Prince Harry’s Spokesperson Confirms That King Charles Is Too Busy To See His Son While Harry Is In the U.K. This Week

“It, unfortunately, will not be possible due to His Majesty’s full program.”

Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite hopes to the contrary, it appears that Prince Harry won’t have the chance to meet up with his father, King Charles, while he is in the U.K. this week for the 10-year anniversary celebrations of the Invictus Games, a spokesperson for Harry has confirmed.

Prince Harry

Following Prince Archie's fifth birthday yesterday, Harry was undertaking engagements today in the U.K. on behalf of the Invictus Games.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Harry is in London currently ahead of the Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral tomorrow, May 8, where he is due to give a reading. Harry had made no secret about his hopes to visit his father during this trip to his native country, but according to The Telegraph, “In response to the many inquiries and continued speculation on whether or not the Duke will meet with his father while in the U.K. this week it, unfortunately, will not be possible due to His Majesty’s full program.”

After revealing his cancer diagnosis on February 5, the King returned to public-facing duties just last week, on April 30. To this end, Harry’s spokesperson added “The Duke, of course, is understanding of his father’s diary of commitments and various other priorities and hopes to see him soon.”

Prince Harry

Harry, seen here speaking at an engagement today, will give a reading at the Service of Thanksgiving tomorrow at St. Paul's Cathedral celebrating 10 years of the Games.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince Harry

The Games are arguably the passion project of Harry's life and were founded in 2014, with the first Games taking place in London.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tatler reports that among said commitments are the King’s weekly audience with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tomorrow, and the outlet said the monarch might attend the first Buckingham Palace garden party of the season. The Telegraph reports that Charles also has a number of other appointments and engagements scheduled for the rest of the week.

Regardless of Charles’ busy schedule, this has to be no doubt disappointing for Harry, who is in the U.K. so infrequently. His last visit was back in February, after hopping on a transatlantic flight within hours of the King’s cancer diagnosis being made public; father and son were said to have only had about 30 minutes together during that visit. As far back as his infamous Oprah Winfrey interview in 2021, Harry said “I will always love [Charles]. There’s a lot of hurt that’s happened. I will continue to make it one of my priorities to heal that relationship.”

While relations have defrosted since that interview over three years ago, familial tensions remain, specifically between Harry and his older brother, Prince William. The brothers aren’t expected to see one another during this visit, either, nor is Harry expected to see the Princess of Wales, who announced her own diagnosis of cancer since Harry’s last trip to the U.K.

Prince Harry, Prince William, King Charles

Harry isn't expected to see either his father, Charles, or his brother, William, during this visit.

(Image credit: Getty)

Of Charles and Harry, Hello’s royal editor Emily Nash said “To an outsider it may seem odd that they can’t make time for a meeting, but the King is Head of State and has his diary planned months in advance—so it wasn’t a given that it would happen, with Harry only here for a couple of days,” she said. “It will inevitably lead to speculation over the state of their relationship, which has come under pressure over the past few years.”

Royal expert Richard Palmer said, per The Daily Mail, “It’s surprising if the King and Harry are not meeting at all, and perhaps a sign of how much bridge-building still needs to be done,” he said. “There’s been much media speculation that father and son would meet. While that always looked like guessing, I’d have guessed they would meet, too.” 

Prince Harry

Harry with Sir Keith Mills at an engagement today.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Harry’s wife Meghan Markle is not in the U.K. with him, but later this week he will travel to Nigeria, where he will meet up with her for a short tour of the country. The trip is associated with the Invictus Games, which many would call the passion project of Harry’s life. Nigeria sent its first team to the Games last year, during the 2023 Games in Dusseldorf last September.

Harry is today carrying out engagements related to the Games ahead of tomorrow’s celebration. In a foreword for the celebrations, Harry wrote “It has been an honor to watch the Invictus Games Foundation grow over the years; what began as a vision to pay tribute to the courage and resilience of wounded, injured, and sick service personnel and veterans has flourished into an international organization built on hope, strength, and unity.”

Prince Harry Meghan Markle

After spending time in the U.K. this week, Harry will meet up with Meghan for a short tour of Nigeria.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Of the future of the Games, Harry said while in the U.K., per People, “Look, I’ve said this over and over again over the years, every time I’ve been asked a similar question, which is, ‘How long does Invictus go on for?’” he said. “And the answer to that is, for as long as it’s serving a purpose. I would love more than anything—and there will be people in this room who go, ‘What is he saying?’—but I would love more than anything to put this in a box, put it on a shelf, and to let that box be covered in dust because we don’t need it anymore. But as we in this room probably understand more so than most, that’s just simply not the case.”

He added “I’m a big fan of trying to solve the root cause of a problem, and the root cause of the problem is conflict. I can’t fix that. So we will always be here to be able to spread the message, tell the stories, change the perspectives and to help as many people as humanly possible because Invictus transcends borders, it transcends politics. It is what it is. There is this magic within this community that exists.”

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.