“I haven’t had a chance to go back to the UK for a couple of years apart from those times, once for my grandfather’s funeral and once for unveiling a statue of my mum,” he said.
“Being with her, it was great. It was really nice to see her in some element of privacy, which was nice.
“It was just so nice to see her … She’s on great form. She’s always got a great sense of humour with me and I’m just making sure she’s protected and got the right people around her.
“We have a really special relationship, we talk about things that she can’t talk about with anybody else.”
He also used the interview in The Hague, in the Netherlands, to describe the US as his home “for the time being” where he has been “welcomed with open arms”.
He did not attend a memorial service for his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, in London last month but the meeting with the Queen had paved the way for the couple to be invited to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.
Harry said he had not yet decided whether to come back to Britain for the Platinum Jubilee, saying there are “lots” of issues to overcome to allow his children to finally meet the Queen.
The duke said he was “trying to make it possible” for his children, Archie and Lilibet, to see their great-grandmother and conceded he had “of course” missed his family during the coronavirus lockdown. But stopped short of warm words about anyone other than the Queen.
Archie met the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh as a newborn baby before moving to California with his parents, and 10-month-old Lilibet – named for the Queen’s childhood nickname – has not yet her great-grandmother.
But the portrayal of the duke as the Queen’s right-hand man will likely infuriate some within the Palace. He has previously been openly critical of some of her aides and the institution which he believes failed the Sussexes.
But veteran royal commentator Angela Levin, who wrote the book Harry: Conversations with the Prince, said his comment was a “gross insult” to Prince Charles and his brother, William.
“He’s underlined even more that he doesn’t deserve to attend the Jubilee celebrations and be on the Balcony,” she said.
Robert Jobson, of London’s Evening Standard, also questioned the motives behind his comments.
“I think you’ll find that Prince Charles and Her Majesty’s children and William are DOING just that and supporting the Queen, with actions – and not just words,” he tweeted.
The Queen, who is 96 on Thursday, has been forced to pull out of several key events in the past month, including a traditional Easter Sunday church service, after revealing she has mobility problems.
She travelled to her Norfolk estate on Wednesday where she will celebrate her birthday in low-key fashion at the farmhouse where the Duke of Edinburgh spent much of his retirement. She is likely to spend several days at Wood Farm, the home Prince Philip moved to after his retirement in August 2017.
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