It Makes Sense Why Prince Harry Only Got About 30 Minutes of King Charles’ Time Upon His Return to the U.K.

Harry caught the earliest flight he could to visit his father, who is undergoing treatment for an undisclosed type of cancer.

Prince Charles and Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty)

Upon news breaking globally on Monday that his father, King Charles, had been diagnosed with cancer following a corrective procedure for a benign enlarged prostate, Prince Harry nearly immediately boarded a plane from LAX to London’s Heathrow, touching down on Tuesday and, ultimately, spending just 25 hours in his home country before departing for California and home. Enmeshed in those 25 hours was just 30 minutes with his father, who reports say delayed a planned helicopter flight from his London home, Clarence House, to Sandringham to see his younger son.

Prince Harry and King Charles walking together

Prince Harry got on the earliest flight he could following King Charles' cancer diagnosis, experts say

(Image credit: Getty)

“Charles always keeps a tight schedule and had a planned itinerary to leave London to rest and recuperate in Norfolk,” a source told The Sun. “He is very fastidious about timekeeping, but it was significant that he delayed the flight to Sandringham when he knew Harry was visiting.”

Why such a short visit? Well, the reason makes sense: The Times of London reported that the meeting was kept so brief because Charles was tired from his outpatient cancer treatment that took place on Monday, the day prior to their meetup on Tuesday. 

Prince Harry and King Charles in top hats

Though there has been some father-son estrangement over the years, the two both love one another very much

(Image credit: Getty)

The King is expected to continue his cancer treatment at Sandringham, The Mirror reports. Roya Nikkhah, The Sunday Times’ royal editor, told Good Morning Britain that Harry would have liked to have spent longer with his father: “The briefing that came out after their meeting was very interesting,” she said. “‘The King was very tired after his procedure he’d had the day before.’ So we know he started his treatment on Monday. We understand he had a procedure then for his cancer and the briefing was he felt quite tired. I’m sure Harry would have loved to have spent much more time with him, but he’s quite respectful of his dad going through this treatment.”

Tired though he may be, The Times of London reports that Charles and Camilla are “coping magnificently,” adding “If you didn’t know what was the matter, you wouldn’t have any idea that he had any condition at all.” 

King Charles

Buckingham Palace announced King Charles' diagnosis of cancer on Monday, though the Palace did not disclose the type or stage

(Image credit: Getty)

The Sun reports that the King is “doing very well” and “entirely his normal self,” and quotes a friend of Charles’ as saying, “If you didn’t know there was anything wrong with him, you wouldn’t know.”

A Palace source said the King was “on his usual good form” and “just a little frustrated that his condition has affected not just his own plans but impacted on others’.”

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.