Charles’ illness fails to bring Harry and William together

The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex have not met while Harry has been in the UK.

Tony Jones
Wednesday 07 February 2024 15:48 GMT
The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex are not understood to be in contact with each other (PA)
The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex are not understood to be in contact with each other (PA) (PA Archive)

The rift between the Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex was thrown into sharp relief when it emerged even their father’s cancer diagnosis could not bring them together.

Harry flew thousands of miles from his Californian home to be at the King’s side, a move that showed both men were willing to put their strained relationship on hold.

But there was no meeting between the royal siblings on Tuesday after the duke spent around 45 minutes at Clarence House seeing Charles.

Since stepping down as working royals in 2020 and moving to California with their family, the Sussexes have aired allegations and grievances against the monarchy and members of Harry’s family.

The breakdown in the brothers’ bond can be traced back to the early period of Harry’s relationship with wife Meghan, when his then-fiancee had a falling out with the Princess of Wales in the run-up to the Sussexes’ wedding.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan described how Kate made her cry ahead of her wedding – the opposite of reports circulating ahead of the Sussexes’ nuptials that Meghan left Kate in tears at Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress fitting.

Reports of a fractious friendship between the two women were confirmed in Harry’s memoir Spare, when he recounted how Kate, pregnant at the time with Prince Louis, said she was owed an apology from his wife who had previously commented Kate was suffering from “baby brain” due to her “hormones”.

Harry shed further light on the row over Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress, claiming in his book the incident had left Meghan “sobbing on the floor”.

The duke gave his assessment of Charles and William to Winfrey, telling the chat show host: “My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that.”

Another account in Harry’s candid autobiography Spare caused friction between the siblings, when he accused William of physically attacking him and pushing him into a dog bowl in a row over Meghan, and teasing him about his panic attacks.

It is likely William will have taken Harry’s disparaging accusations about Kate closer to heart than any criticism of himself, as he is protective of his family.

But it appears the rift will not be healed in the immediate future, with Harry likely to have spent time with his cousins Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who have remained in contact.

The perspective of time may be needed before the two warring brothers can make peace and heed the words of Charles who, according to Spare, told them after their grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral: “Please, boys – don’t make my final years a misery.”

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