Who are the 'people' Harry referred to when he said he wanted to 'protect' the Queen?

  • Harry was directed to subjects he would rather have ignored, as Royal Editor Chris Ship reports

What did Prince Harry mean when he said he wants to check the Queen is being protected?

He gave the answer - unprovoked - in a question about his trip to see the Queen last week when he and Meghan dropped into Windsor Castle on their way to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands.

It was the first time the couple had been back in the UK together since leaving the Royal Family in 2020.

It was also the first time Meghan had seen the Queen since the Oprah Winfrey interview when the Duchess of Sussex accused an unnamed member of the Royal Family of being racist and Buckingham Palace replied with that short statement that "recollections may vary".

Harry told his interviewer from the US network NBC that they had enjoyed tea with the Queen and that she was on "great form" but he went on to tell his Today show host that he was "just making sure that she is protected and she's got the right people around her."

Did he mean her family are not protecting the Queen? Or her officials?

  • Prince Harry: I'm making sure she's protected and got the right people around her

As the next two in line to the throne, Prince Charles and Prince William could be forgiven for feeling under attack but given Harry's reluctance in the rest of the interview to talk about his father and brother, it could be the officials at whom Harry was issuing this thinly veiled attack.

Asked if he "missed" his father and brother, Harry completely swerved the question and spoke about the Invictus Games and returning to his family in California.

So he could have been talking about the Queen's most senior courtiers. Perhaps he meant those who advise the Prince of Wales or Duke of Cambridge.

Is Prince Harry trying to directly impact the institution he has departed from? Chris Ships reports

When we approached Harry and Meghan's spokesperson and asked them to elaborate on what Harry meant - they declined to do so.

But if you think back to that explosive Oprah interview last year, a lot of the attacks from Harry and Meghan were aimed at what they kept calling the "institution" - rather than Harry's family.

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It is the institution that Harry believes failed in its duty to protect his wife when she became a senior and high-profile working royal.

And it is the institution Harry blamed for launching an inquiry into claims of bullying by Meghan (that inquiry has still not been made public).

Quite why he believes the Queen is not being protected, is unclear.

Is he referring to her decision a few weeks ago to ask Prince Andrew to accompany her to Prince Philip's Thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey?

Is he claiming that her workload should have been made much lighter much sooner, giving her increasing frailty since she became a widow?

Harry didn't say, the interviewer didn't ask and his office won't elaborate.

But it's clear - from the words he used - that Prince Harry believes the Queen is not being protected - and the "people" around her are to blame.