Prince Harry may be learning there’s truth to the saying, “You can’t go home again.”
Americans seem to love him — unless they are Donald Trump supporters or royal skeptics — as evidenced by the standing ovation he received when he walked on stage for “Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World,” which was taped Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
Harry also received thunderous applause for his impassioned plea to help get COVID-19 vaccines distributed around the world. For the event, to be broadcast May 8, the Duke of Sussex joined some of the biggest names in politics and entertainment, including Joe and Jill Biden, Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, Jimmy Kimmel, Sean Penn and David Letterman.
Well, he’s here! Los Angeles LOVES Prince Harry tonight — he gets electric reception and standing ovation as he steps out on the biggest stage since moving down the road in Montecito. #VaxLive pic.twitter.com/ewzqZ7WnYz
— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) May 3, 2021
Back in Harry’s home country, the U.K media continued to focus on news about Harry’s ruptured relationship with the British royal family — and with a segment of the British public who aren’t happy with the way he and his wife Meghan Markle left royal duties, moved to America and trashed the royal family in their famous interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The U.S./U.K. divide over the Sussexes is evident in the way the British tabloids delivered the news that Queen Elizabeth’s grandson was “shocked” that he received a “very, very cold reception” from the royal family when he returned for Prince Philip’s funeral last month.
Another report Monday said that Prince Charles and Prince William don’t feel that healing their rift with Harry should be their priority, while a royal author raised doubts this weekend that Harry would return to England in July, as widely expected, to join his brother at the unveiling of a statue for his mother, Princess Diana.
In addition, a new YouGov poll released last week shows that Harry’s popularity in the U.K. has continued to drop since he and Meghan stepped back from their jobs as working royals, moved into a $14 million mansion in Montecito and signed multimillion deals with Netflix and Spotify.
Harry and Meghan’s popularity in the U.K. decreased even more after they gave their bombshell interview to Winfrey on March 7, during which they made a number of explosive allegations against his family. They claimed that the monarchy was indifferent to Meghan’s mental health struggles and said that one family member said racist things about her and their son, Archie.
Many royal fans believe that some of Harry and Meghan’s comments were self-serving, exaggerated or disloyal, such as when they questionably claimed that Charles and William felt “trapped” in their royal roles, that Archie was unfairly denied a royal title or that Charles cut them off financially when they moved to America.
Since the Winfrey interview, most senior royals have seen boosts in their favorability ratings among U.K. respondents. The exceptions are Harry, Meghan and scandal-plagued Prince Andrew, according to the YouGov survey of more than 1700 British adults.
Just two-fifths of Britons surveyed now like Harry, who in 2018 beat out the queen as the most popular British royal, the poll shows. Now, up to 49 percent of people surveyed dislike him. Meanwhile, only three in 10 people like Meghan, while three in five, or 61 percent, dislike her.
“I personally don’t think Meghan will return to the U.K.,” royal biographer Phil Dampier told The Sun. “And there must now be a serious doubt as to whether Harry will come over for the unveiling of a statue for Princess Diana on what would have been her 60th birthday in July.”
Dampier also said the relationship between Harry and Meghan and William and his wife, Kate Middleton, was still “broken” despite Harry being seen chatting amicably with William and Kate after Philip’s funeral. William is said to be particularly angry at his brother and Meghan over Meghan’s claims that Kate left her in tears over a fight about bridesmaids dresses before her wedding.
“The relationship between the former so-called ‘Fab Four’ — Harry, Meghan, William and Kate — is now so broken and delicate that everyone is looking for the slightest signs it is getting better … or worse,” Dampier said. “The discussions after Prince Philip’s funeral were a start, but were clearly very strained and only an opening move.”
Over the past week, Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers has discussed the otherwise “cold reception” Harry received from his family at the funeral, the Daily Mail reported. Charles and William reportedly didn’t want to be alone with Harry after the funeral, out of fear that Harry would have his P.R. people leak some contents of their conversations to his American media friends, including Winfrey and Gayle King.
Harry “went back to America with his tail between his legs and who knows what will happen in the future,” Myers said in a radio interview, the Daily Mail reported. Myers also questioned whether Harry would get out of returning for the unveiling of his mother’s statue at Kensington Palace by saying he wanted to be with Meghan, who is due to give birth to their second child this summer.
“I’m told he is still committed to coming,” Myers said. “Certainly Kate and William will welcome him if he wants to come back. …. One may wonder, if his wife has just had a baby, I’m sure he could jump on a private jet and make a flying visit. But, will it be a convenient excuse so he doesn’t have to come back and face the family?”
Harry was not at all sheepish at the “Vax Live” concert Sunday. While a very pregnant Meghan was not in attendance, Harry spoke about the necessity of vaccine equity around the world.
“We’re coming together because this pandemic cannot end unless we act collectively with an unprecedented commitment to our shared humanity,” Harry said. “The vaccine must be distributed to everyone everywhere. We cannot rest or truly recover until there is fair distribution to every corner of the world.”
Fans of Harry praised his speech on social media and emphasized the way the crowd welcomed him on stage. The response, of course, makes it appear that Harry definitely feels more at home in America and raises the question of why he would ever try to go to England again.
This reaction for Prince Harry in California at #VaxLive is really something
Somehow doubt that anyone other than the Queen or his late mother would get similar
— nazir afzal (@nazirafzal) May 3, 2021
Your regular reminder that "service is universal"
Prince Harry thriving. Not just surviving. https://t.co/WxnhSIsNzt
— Jasmine Dotiwala (@jasminedotiwala) May 3, 2021
Harry probably wouldn’t get a ‘Vax Live’-like standing ovation in the UK anymore