King Charles is Still “Subtly Punishing” Prince Harry for ‘Spare,’ Royal Author Says

Duncan Larcombe said Harry is having to “jump through hoops” to talk to his father.

King Charles and Prince Harry at a royal engagement
(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to a royal author, King Charles is still “subtly punishing” his younger son, Prince Harry, for remarks that he’s made in interviews since stepping back as a working member of the royal family in 2020 and, most especially, Spare, his bombshell memoir released in January. (Harry & Meghan, his and wife Meghan Markle’s Netflix docuseries, is not as explosive, but still likely not the King’s favorite series to binge.)

Royal author Duncan Larcombe told The Sun that, while Charles is open to a reconciliation with Harry (always good to hear), he is still unimpressed by the “betrayal” he felt. In response, Charles will apparently now only communicate with Harry via Palace advisors, specifically after Harry “snubbed” an offer to stay with the King at Balmoral last month around the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death on September 8. 

King Charles and Prince Harry walking together

(Image credit: Getty)

“It appears that King Charles’ approach towards Harry now is business as usual—‘If you want to see me you need to make an appointment,’” Larcombe said, teasing that Prince Harry will have to “jump through hoops” to talk to his father.

“It’s very standoffish but I think that’s a way that the King is subtly punishing his son,” he said. Larcombe specifically pointed to the way Charles’ wife, Queen Camilla, was portrayed in Spare as something that was upsetting to the King, saying that Harry made “some deeply hurtful” remarks about Camilla. He added that it’s “remarkable” that Charles is still open to a relationship with Harry at all. 

King Charles and Prince Harry walking in the Queen's funeral procession

(Image credit: Getty)

After ascending to the throne, Charles expressed his love for Harry and Meghan, which was an “olive branch,” Larcombe said; but then, after Spare and the like, Harry “took [it], snapped in half, and then hit him with it,” he said.

Larcombe did add, though, that even if Harry has to go through the rigamarole to talk to his father, at least the King is keeping “those channels of communication open.”

“The Harry issue doesn’t have to be sorted out immediately, but it will be sorted out eventually,” a source told The Daily Beast. “Charles loves Harry, but his priority is to fulfill his duty as King and not let his mother down. That means constitutional considerations have to come first.” 

Prince Harry kisses King Charles on the cheek

(Image credit: Getty)

A former royal staffer said that the issue with Harry, if left unresolved, could affect Charles’ view as King negatively: “It’s not sustainable for the King, who is the national symbol of unity, to be on such bad terms with his son that they haven’t been pictured together in years,” they said. “Ultimately, Charles has not just a personal but also a strategic need to resolve the issue.”

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.