Prince Charles is “Completely Bewildered” by Prince Harry, Friend Says

The two had apparently been working towards a reconciliation.

Prince Charles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince Charles is currently visiting his mother the Queen at her summer retreat, Balmoral, in Scotland. This morning, according to The Daily Mail, he was seen heading to church alone as he is reportedly hurt by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s “painful” jibes towards the royal family, and that he is “completely bewildered” by the couple’s behavior after strides had been made at reconciliation recently.

Charles was in the press this week as part of daughter-in-law Meghan’s The Cut cover story, where, in part of the article, she said Harry had “lost” his father when the couple left the U.K. for a new life in the U.S. in 2020. (In an attempt to be fair and balanced, we’d also like to throw in here that, in the words of The Daily Mail, “sources close to the couple say this wasn’t a reference to Prince Charles, but her estrangement with her own father.”)

“Those who know the Prince of Wales say he has been wounded by the words and actions of his son and daughter-in-law, who have repeatedly criticized the royal family,” The Daily Mail writes. “Sources say [Charles] ‘loves and misses’ Harry, Meghan, and his grandchildren, Archie and Lilibet, and feels particularly hurt after spending time with them during the Platinum Jubilee in June. Charles is thought to have seen their time together as a ‘minor act of reparation’ after the Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, which saw Harry say he felt ‘really let down’ by his father.”

A friend of Charles told The Sunday Times that the Prince of Wales continues to be hurt by the digs at not just the royal family, but at himself, personally.

“For two years, there has been a steady stream of really challenging things said about a man who cannot [publicly] defend himself by a couple he obviously loves and misses,” the friend says, citing the royal family’s long-held “never complain, never explain” mantra. “That is incredibly difficult on a personal level. He is completely bewildered by why his son, whom he loves deeply, feels this is the way to go about managing family relationships.”

For his part, reports The Daily Mail, Harry’s older brother Prince William is less concerned about Harry and Meghan than his father Charles, and William is “not really spending much time thinking about it,” a source says.

As Marie Claire has previously reported, Harry and Meghan are in the U.K. this week, and are unlikely to see William and wife Kate Middleton, even though the couples will be staying just minutes apart from one another on the grounds of the Queen’s Windsor estate. (“Trust, particularly at the moment, is a big issue,” a source tells The Daily Mail.) As both the Queen and Charles are currently in Scotland, it is unlikely the Sussexes will see either of them, as well. 

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.