King Charles is “Absolutely Devastated” by Fallout with Prince Harry

“It’s understood that Charles remains optimistic that their relationship can be improved.”

King Charles and Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty)

Not so long ago, it would have been a given that Prince Harry would attend the coronation of his father, King Charles. Now? Who knows if Harry will attend the event, scheduled for Saturday, May 6, 2023, at Westminster Abbey in London.

We don’t have to tell you that tensions have run high between father and son for years, leading in no small part to Harry’s decision to step back as a working member of the royal family in January 2020, and, along with wife Meghan Markle, eventually move an ocean away to California. The Mirror reports that Charles is “absolutely devastated” by what has happened with his relationship with his younger son, and that he wants to reconcile with him and hopes they can mend their differences going forward.

“He [Charles] is hopeful that there will be a reconciliation,” says royal expert Katie Nicholl. “I think we saw that in the very public olive branches that were extended to Harry and Meghan [since the Queen’s death last month].”

Charles mentioned his love for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex specifically in his first speech as king, and Harry was also permitted to wear his military uniform as he stood vigil at his grandmother’s coffin at Westminster Hall, though as a non-working member of the royal family he would normally not have been allowed to do so.

“Charles absolutely has been devastated by what has happened,” Nicholl says. “If you think back just a couple of years around the time of the wedding, the relationship between Harry and his father was, I think, probably better than it ever had been.”

Even after his step back as a working member of the royal family, Harry publicly called out his father in a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey the next year, saying his father had stopped taking his phone calls and that he had been cut off financially. Harry’s forthcoming book with Penguin Random House and his upcoming docuseries with Netflix might also take aim at Charles—the contents of both projects are almost completely unknown.

Yet, The Mirror reports, “it’s evident that King Charles wants to reconcile his relationship with Harry and is hopeful they can do so,” adding “it’s understood that Charles remains optimistic that their relationship can be improved.” 

Rachel Burchfield
Contributing Royal Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.