King Charles Apparently Isn’t Content with Just a “FaceTime Relationship” with His Grandchildren Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet

“He wants to know them and be involved with their lives while they are still young enough to be able to learn from his wisdom.”

King Charles III
(Image credit: Getty)

As anyone who has been through one knows, there’s not much like a health scare—whether it is your own or someone you love—to make one reevaluate one’s life and priorities. That seems to be happening with King Charles in the aftermath of his cancer diagnosis earlier this year, and The Mirror reports that the King has told friends that he’s not happy with only seeing his grandchildren Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet on video calls, and that he wants to be more present in their lives going forward.

For example, as Marie Claire reported on last week, when Lili turned three on June 4, the King reportedly sent along what The Mirror called a “heartfelt gift and card” as sources tell the outlet the King is “keener than ever” to focus on his family and “make up for lost time,” especially in regards to Archie and Lili. 

Princess Lilibet

The King's cancer diagnosis has caused him to be reflective on his life, especially about his relationship with the Sussex children Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, seen here with their parents.

(Image credit: Netflix)

“Those who know the King best say he has been in a reflective mood and considers his close bond with his son [Prince] William’s three children a blessing,” The Mirror reports. Charles is a “fantastic and enthusiastic” grandfather to Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, who William shares with his wife, the Princess of Wales (who, too, is battling cancer). The Daily Beast reports that George, Charlotte, and Louis call the King “Grandpa Wales,” perhaps a nod to not only their surname (as their parents are now the Prince and Princess of Wales), but to Charles’ former title of Prince of Wales, which he held for 64 years before becoming King in 2022—the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history.

Interestingly, despite rumors of discord between Harry and his stepmother, Queen Camilla, The Mirror reports that the Queen “is also understood to be a driving force behind his [the King’s] decision to ramp up efforts to see his other grandchildren.” 

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis

Charles reportedly wants a relationship with the Sussex kids like he has with the Wales trio, who apparently call him "Grandpa Wales."

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“The King is absolutely committed to being present in all of his grandchildren’s lives,” a source said. “He values family above everything, and whatever the course of his relationship with his son, he would never be content with just seeing his grandchildren on the odd video call.”

Royal author Ingrid Seward, who has written a book called My Mother and I: The Inside Story of the King and Our Late Queen about Charles and his relationship with his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth, said that “Family has always been important to the King. He remembers his own somewhat fragmented childhood as his parents were always busy doing their duty. It is a great sadness to him he doesn’t see more of Archie and Lilibet.”

She added “That is why he will never break ties with Harry. He does not want a FaceTime relationship with his son’s children. He wants to know them and be involved with their lives while they are still young enough to be able to learn from his wisdom. His cancer has made it all the more poignant to him, as he knows that he won’t be around forever.”

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watch the racing as they attend 'Ladies Day' of the Betfred Derby Festival 2024 at Epsom Downs Racecourse on May 31, 2024 in Epsom, England.

Queen Camilla is reportedly a driving force behind the King connecting further with Archie and Lili.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Though geographically the King lives an ocean away from the Sussexes—he in the U.K., and they in California—a friend of Harry told The Mirror “There has never been an issue with the King being in their lives, and there never would be. The door’s always open.”

The Daily Beast’s Tom Sykes writes that “cynics might argue that, if the King really wanted to see more of the Sussexes, he wouldn’t have stripped them of their U.K. home” of Frogmore Cottage. Sykes continued that “Prince Harry’s camp have long argued that he [the King] has made it more difficult for Harry to visit the U.K. safely with his family by evicting him from his home on the royal estate, Frogmore Cottage, where Harry’s children’s security would have been assured by being within the royal protection envelope.”

Omid Scobie, in his 2023 book Endgame, said that Harry himself made this exact point to his father, saying to him after Harry and Meghan were told to pack their bags and move out of Frogmore last year, “Don’t you want to see your grandchildren again?” 

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

Harry and Meghan's eviction from Frogmore Cottage last year hasn't helped the situation any as far as the King seeing his grandchildren more frequently.

(Image credit: Getty)

Frogmore, Scobie wrote, was regarded by the Sussexes as the “only true safe option when visiting the United Kingdom,” as the royal estate was guarded around the clock by armed guards. Perhaps at least in part because of this, “Charles is understood to have seen Archie only a handful of times and has only met Lilibet, who was born in America, once,” Sykes wrote.

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.