If Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Were to Ever Return as Working Royals, They’d Have to Get Prince William’s Blessing First, Former Royal Butler Says

King Charles seems to be on board with a Sussex return, but William? That’ll be a harder sell.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty)

The working core of royals was already slimmed-down, per King Charles’ request, before health scares plagued the family, from the King’s cancer diagnosis to the Princess of Wales’ abdominal surgery, and the Prince of Wales’ decision to temporarily step back to take care of his wife and their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. With Queen Camilla on holiday this week—a much deserved one, at that—the slimmed-down monarchy that we already knew was razor thin seems even more perilously so.

Prince Harry

Prince Harry would need older brother Prince William's blessing to stand a fighting chance of returning as a working royal, a former royal butler says

(Image credit: Getty)

After Prince Harry’s short but apparently meaningful visit to the U.K. to visit his father last month after his cancer diagnosis was made public, buzz began circulating that Harry could return in a temporary, part-time capacity as a working royal, four years after stepping back from that role in January 2020 alongside wife Meghan Markle. Since those initial reports came out Harry’s return has been branded impossible, and, according to The Mirror, there’s only one person that could make it happen (outside of the King himself): Harry’s older brother Prince William, from whom Harry has been estranged for years.

Prince William, Prince Harry

The brothers have been at odds for years, and Prince Harry's tell-all "Spare" didn't help mend fences between the two

(Image credit: Getty)

Former royal butler Grant Harrold—who worked for King Charles, then the Prince of Wales, for seven years—said that both Harry and Meghan could be welcomed back into the royal fold, but that it would be dependent on mending fences with William. Harrold told The New York Post that a Sussex return “is possible,” and that William and Harry’s contentious relationship is not “too far gone” to be salvaged.

“He [Harry] could have a discussion with his brother about resuming royal duties, but obviously there is so much that has happened over the last couple of years and that needs to be sorted out before the Sussexes made a permanent return,” Harrold said.

King Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry

King Charles is reportedly okay with Prince Harry's return, but Prince William will be tougher to convince

(Image credit: Getty)

William and Harry have been at odds for over five years now, with much of their fractured relationship playing out on the pages of Harry’s memoir, Spare, released in January 2023. In particular, Harry accused William of calling Meghan “difficult,” “rude,’ and “abrasive,” and alleged that William “grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor” during an explosive fight.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Canada

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, seen here in Canada last month, haven't worked for the royal family in four years, since moving to the U.S. in early 2020

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Harrold reminisced about how close the brothers were when he was under the royal family’s employ, and, though Meghan has rarely returned to the U.K. since the January 2020 step back, Harrold believes Meghan will want to “show her support” for Harry’s family in light of Charles’ cancer diagnosis. Harrold suggested that Harry, Meghan, and their two children Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet might return to Harry’s native U.K. as early as 2024.

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.