Prince Harry Made the Effort to See Older Brother Prince William While in the U.K. Last Month, But William Apparently Wasn’t Interested

“It isn’t normal. It’s terribly sad.”

Prince William Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As soon as he could, Prince Harry hopped on a plane and flew from his home in California to London after hearing that his father, King Charles, had been diagnosed with cancer. (The King personally called both of his sons, Harry and older brother Prince William, to tell them the news.) The news broke publicly on Monday, February 5, the same day that the King began treatment; Harry was on a plane by the end of the day, arriving in the U.K. on Tuesday, February 6.

People reports that, ahead of his visit to his home country, Harry reached out to William, but the two brothers didn’t see each other while Harry was there. This “lack of interaction” further “highlights the hurt between the brothers,” the outlet reports. All told, Harry only saw his father for about 30 minutes at the King’s London residence, Clarence House. Queen Camilla was also present for the short visit, and Harry was only in the U.K. for about 24 hours before flying back to the United States. 

Prince William and Prince Harry

Harry reportedly attempted to spend time with William when he was in the U.K. in February, but William had other priorities

(Image credit: Getty)

At the time of Harry’s visit roughly a month ago, a Palace source said that there were “no plans” for the brothers to spend any time together when Harry was in the U.K., and a former courtier suggested that William’s “principal concern is his wife,” the Princess of Wales, amidst her own health issues.

“It would be the normal run of things to go and see your sister-in-law, who’s had a serious operation, and also see your niece and nephews,” a source close to the royal household told People. “But it isn’t normal. It’s terribly sad.” 

Prince William, Prince Harry

There was once a time when the brothers were close, but that hasn't been the case for years

(Image credit: Getty)

Added Catherine Mayer, author of the biography Charles: The Heart of a King, “The family torment is an open sore,” she said. “There is such a profound breach there.” The breach, in particular, concerns Harry’s memoir, Spare, released last year, and his eponymous six-part Netflix docuseries alongside wife Meghan Markle from 2022.

In particular, Camilla being present for the meeting between father and son “is all to do with William’s wish to protect the institution of the monarchy, which he feels Harry can’t be trusted with,” royal author Robert Lacey said. “I don’t think William will ever agree to readmission of Harry into the family unless he clearly apologizes and moves forward.”

Harry could potentially have another opportunity to reconnect with the royal family in May, when he’s due to visit the U.K. for the tenth anniversary of his Invictus Games, founded in 2014. That said, “a reconciliation with his brother is unlikely, and it’s even more doubtful that King Charles will mediate any healing between his sons,” People writes. 

King Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry

It is unlikely that the King will mediate the relationship between his sons

(Image credit: Getty)

“Of course, he would like Harry to be the prodigal son and come back and would be much happier if William and Harry were friends again,” said royal biographer Ingrid Seward. “But he realizes that is just not about to happen.”

A Palace source added that “Families are complicated. They may be a high-profile family, but they still have a lot of the same issues as everyone else.”

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.