Prince Harry planning surprise announcement for birthday – but needs to be careful, expert says

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Meghan Markle caused a stir when she used her 40th birthday to launch an initiative to help women get back into the workplace.

Now all eyes are on Prince Harry as he prepares to turn 37 on September 15.

Will the Duke of Sussex follow his wife’s lead and make an announcement related to the charities he supports? Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams thinks it’s likely.

“The Sussexes like to announce charity initiatives on their birthdays,” he says. “We saw it last year when Harry announced funding for CAMFED, a charity helping support African girls in education, so it’s possible he will do something similar this year.”

On her 40th birthday, the Duchess of Sussex revealed that she’d persuaded 40 friends, ‘including athletes, artists, and world leaders’, to contribute 40 minutes of mentorship to support women re-entering the workforce.

For his own birthday, Prince Harry may choose to honour some of the charities and causes close to his heart.

“Of course, you can never predict what Harry is going to say and do, but Harry has already put out a statement supporting military veterans in the wake of the Afghanistan withdrawal,” says Richard.

“It’s a big crisis and it would be a reasonable assumption that any birthday initiative might be linked to Afghanistan and the refugee crisis.

“But he would have to be careful not to say anything critical of President Biden. Harry and Meghan seem to see their future in the US and Harry will have to watch what he says about US domestic matters, especially as it’s been speculated that Meghan is eyeing up a future in politics.”

Harry may also choose to support his other favoured charities, which include Sentebale, the Children's HIV Association (CHIVA), Crisis, Myna Mahila Foundation, Scotty's Little Soldiers, StreetGames, HALO and The Wilderness Foundation UK.

“Harry is committed to his charities so I wouldn’t be surprised if he announced initiatives supporting some of them,” says Richard. “There’s also his Invictus Games, which he created and turned into a wonderful event.

“But of course the one thing we’ve learned about Harry and Megan is that they’re very unpredictable.

“He and Meghan are supposed to be on a lengthy maternity and paternity leave, but that hasn’t stopped them making various statements and announcements.

“Harry might even surprise us with a picture of him and his daughter Lili, which would be lovely.”

Despite speculation that Meghan would throw a grand party for her birthday, inviting a host of Hollywood friends, it seems the Duchess decided on a low-key celebration at the Montecito mansion she and Harry moved to last year.

She is thought to have recruited events specialist Colin Cowie, voted top of American Vogue’s Ultimate Wedding Planner Master List in 2018, to organise the party.

“We simply don’t know what sort of party Harry is planning, if any,” says Richard. “There’s no Royal protocol for birthdays.

“Maybe he’ll choose to spend it quietly with Meghan and his two young children. We know he’s close to Meghan’s mother, Doria, so perhaps she’ll be involved.

“He’ll certainly receive good wishes from his family and he may do some Zoom calls with family members.”

Could there be an opportunity to heal the Royal rift, sparked by Meghan and Harry’s decision to speak publicly about their family?

“The Oprah interview was exceptionally destructive to the monarchy and caused the Royal family major embarrassment,” says Richard.

“When Prince Charles’s call to Harry following the interview was reported by Gayle King on her US TV show, a lot of trust was broken.

“However, nothing was reported after the unveiling of Princess Diana’s statue so that may indicate that indiscretions of that nature are in the past.

“But with Harry’s memoirs on the horizon and new chapters to the book Finding Freedom already gone to press, whether the rift can be healed is questionable. The only way it can be is privately within the Royal family.”

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