There’s a Way for King Charles to “Bring His Family Back Together Again”—But It Might Cause Controversy

He will have to make a decision relatively soon on the matter.

King Charles
(Image credit: Getty)

Tensions seem to be simmering—but not necessarily resolving—between father and son, King Charles and Prince Harry. The Mirror reports that the King could reunite his family with one pivotal, important gesture towards Harry—although whether he will actually do so remains to be seen.

If Charles wants to “bring his family back together again,” public relations expert Jerome Cleary said, he could give Harry a residence in the U.K., which would allow Harry to hold onto what The Mirror calls “a vital royal role”: that of Counsellor of State, meaning if Charles is ever ill or out of the country, Harry could be summoned to take on royal duties in his place. Harry is one of seven Counsellors of State, which also include his brother Prince William, Queen Camilla, Prince Edward, Princess Anne, Princess Beatrice, and Prince Andrew, though, as non-working royals, Harry and Andrew would be called less often. The group of Counsellors of State is made up of the spouse of the monarch (Camilla) and the next four royals in the line of succession over the age of 21 (so William, Harry, Andrew, and Beatrice; Edward and Anne were added because Harry and Andrew are no longer working royals). 

King Charles and Prince Harry at a royal engagement

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Counsellors of State are required by law to have a home in Britain, which is an issue in Harry’s case, as he and his family left their U.K. home of Frogmore Cottage earlier this summer. (We don’t need to tell you this, but Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince Archie, and Princess Lilibet make their home in the U.S. now.)

After years of turbulence, “The King realizes he could bring the family back together again,” said Cleary. “With that, I do believe the King should allow Harry a place to live in Britain and keep him as Counsellor of State.”

Prince Harry kisses King Charles on the cheek

(Image credit: Getty)

While the inevitable debate will likely erupt if Harry is given a U.K. residence, Cleary feels that the reaction from royal followers will be a “mixed bag,” adding “Half the fans would believe that the King could bring the family back together again with this decision,” he said. If the King opts to not grant Harry a residence in his home country, he might be perceived as “shunning” his younger son or “breaking a part of the family.”

Last week, The Sunday Times reported that Harry could, in fact, be granted a home base in England because of his role as Counsellor of State. “The King can see that to remove Harry as a Counsellor of State would be seen as an act of antagonism, and he does not want to do that,” a friend of the King’s said. “If, as a consequence of that, somewhere on the royal estate needs to be earmarked as a pied-á-terre for his son, that seems a reasonable thing to do.”

Buckingham Palace quickly refuted the idea, saying “these claims are not true,” but not elaborating further.

King Charles and Prince Harry walking together

(Image credit: Getty)

If nothing else, keeping Harry in the Counsellor of State role would “show a united front,” said Liv Arnold of Public Status PR, and “it’ll give the public less to gossip about.”

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.