-19 provided by a licensed health care provider or public health official. You should check the process with your airline before travelling.

“If you are eligible to enter the USA, the CDC requires that you self-isolate for at least seven days on arrival, and that you take a Covid-19 test three-five days after your arrival.”

Can Meghan fly while pregnant?

Generally, women are allowed to fly until they are 36 weeks’ pregnant. However, after 28 weeks, some airlines may ask for a letter from a doctor stating the due date and the absence of any health complications.

Meghan, who is due to give birth to her daughter this summer, should be comfortably within the 36-week deadline.