A Spokesperson for Prince Harry Said Not Only Did Harry Not Decline an Invitation to King Charles’ 75th Birthday Party—He Never Received One in the First Place

“There has been no contact regarding an invitation to His Majesty’s upcoming birthday.”

Prince Harry and King Charles in top hats
(Image credit: Getty)

The transatlantic ping pong match continues, it seems, as Prince Harry’s team is clarifying that not only did Harry not decline an invitation to King Charles’ upcoming milestone 75th birthday party—he was never invited in the first place.

The Sunday Times reported over the weekend that Charles will celebrate his birthday—which is November 14—at his home, Clarence House, but that Harry would “not be making the trip from California,” where he has lived since 2020. But that’s simply not true, a spokesperson for Harry and Meghan Markle said. 

King Charles and Prince Harry look at one another and laugh

(Image credit: Getty)

“In response to U.K. media headlines, there has been no contact regarding an invitation to His Majesty’s upcoming birthday,” the spokesperson said. “It is disappointing The Sunday Times has misreported this story.”

Harry supported his father in May by attending his Coronation, and ahead of the ceremony, a close friend of Harry and Meghan’s told People that the couple had received an email about the historic event from Charles’ team, and not Charles himself, and it became clear that the “sit-down” Harry desired to talk through familial issues wasn’t going to take place. “They didn’t hear from Charles,” the friend said. “Harry wanted to hear from his father directly—it’s always through somebody.” 

Prince Harry and King Charles walking together

(Image credit: Getty)

Harry’s attendance at the Coronation—a visit he made solo, as Meghan stayed behind in California with children Princess Lilibet and Prince Archie, whose fourth birthday was the same day as the Coronation—had to do with his wish to have, as he has said, a “family, not an institution.” The close friend added “This is about a son showing up for his father rather than the optics of the institution.”

Of Harry’s attendance back in May, “I am delighted that Prince Harry was there,” said Colleen Harris, a former press secretary to Charles, Harry, and Prince William. “He would have personally regretted it if he wasn’t there to support his father. Speaking as a mother, [I believe] it was the right thing…and the King [was] delighted.”

Prince Harry kisses King Charles on the cheek

(Image credit: Getty)

It’s unlikely that Harry has seen Charles or William since, despite being in the U.K. on the same day as the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s passing, September 8. Though Harry was in Windsor, the King and Queen Camilla were still at Balmoral in Scotland, and the Prince and Princess of Wales marked the occasion in Wales.

It is understood that Charles’ birthday party will be “an intimate gathering of family and close friends,” The Sun reports. Per The Mirror, “Harry and Meghan were never made aware of the birthday party to begin with,” the outlet writes. “According to them, the pair found out through media reports.” This lack of communication is “an abnormality as, typically, they would at least be included in the plans despite their rift with the family,” it continues. 

King Charles, Prince Harry walking

(Image credit: Getty)

“In this case, they aren’t, and that’s okay,” a source speaking to The Daily Mail said. “I’m sure the Duke will find a way to reach out privately to wish His Majesty a happy birthday like he has always done. The story in The Times as well as subsequent stories have been positioned in a way to make it look like the Duke is snubbing his father, which he is not.”

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.