Prince Harry is Not Expected to Attend King Charles’ Milestone 75th Birthday Party This Month

There is still, unfortunately, “remarkably little contact” between father and son.

King Charles and Prince Harry at a royal engagement
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After attending his father King Charles’ Coronation this past May, Prince Harry is reportedly opting to skip another milestone event in Charles’ life—his 75th birthday party on November 14, where the King will be joined by a small group of close friends and family. Harry—naturally, as the monarch’s son—was invited, but is not expected to attend, multiple outlets report.

Per The Daily Mail, the King’s celebration will be at Clarence House in London, where he has long lived with wife Queen Camilla. “It is in stark contrast to the King’s last major birthday five years ago,” the outlet reports. “Then, Harry and Meghan chose to delay their honeymoon to attend a garden party in honor of his 70th.” 

King Charles and Prince Harry walking together

(Image credit: Getty)

But, in what can only be referred to as a massive understatement, much has changed since November 2018: we probably don’t have to tell you, but Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back as working members of the royal family in January 2020, relocated to the U.S., had two children, appeared in a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, released a docuseries on Netflix, and a memoir by Harry that certainly didn’t do much in the way of mending fences between father and son.

Though he did attend the Coronation—and made it all work despite May 6 also being son Prince Archie’s fourth birthday—Harry reportedly declined his father’s invitation to join him at Balmoral in September, around the time of the one-year anniversary of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s passing on September 8. The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Charles and Harry still “don’t speak much” and that Charles still harbors “disappointment” over Harry’s depiction of Camilla in Spare, his memoir. 

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

(Image credit: Getty)

“What’s the relationship like with his father? It’s still very, very strained, I understand,” royal expert Russell Myers said, per The Daily Express. “He won’t be coming here to celebrate his dad’s 75th birthday in just a matter of days—there’s going to be a party at Clarence House for the King. No doubt we’ll see all the royals gathering there and enjoying the celebrations. Why shouldn’t Harry be there when they are? However, it still needs a bit of cooling of relations, I think.”

As to whether father and son are in touch, “Communications between the King and Prince Harry remain pretty poor,” The Telegraph reports. “They don’t speak much, if at all.” This is apparently because Charles is a “workaholic,” and instead of more frequent communication via text or WhatsApp, he prefers to communicate by telephone, or even letter.

Once again, current relations are a long way from where they once were, when, as The Telegraph’s Camilla Tominey reports, Charles would schedule calls with both of his sons on Sundays. While he still converses weekly with William, there’s “remarkably little contact” with Harry.

Though his relationship with cousins Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie remains solid, his relationship with older brother Prince William, per The Mirror, remains “firmly rooted at rock bottom,” with reconciliation a “long way off.” 

King Charles and Prince Harry at a royal engagement

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Though he likely won’t be physically present, “I absolutely would expect Harry to send something to Charles on his birthday,” former royal butler Grand Harrold said, per The Daily Express. “It’s the right thing for him to do. Whether it is just a birthday card, a nice gift, or even a phone call, I do think Harry will be making the effort to reach out on his father’s birthday. I’d like to think that after everything that has happened, he would do the right thing and make it known he’s thinking of him on his special day. Charles will be missing him deep down. It doesn’t make sense for Harry not to do that. They were so close, and it was lovely to see their relationship back then. Even though they may not be as close as they were, I believe one day they can get back to a good place.”

Harrold worked for Charles and Camilla between 2005 and 2011, and said that, in the royal family, birthdays aren’t a big to do: “Birthdays aren’t a massive thing to be celebrated for the royals,” he said. “He will be happy to be spending it with his family, but it’s not a special occasion. He will still be working.”

King Charles in France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A friend of Charles’ told The Sunday Times that, though relations remain strained, there was no question that the King would invite Harry to his birthday celebrations. “When he [Charles] gets to the end of another successful workday and thinks of his family, there will always be a twinge in his heart about a problem he hasn’t been able to solve yet. But he will be taking the long-term view. The current act is a challenging one. There are issues that aren’t resolved and there won’t be rapprochement any time soon. There is the sense of a cooling off period from the family that is underway after the aftershocks of the book and interviews. But that doesn’t change the King’s love for his son. He’ll never not invite his son to a family gathering, because that’s not who he is.”

We are glad to see, though, that there seems to still be a sliver of hope from some quarters as to the status of Charles and Harry’s relationship. After all, they are father and son, and though “there’s no sign of a rapprochement yet,” The Daily Express reports, “time is a great healer.” 

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.