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ABERDEEN, Scotland, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Just before boarding a flight at Aberdeen on Friday, the morning after the death of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry put his arm around the shoulder of an airport worker who had expressed her sympathy while accompanying him across the tarmac.
It was a moment of warmth and informality characteristic of Harry, whose approachable persona long made him one of the most popular royals – until his decision to step back from royal duties caused a breach in the family that is far from resolved.
Harry was the last to arrive at Balmoral Castle on Thursday, as the queen’s closest relatives rushed to be with her in her final hours, and the first to depart on Friday, reflecting the fact that he is no longer part of the family’s inner circle.
In happier times, Harry and his grandmother enjoyed a close, playful rapport, glimpsed by the wider public in 2016 when they appeared together in a comic video, reacting to a mic drop taunt from Barack and Michelle Obama ahead of the Invictus Games, a competition for disabled veterans which Harry has promoted.
But it was pure coincidence that Harry was in Britain when Elizabeth died, and prior to her demise there were no plans announced for him to see his family during his visit from the United States, where he lives with his…