Both Queen Camilla and Prince William Reportedly Played Into King Charles’ Decision to Decline a Meeting with Prince Harry in London

Royal expert Charlotte Griffiths said Harry also made “certain demands” during “difficult” negotiations surrounding the meeting that couldn’t be met.

Queen Camilla and Prince William
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Much ado has been made about King Charles’ decision to decline a meeting with Prince Harry while his younger son is in London for the 10-year anniversary celebration of the Invictus Games, which were founded in 2014. Instead of attending the Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the King was a few miles away at a garden party, as royal experts say that, had he really wanted to, Charles could have made his busy schedule work to fit in time with Harry.

Prince Harry

Harry, as seen at St. Paul's Cathedral tonight, is in London for a Service of Thanksgiving celebrating a decade of the Invictus Games.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As with anything, it’s more complicated than it seems, apparently. Marie Claire previously reported that the last time Harry was in the U.K.—back in February, when he flew to London to see his father within hours of the King announcing he had been diagnosed with cancer on February 5—it was Queen Camilla, Harry’s stepmother, who kept the visit so short while at Clarence House. Despite flying approximately 11,000 miles roundtrip from Los Angeles to London and back, Harry only spent about 30 minutes with his father at Charles and Camilla’s home in London, as Charles had just started cancer treatment the day before.

King Charles

Camilla was, as ever, by her husband's side on April 30 as he made his return to public-facing duties after announcing his cancer diagnosis in February.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Queen was with the King,” royal biographer Robert Jobson said, per The Sun. “Let’s be honest—he [Harry] wasn’t too complimentary about Queen Camilla in his book, Spare. He wasn’t very complimentary about her on Netflix [in his Harry & Meghan docuseries]. They don’t get on.” Jobson added, “Second, there’s not been a lot of contact. That brings its own level of complexity and drama which he [the King] doesn’t need at the moment.” The King “gave him [Harry] long enough for a kiss and a hug and wished him all the best,” Jobson said.

This week marks Harry’s first time back in the U.K. since that quick trip in early February, and royal expert Charlotte Griffiths said on GB News that Charles’ refusal to meet up with Harry was decided after Harry apparently made “certain demands” that couldn’t be met, The Mirror reports. These “difficult” negotiations seem to surround who could be in the room for the father and son meeting—namely Camilla, who Charles wanted in the room but Harry did not. “We know that Charles likes to meet Harry with Camilla in the room, which isn’t always a popular decision,” Griffiths said. “Harry was without his wife as well, so this was fraught with difficulty.” (Meghan Markle isn’t in the U.K. with Harry, but will meet up with him in Nigeria later on.) 

Prince Harry

Meghan didn't accompany Harry on this U.K. trip, so he arrived at St. Paul's solo.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Griffiths also suggested on GB News that “other forces” may have driven Charles’ decision about meeting up with Harry, including—you guessed it—Prince William. “William may have had a thought about how this meeting should be conducted or whether it should be conducted at all,” she said.

A source told Russell Myers, royal editor of The Mirror, that when it comes to William and Harry, “Their relationship remains extremely fractured,” they said. “Harry has privately expressed a wish to sit down with his brother, but now is not the time.” It should be noted that this is Harry’s first visit back to his home country since his sister-in-law, the Princess of Wales, announced publicly on March 22 that she too had been diagnosed with cancer; there are apparently no plans for the two, once so close, to meet. 

Editorial Images The Patron's Lunch To Celebrate The Queen's 90th Birthday

Harry was once close to both William and Kate.

(Image credit: Photo by Jeff Spicer / Getty)

Earlier today, Harry was leaving an event in Central London and was headed for his car when a waiting cameraman asked him “Are you happy to be home?” Because of all of the above and so much more, it was about as loaded a question as it gets, and Harry’s response is telling: per The Daily Express, he laughed and quickly replied “Nice to see you” before hopping into the back of his black Range Rover.

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.