Impossibly, Relations Between Prince Harry and Both King Charles and Prince William Appear Even Worse Than Before

The military uniform debacle, the forthcoming book, skipping Christmas—all play into delaying reconciliation.

King Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty)

Grief is terrible but often a way to unite a family, and royal followers around the world hoped—despite it being through the most tragic of circumstances—that Her late Majesty’s death in September would bring the royal family closer together than ever, specifically mending fences between Prince Harry and his father, King Charles, and brother, Prince William. But unfortunately, tensions seem to somehow be higher than ever.

In regards to Harry and Charles’ relationship, the new king “caused a lot of damage” by not allowing Harry to wear his military uniform to the Queen’s funeral, Us Weekly reports, harming their rocky relationship even more, a royal expert says.

“I think that [reconciliation] might have been the intention, but the king’s decision to initially not permit Harry to wear his uniform and during this funeral [and the] fact that, at times, it seemed as if Harry and Meghan were being shoved in the background and even shunned—that did a lot of damage, I think,” says royal author Christopher Andersen. “So, I have to wait and see where they go with this.”

The ever-present, looming fear of the contents of Spare—Harry’s memoir, set for release on January 10, 2023—isn’t helping, Andersen adds. “There could only be bombshells in that book,” he says. “There’s no way to avoid the fact that it’s going to rub the king the wrong way.” Andersen says that Harry and wife Meghan Markle “want to tell the full and true story” of life inside the royal family, but “it’s not necessarily a pretty one.”

When Harry and Meghan stepped back as working members of the royal family in January 2020, Harry lost his royal patronages and his honorary military titles. Because of this—and despite having served 10 years in the British Army—Harry is no longer permitted to be in uniform for royal events ranging from Trooping the Colour to the Queen’s funeral. (The same holds true for Harry’s uncle, Prince Andrew, who was stripped of his own royal titles this past January amidst accusations of sexual assault.) That said, Andrew was allowed to wear his military uniform to Her late Majesty’s final vigil “as a special mark of respect,” Us Weekly reports, and, at the last minute, “in a dramatic U-turn, Palace officials have informed Prince Harry that he can wear his military uniform at a final vigil,” royal expert Omid Scobie wrote on Twitter on September 15, per Us Weekly. “On Saturday evening, Harry will join seven other grandchildren at Westminster Hall to stand in silence for 15 minutes by the Queen’s coffin.” Despite Harry and Andrew being permitted to be in uniform for the two respective vigils, neither were allowed to be in uniform for the Queen’s state funeral on September 19, and the uniform debacle did nothing to soothe relations between father and son.

Andersen says Charles remains hopeful that Harry will one day be back on good terms with the royal family, adding “Charles would like everybody to be there and doing their job, and it’s in his interest to get Harry back into the fold. I’m not so sure William is that interested. I think he’s got much more of a grudge against Harry at this time.”

The Sun reports that the brothers have barely spoken after news of Harry’s upcoming tell-all broke, despite thrilling royal followers who wish for a reconciliation when William and wife Kate and Harry and wife Meghan took part in a joint walkabout outside Windsor Castle two days after Her late Majesty’s death. “It is said that [William] and the rest of the royal family will find out the details of Harry’s book the same day the public does,” The Sun reports.

Royal expert Angela Levin says the Palace are on “tenterhooks” waiting for January 10, telling The Sun “they have lawyers ready to read it, but they won’t see it until it’s out. If it’s too bland, it won’t be worth the millions they’ve already paid him.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, in light of continually strained relations, Harry and Meghan have opted to skip out on the royal family Christmas festivities at Sandringham this year, Marie Claire reported yesterday. 

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.