How Prince Harry's role in the Royal Family shifted dramatically with '19 minutes of pain'

Prince Harry attends the National Service of Thanksgiving for The Queen's reign at Saint Paul's Cathedral
-Credit: (Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Prince Harry's life took a dramatic turn when he chose to step down from Royal duties and relocate to the US, leaving behind his familiar Royal life. Raised within the confines of the Royal Family, Prince Harry was accustomed to the rigid structure of the monarchy and his prominent role within it.

His time in the Armed Forces was no different, as he adapted to another environment defined by strict hierarchy and discipline. Yet despite his withdrawal from official Royal engagements, the Duke has made appearances at family occasions, one of which subjected him to "19 minutes of pain" due to the stark change in his familial standing, as noted by a Royal commentator.

The poignant event was the National Service of Thanksgiving during the late Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022. This marked the first public reunion of Meghan and Harry with William and Kate since the Sussexes' departure and their explosive Oprah Winfrey interview.

Prince William and Kate Middleton attend the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
Harry and Meghan reunited with Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Queen's Platinum Jubilee -Credit:Getty

Held at St. Paul's Cathedral, the site of Charles and Diana's wedding 41 years prior, the service highlighted the changed dynamics within the family, reports the Mirror.

While William and Kate were seated prominently in the front row alongside then-Prince Charles and Camilla, Harry and Meghan were positioned further away, next to cousins Princess Eugenie and Beatrice and their spouses Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and Jack Brooksbank.

Richard Kay, writing for the Mail, suggested that the seating arrangement highlighted the "public reality of Harry's slide down the royal pecking order" before labelling Charles, Camilla, William and Kate as the "real stars of the show."

"As non-working royals, they are now very much in the second division," he commented. "And although spared the indignity of sharing the coach that brought a clutch of minor royals who similarly do not do official duties, such as Princess Michael of Kent's son Lord Frederick Windsor, they were only just behind them."

harry and meghan
At the event, Harry's role within the Royal Family drastically changed. -Credit:Getty Images

Kay added: "It was a painful 19 minutes before William and Kate arrived to take their seats. If the reality of his new life had escaped Prince Harry thus far, it must surely have sunk in then."

Two years on from the incident, there seems to be little progress in mending the rift between the two brothers since they celebrated Queen Elizabeth's 70-year reign.

Their grandmother's passing a few months later brought them together again under more somber circumstances. However, the release of Harry and Meghan's six-part Netflix documentary, along with Harry's revealing memoir Spare, seemed to widen the gap between the brothers.

Following the news of Kate's cancer treatment, reports suggest that Harry and Meghan have privately "reached out" to the Wales family, additionally sending a public message expressing their support for Kate as she asks for privacy during her treatment and recovery. However, during Harry's recent UK visit marking the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games, the brothers did not meet, leaving speculation about their future relationship unresolved.