PRINCE Harry learned of his grandfather's death less than an hour before the Palace's announcement – after cops made a desperate dash to tell him, it's reported.
Officials at the US Embassy repeatedly tried to contact the Duke of Sussex a little after 3am, LA time, after Philip's death on April 9.
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But when he failed to answer calls, police from the sheriff's department in Santa Barbara were dispatched to the gates of his mansion in exclusive Montecito, TMZ claims.
They told him he needed to call the Embassy urgently.
The announcement of the Duke of Edinburgh's death was made in an official statement by Buckingham Palace at 12noon UK time – 4am LA time.
It's understood the Royal Family was desperate to tell Harry of the death personally to spare him the distress of learning the news in the media first.
A Palace official said today: "We would not comment on this as it is a personal and private matter."
Harry is known to have been particularly close to his grandfather – and poignantly remembered him as a "master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right till the end".
It comes as:
- Prince Harry says ‘growing up is depressing’ but ‘we’re all in this together’ in yet another chat with Oprah
- The Duke had been working on his latest documentary for two years – meaning it was in the works before Megxit
- He revealed the biggest thing he did to help Meghan when she suffered suicidal thoughts was 'listening
- Prince Charles was reportedly "boiling with anger" over doc The Me You Can't See
- An insider has claimed the Royal Family watch ‘with their hands over their eyes’ when Meghan and Harry speak
It's not known if Harry turns his phone to silent before bed, or whether he and Meghan are simply heavy sleepers.
But there's understood to have been a particular drive to tell him as quickly as possible after he and Meghan's bombshell Oprah interview aired on March 8.
The fallout from the chat continues months on after the pair made allegations that a senior royal had made a racist comment about the colour of Archie's skin while Meghan was still pregnant.
Oprah later clarified neither the Queen nor the Duke of Edinburgh had been responsible for the comment.
Harry later returned to the UK for the funeral without pregnant Meghan, who was advised not to travel by her doctors.
He revealed last week he'd been "afraid" to return and see his family face-to-face for the first time in a year – because it could "trigger" his past trauma.
Photos taken following the service showed him chatting with his brother and "peacemaker" Kate after Charles sent funeral cars away.
He is also understood to have spoken privately with Charles and the Queen.
However, hopes for a full reconciliation may have been dashed after Harry launched another round of "personal attacks" on his loved ones.
His father came in for particular criticism in his latest documentary with Oprah, The Me You Can't See.
In the programme, Harry accused the royals of showing "total neglect" for his mental health woes.
And he claimed Charles caused him to "suffer" and didn't "make it right" for him after his mother's death in 1997.
It's reported the Queen gave her blessing for Harry's involvement in the doc because she was told it would cover soldiers' mental health.
But she and Charles were left "absolutely gobsmacked" when they were informed of Harry's latest "personal attacks" in the show.
And the Duke's relationship with his family in the UK is now "hanging by a thread", a source says.
In the meantime, senior royals have continued on with their official duties.
Yesterday, Charles and Camilla chuckled as they pulled pints on a visit to a Clapham pub to celebrate the return of the great British high street.
Despite his smiles, it's understood the Prince of Wales is "boiling with anger" over his youngest son's latest claims.
And William and Kate took a "trip down memory lane" as they enjoyed fish and chips at their old favourite student takeaway in Scotland.
The royal couple returned to St Andrews, where they first met as students 20 years ago, before making a detour to Anstruther Fish Bar.
The Queen has also made a return to her duties.
Last weekend, she toured the Navy's flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth – or 'Big Lizzie', as the vessel is affectionately known.
Her Majesty, who has been characteristically stoic despite a tumultuous time for her family, smiled broadly at officers as she boarded.
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