King Charles III Declines Meeting with Prince Harry

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On Tuesday, May 7, 2024, Prince Harry landed in London, England to attend a church service marking the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games. It was during this visit that he revealed that a meeting with his father, King Charles III, had been turned down due to the King’s busy agenda. The inability of the King to meet Harry, despite being in the same city, underscores the ongoing discord within the royal family.

A representative for Prince Harry told the press, “In light of the numerous questions and persistent speculation about whether the Duke will meet with his father during his time in the UK this week, it regrettably won’t be possible due to His Majesty’s packed schedule.” The representative added, “The Duke fully comprehends his father’s demanding schedule and other commitments and looks forward to seeing him in the near future.”

On Wednesday, Harry joined the service at St. Paul’s Cathedral celebrating ten years of his Invictus Games initiative. Concurrently, King Charles was hosting the season’s first garden party at Buckingham Palace. The King, alongside Queen Camilla and other high-ranking royals, entertained guests, while Harry was accompanied at his service by his uncle, Charles Spencer, the 9th Earl Spencer. The lack of royal family attendees at Harry’s event underlines the deepening divide.

A former courtier with deep ties to Buckingham Palace informed the press that the king made the correct call, stating, “While reconciliation between father and son is certainly important, any meeting with Harry would have entirely overshadowed Charles’ return to work this week, which his office rightly views as the primary story.” The courtier added that Charles, despite resuming public duties after a cancer diagnosis, wanted to focus on hosting the garden party for more than 5,000 guests, asking, “Does he want that overshadowed in the media?”

In an interview with Marca, royal expert Robert Jobson provided further insight into King Charles’ decision to avoid meeting his younger son. Jobson stated, “People believe that if Harry comes to town, a reconciliation will happen. But there’s been a lot of water under the bridge and a significant betrayal of trust. Rebuilding that takes time, and I don’t think we’re close to that point yet.” He also pointed out that Harry’s presence could have overshadowed Charles’ return to public duties after his diagnosis.

Jobson pointed to Harry’s critical comments about Queen Camilla in his memoir Spare, wherein he accused her of “sacrificing” him for favorable media coverage and leaving “bodies on the street” to become queen. Jobson believes these comments complicated Charles’ decision to meet Harry. A friend of the king and queen stated, “The king has made it clear that he wants to be reconciled with his son,” but Harry’s “outrageous comments about Camilla had put his father in a very difficult position.”

Although Prince Harry remains a key part of the royal family, the hostility between him and the senior members is palpable. King Charles and Prince William did not attend the Invictus Games service despite invitations, highlighting the tension. Harry’s spokesperson reiterated that Harry still appreciates his father’s busy schedule and hopes for future reconciliation.

The fragile relationship between the king and his son is further evidenced by claims that Harry’s public statement about not meeting his father was “childish” and has eroded their trust. Sources told the media that Charles found Harry’s critique of the royal family and Camilla to be “rude, undignified, and childish,” making the royal family wary of future encounters.

During his visit to London, Prince Harry made several comments praising the success of the Invictus Games, which he considers “a significant part of my growth and learning.” Despite family disputes, he remains committed to his cause. Meghan Markle, Harry’s wife, joined him for the latter part of his trip, which included a visit to Nigeria as part of their work for the Invictus Games and on behalf of the Chief of Defense Staff.

As Harry’s strained relationship with the royal family remains unresolved, questions about the potential for future reconciliation persist. His spokesperson’s measured tone underscored Harry’s hope to meet with his father in due time. Until then, he will continue to champion the values and mission of the Invictus Games, highlighting the importance of resilience and service to others.

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