Inside King Charles & Prince Harry’s Fractured Relationship

Has the "spare" made peace with his father?
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We know the relationship between Prince Harry and his father, King Charles has been tense in recent years, following Harry’s choice to leave his royal position and preference an independent life with his wife, Meghan Markle, and their children, Archie and Lilibet.

While rumours of a rift between Harry and Prince William have been brewing for years, Harry’s relationship with Charles has been less clear.

However, the young prince certainly didn’t hold back in his recently-released memoir, Spare, in which he outlines his experience as the “spare” prince, i.e. a back-up heir should William not be able to succeed to the throne.

Most recently, it has been reported that the pair will not be catching up during Prince Harry’s visit to Britain for the Invictus Games, with a spokesperson for Harry stating, “it will unfortunately will not be possible due to His Majesty’s full programme.

“The Duke of course is understanding of his father’s diary of commitments and various other priorities and hopes to see him soon.”

Although that pressure is now largely off his back (Harry is currently fifth in-line to the throne), the former “party boy prince” has further distanced himself from the royal family, including his only living parent.

Let’s take a look at where things stand between Prince Harry and King Charles ahead of the coronation.

Harry will attend his father’s coronation—but will it be on good terms? (Credit: Getty)

Are Prince Harry and King Charles on good terms?

The precise nature of Prince Harry and King Charles’ relationship may never be fully revealed to the public—but we have reason to believe it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the royal family.

Let’s look back at some of the cracks that have formed in King Charles’ and Prince Harry’s relationship in recent years.

Harry’s memoir questioned Charles’ parenting. (Credit: Getty)

When did Prince Harry and King Charles Last See Each Other? 

Prince Harry’s last public visit with King Charles occurred in February after his father, King Charles was diagnosed with cancer. 

After flying in, Harry stayed a mere 24 hours before heading back to America. 

Before this visit, Harry also made a rare trip back to London to testify at a trial against the British press, and it was reported King Charles was “too busy” to see his son.

While Prince Harry did attend his father’s coronation, the public wasn’t sure whether he would attend the event. 

Royal reporter and biographer Omid Scobie recently acknowledged that the question mark around Harry’s coronation was not his reluctance to go but rather the family’s reluctance to invite him.

“There was never any question on whether [Harry] would want to come or not,” Scobie said on the UK’s This Morning show. “It was a question at one point of whether he would be invited, I think.

“From what I understand, the Sussexes [i.e. Harry and Meghan] had to wait for some time to really get that confirmation that they were 100 percent welcome at this event.”

What did Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare, have to say about King Charles?

With the release of Spare, Harry became the first central figure of the British royal family to publish a memoir and offer intimate insights into the royal institution. He also had a few choice stories to tell about his father! 

Harry wrote that he was never that close with his father, and painted Charles as not being emotionally forthcoming.

One such accusation was that Charles “wasn’t great at showing emotions” and didn’t hug his son when sharing the news that his mother had died. 

Harry also said his father would regularly joke about rumours Harry was not his biological son, instead being the result of an alleged affair between Princess Diana and James Hewitt. While Harry said the rumours of his ‘real’ paternity are categorically false, he also pointed out that his father’s jokes about the matter were “remarkably unfunny”.

However, despite noting that Charles always seemed “not quite read for parenthood”, Harry ultimately concedes that his father “tried”. 

Then there were the comments about future Queen Consort Camilla

Harry claims he and William begged their father not to marry Camilla, and later accused her of leaking negative stories about her stepson to the press to improve her own public image.

Among other things, Prince Harry also accused Prince Charles and Camilla of “scolding” Will and Kate for hogging the spotlight. Yikes.

Read more: 16 Biggest Bombshells From Prince Harry’s memoir

Nevertheless, royal reporter Omid Scobie confirms that Charles and his son have been in frequent contact since.

Cracks have been forming between the brothers and their father for a while. (Credit: Getty)

Prince Harry’s Relationship With The Press

One other major tension between Prince Harry and his family is Harry’s ongoing crusade against the British press, which stretches back to his childhood and the death of Princess Diana.

While there are long-standing agreements between the British media and the royal family, Harry takes issue with invasive reporting, damaging tabloid speculation and, in particular, the cruel and biased treatment of Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan.

As part of the latter issue, Harry has previously accused his family—particularly his brother—of failing to properly protect his wife and kids from the press. Instead, he claims, they contributed to media attacks on Meghan.

Again, this division between Harry and the press leaves him as an outlier among his family, the rest of whom have not voiced issues with their media treatment. Instead, the British royal family prefers to smooth any tensions with the press, which they view as playing an important role in maintaining their public image.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the Queen’s funeral in 2022. (Credit: Getty)

Prince Harry Leaving The Royal Family

In 2020, Harry and Meghan declared they would renounce many of their royal privileges and “step back” from their “senior” positions in the royal family. One reason for this is Harry’s desire for “a family, not an institution”. 

Us Weekly reports Charles was “livid” about this decision.

As Insider points out, Harry has been distancing himself from the “royal business” just as his father has stepped in to head it up. On top of that, waning support for the monarchy has put both Harry and his father at odds in their respective “tasks”. While Harry is stepping back, Charles is stepping up. 

However, upon assuming the throne in 2022, Charles showed support for the pair in his first address as the new king. 

“I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan, as they continue to build their lives overseas,” he said.

The family in 2020. (Credit: Getty)

What Is The Relationship Between King Charles And Meghan Markle

While some of the family’s feud has hinged on public (and private) treatment of Meghan, the actress had nothing but lovely things to say about Charles in the Harry & Meghan Netflix special. 

“Harry’s dad is very charming,” Meghan said of the future King.

Royal followers will also remember that Charles walked Meghan down the aisle on the big day.

“I said to him, like, ‘I’ve lost my dad in this.’ So, him, as my father-in-law, was really important to me,” Meghan revealed in the documentary. “So, I asked him to walk me down the aisle and he said yes. The whole thing was surreal.”

So, while Meghan, Harry and Charles might be okay for now, there appears to be a continued row between the Sussexes and the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Read more: A History Of Kate Middleton And Meghan Markle’s Feud

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