Prince Harry Reportedly Declined King Charles' Offer to Stay in a Royal Residence on U.K. Visit

The plot thickens.

Britain's King Charles III and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex walk behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince Harry reportedly could have stayed in a royal residence on his U.K. visit last week, but chose to stay in a hotel instead.

Friends of King Charles' told the Sunday Times' royal editor Roya Nikkhah that he had agreed to let the Duke of Sussex stay in an unspecified royal home, after the latter requested to. But despite his request being accommodated, Harry apparently declined the offer, though it's unclear why.

The King's youngest son made the request following his eviction from his former U.K. home base at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor last year.

Shots of the exterior of Frogmore Cottage

King Charles evicted Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from Frogmore Cottage last year.

(Image credit: Getty)

The duke's brief visit to his home country made waves after it emerged that Charles had declined to meet with him, citing an over-full schedule.

Many royal commentators saw this move on the monarch's part as a deliberate "snub" towards his youngest son, but the matter of the proffered royal residence complicates things further.

A spokesperson for Harry implied in a statement that the duke had wanted to see his father, but that Charles had no time to spare for him.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (wearing a Household Division regimental tie and medals including his Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order cross) attends The Invictus Games Foundation 10th Anniversary Service at St Paul's Cathedral on May 8, 2024 in London, England.

Prince Harry visited the U.K. to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Invictus.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

However, the King's friends who spoke to the Times pointed out that if Harry had stayed in a royal home, it would have been easier for him to see his dad. (Let's note, though, that this would only be true if the home Harry was offered was—if not the exact one Charles was currently in residence at—at the very least a neighboring one. There are many royal residences.)

"It’s all very sad," one source told Nikkhah. "While it is true that the King is understandably wary about meeting with Harry, given the publicity circus that seems to surround all such visits, he did of course agree to see his son at the most vulnerable moment of his illness [in February], and at very short notice."

After the King revealed his cancer diagnosis in February, Harry jumped on a transatlantic plane to see him, though he was only granted a 45-minute audience at the time.

Prince Harry and King Charles in top hats

King Charles and Prince Harry had a brief reunion in February following the King's announcement that he had cancer.

(Image credit: Getty)

"While [Charles] was hardly going to roll out the red carpet the moment this Invictus trip was announced, with doctors advising him to focus on his treatment and recovery, the idea that he refused to find space in his diary … well, let’s say recollections may vary once again," the friend added.

Charles' friends also alleged that Harry had not asked to see the King nor invited him to the ceremony celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Invictus Gamesdespite previous reports that Harry had invited Charles, as well as Prince William and Princess Kate, to the event. These reports also claimed that the King had ordered senior royals to attend his Buckingham Palace garden party instead.

King Charles

King Charles and Queen Camilla hosted Buckingham Palace's first garden party of the year on the same day Prince Harry celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Invictus.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

By contrast, friends of Harry's told the Times that he had requested to see his father long before the visit, and that the King will have been well aware of his arrival, if only given the advance notice Harry needs to provide to ensure he is provided security in the U.K.

"I can’t imagine that request [from Harry to Charles] fell through the gaps," said a friend of the duke's. "Even if they didn’t get a request, which I don’t believe, could His Majesty not have made a request to see his son? It was widely known he was coming."

Another Sussex friend said, "It surprises me a lot. I was fully expecting them to meet. I know that’s what he wanted to happen and I don’t know when he’s next back."

King Charles, Prince Harry walking

The formerly estranged Prince Harry and King Charles appeared to be on a path towards reconciliation since the latter's birthday in November.

(Image credit: Getty)

Many royal fans thought the two men would in fact meet, since they seemed on a path towards reconciliation in recent months.

But given the frosty reception Harry (as well as his wife Meghan Markle) has received on recent visits to the U.K., we could be awaiting his next trip over for a long while.

Meanwhile, the Sussexes appear to have been received with open arms on their trip to Nigeria, where they flew directly after Harry's time in the U.K.

Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.