King Charles Wants a “Low-Key” 75th Birthday Celebration This Year—and Wants Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet to Attend

He is keen to keep celebrations “family oriented.”

King Charles
(Image credit: Getty)

King Charles will turn 75 years old this November, and plans are already being drawn up for the big occasion. The Sun reports it will be a “low-key affair,” with the King reportedly vetoing any major public celebration and preferring any festivities be “minimal” and “family oriented.” (After all, the past few months have seen two Coronations for Charles—in London and Edinburgh—plus his public birthday celebration, Trooping the Colour, right in the middle of them.)

“His Majesty is not given to fuss over such things as it is, but he is [also] acutely conscious there have been many set-piece royal events of late, and his firm thinking is that events to mark his birthday will be minimal,” a source told The Daily Mail. Another Palace source added “There’s been enough fly-pasts and marches.” 

King Charles and Queen Camilla at Trooping the Colour

(Image credit: Getty)

Instead, he’s opting for a private dinner for his closest friends and family hosted by Queen Camilla at Highgrove, Charles’ Gloucestershire country home. In addition to that, The Sun reports, he’ll likely focus on business as usual, undertaking public engagements and maybe celebrating with a cake and a few words of good cheer in the leadup to November 14. Of her husband, Camilla has said in the past that he is a “workaholic” and “not one for chilling”: “He never, ever stops working,” she said, per The Sun. “He’s exhausting. No matter what the day, he is always working. I am hopping up and down and saying, ‘Darling, do you think we could have a bit of, you know, peace and quiet, enjoy ourselves together?’ But he always has to finish something. He is so in the zone…you are outside…but he is always there in the zone, working, working, working…he’ll stick with his papers, I know he will, while I am trying to sing ‘Happy Birthday.’ I might just even have to hold up a sign saying, ‘Happy birthday, darling.’”

Closeup of King Charles

(Image credit: Getty)

One gift Charles does want for his big day? For the Sussex family of four to join him for his birthday celebrations, however low-key they may be. His son Prince Harry attended his Coronation in May, but daughter-in-law Meghan Markle and grandchildren Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet did not attend and stayed behind at their home base in California. (May 6, the date of the Coronation, was also Archie’s fourth birthday.) “The whole thing with Harry is just desperately sad,” a friend of the King’s said, per OK. “And [Charles] is also very saddened by the estrangement from the children. But at least Harry attending the Coronation is a chink of light. The door has not been totally slammed shut.” Of the Coronation, “The King is happy that Harry, his son, who he calls his 'darling boy,' will be at the Abbey. He wanted him there. It is sad. He is very disappointed that he won’t see Meghan or his grandchildren but understands the situation.”

As for the Duke of Sussex, “Harry made the only decision he could, given the circumstances,” royal expert Christopher Andersen said.

King Charles and Prince Harry look at one another and laugh

(Image credit: Getty)

Since the Coronation, it’s unclear whether Charles and Harry have had much contact. Earlier this year, an off-the-cuff statement by the King gave “an unexpected four-word reply,” The Mirror reports, when asked about his younger son. A well-wisher shouted “Bring back Harry, please. Can you bring him back, please, Sir?” Charles nervously and heartbreakingly replied “It would be nice” before moving on to greet the next well-wisher. Royal expert Richard Palmer, when asked whether he thought the relationship between father and son could be healed, said “I’m sure the King would welcome them back. I mean…he’s quite keen to heal that family rift.”

Maybe that healing can culminate in November at his birthday dinner. What better gift could there be?

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.