It was a fortunate coincidence of sorts that Harry and Meghan were in the country when the prince’s grandmother passed away, sparing him an emotional and undoubtedly traumatic transatlantic dash as the Queen’s health failed.
Despite the rancour of the past few years, no one would begrudge him the chance to mourn his beloved “Granny”, with whom he had always enjoyed a warm and fun-loving relationship.
But as the royal households were consumed in concern for the ailing monarch, the Sussexes prompted an unprecedented flurry behind the scenes by announcing that Harry and Meghan would both be travelling to Balmoral.
News of their plans came via the small group of media the Sussexes deem it appropriate to deal with and was tweeted out by journalists at 1.53pm UK time.
The statement read: “From a spokesperson: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be travelling to Scotland.”
This was, of course, news to the Palace and it did not go down well. Many behind royal walls, frankly, were incredulous.
There was half an hour on Thursday following the Sussexes’ initial announcement during which matters quickly came to a head.
It is still unclear how much pressure was brought to bear by the Palace itself – or whether senior royal was involved – but a spokesman for the couple frantically began to “clarify” their position, informing those same journalists that “only the Duke was travelling at the moment”.