Prince Harry and King Charles met for the last time in May when the Duke was invited to his father’s coronation at Westminster Abbey. Beforehand, the talk of the town consisted of different reports on whether he would be invited or not, and once it was confirmed, speculation on what he’d say, sit, and do was dominating the media frenzy surrounding the coronation.
Everything seems to stem from what Harry has said in interviews and his book, Spare, about his family – and most notably what he’s said about William and his stepmother, Queen Camilla.
Royal experts painted a picture of Harry and Camilla not getting along initially and that they, to this day, still aren’t on the best of terms.
In her book The Palace Papers, royal author Tina Brown wrote that Harry “unnerved” Camilla.
“When the younger boy was eventually prevailed upon to be in the presence of Mrs Parker Bowles, he unnerved her with long silences and smouldering, resentful stares,” she quoted a courtier saying.
Moreover – when it was announced that Camilla was to become Queen Consort – Tina Brown claimed that Harry wouldn’t accept it.
“William has accepted Camilla in terms of what she means to his father. He’s been grown-up about it. ‘My father loves this woman, I can’t fight it, so I won’t,’” she added.
“Harry, on the other hand, can’t stand Camilla, he doesn’t want Camilla to be Queen, he’s very angry that it’s happening. He has not made his peace with it, and he probably never will.”
Harry and Camilla’s relationship has undoubtedly had its ups and downs. In 2005, when he turned 21, he said that he and his brother William “loved her to bits” and thanked her for making his father, King Charles, very happy.
At the same time, however, tensions between them have continuously resided. As a friend of the brothers once said, they have never been incredibly close to her.
When Harry and Meghan left the UK, relationships between them and the Royal Family became strained. Camilla, of course, is among those who have reason to have disliked the couple’s candid approach – some worried that Harry would drop bombshells about her in his tell-all book Spare. That turned out to be the case.
Harry claimed Camilla was “dangerous.”
Before Harry’s book was released, he did interviews where he spoke about several subjects, including how angry he’s been over the treatment Meghan received, as well as the death of his mother.
During an interview with 60 Minutes, Harry continued to take swings at the Royal Family. Queen Camilla came under heavy fire.
Harry accused Camilla of leaking stories about the family to the British press, which he claimed was a part of her campaign to “rehabilitate her image.”
Moreover, Harry revealed that he and his brother, Prince William, had asked their father, King Charles, not to marry Camilla. However, in the end, they changed their minds.
“We didn’t think it was necessary, we thought that it was gonna cause more harm than good and that if he was now with his person. That – surely that’s enough,” Harry told 60 Minutes. “We wanted him to be happy. And we saw how happy he was with her.”
Harry added that Camilla was “dangerous” as she had been cast as a “villain” by the British media because she had a part in Charles and Diana’s collapsed marriage.
“That made her dangerous because of the connections that she was forging within the British press. And there was open willingness on both sides to trade of information. And with a family built on hierarchy, and with her, on the way to being Queen Consort, there was gonna be people or bodies left in the street because of that,” Harry said.
“If you are led to believe, as a member of the family, that being on the front page, having positive headlines, positive stories written about you, is going to improve your reputation or increase the chances of you being accepted as monarch by the British public, then that’s what you’re gonna do.”
“I don’t look at her as an evil stepmother”
In another interview with Good Morning America, Harry said he hasn’t spoken with his stepmother in a long time.
“I love every member of my family, despite the differences, so when I see her, we’re perfectly pleasant with each other,” he said.
“She’s my stepmother. I don’t look at her as an evil stepmother. I see someone who married into this institution and has done everything that she can to improve her own reputation and her own image, for her own sake.”
King Charles was reportedly deeply hurt and furious about what his son said about Camilla. What would happen after the book was released, no one knew, but it’s been very clear from Buckingham Palace that the royals wouldn’t be commenting on the allegations at all.
Prince Harry’s participation in the coronation was widely discussed for many months. Ultimately, he made it across the pond to attend his father’s big day, even if he had to accept a relatively minor role in the proceedings.
Meanwhile, Meghan Markle, also officially invited, decided to stay in the US with the couple’s two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, as Prince Archie celebrated his birthday the same day.
According to BBC, Harry was never invited to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony following the Westminster Abbey ceremony.
Harry and Meghan reportedly had several demands if they were to attend the coronation, including an acknowledgment of Archie’s birthday on May 6 and joining the most senior royals on the Buckingham Palace Balcony.
Ultimately, Harry had to settle with only being part of the coronation as a guest and not having an official role like during the Queen’s State Funeral when he walked in procession.
Harry’s attendance at the coronation marked his first public appearance since the release of his explosive tell-all memoir, Spare, in January. He arrived in the UK on Friday but reportedly didn’t want to stay longer than necessary.
According to the PA News agency, Harry got in a car outside Westminster Abbey immediately after the coronation service. He then boarded a British Airways flight and was back in Los Angeles at 19:30 local time on Saturday.
A source had told Page Six that Harry intended to make “every effort to get back in time for Archie’s birthday.”
CNN royal historian Kate Williams previously said that Harry’s appearance at the coronation would be a “flying visit.”
“[Prince Harry] is coming for this major event of his father’s coronation but it’s not going to be a family reunion. We’re not going to see lots of big family meet-ups. Certainly, there has been damage done,” she said, adding that Harry’s presence was a “show of unity.”
Harry sat with his cousin, Princess Eugenie – the only royal to have visited Harry and Meghan in the US – and her husband, Jack Brooksbank.
Months ago, it was rumored that other Royal Family members didn’t want Harry anywhere near them during the coronation. However, that stance seemed to have cooled, as Harry got to sit just two rows behind Prince William and Kate Middleton and two of their three children, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Prince George had a much more prominent role as one of the Pages of Honor.
Though he might not be a fan of the monarchy anymore, he joined all other guests in one of many refrains of “God Save The King.”
But before the ceremony at Westminster Abbey had even started, it seemed as though Harry had already made up his mind about the Royal Family and what might happen.
Prince William and King Charles have reportedly chosen not to read Spare, Harry’s explosive tell-all memoir in which he attacked the royals several times. His relationships with his brother and father are naturally at a low point, and there were reportedly no signs of them reconciling while he was in the UK.
Speaking with The Sun, lip-reading expert Jerey Freeman picked up several things Harry told Brooksbank before the coronation ceremony began. According to him, the Duke was moaning, muttering: “I’m fed up with the way they treat me.”
Moreover, Freeman caught Harry saying: “It’s not an ideal situation.”
Jack Brooksbank replied: “If I can make you feel any better, and even I can do it. It’s not the quiet life, is it?”
“They don’t care,” Harry answered.
Jack Brooksbank added: “I haven’t time for that, not if it’s over…”
“It’s an eventuality,” Harry concluded.
The relationship between Charles and Harry was at an all-time low after Harry’s book was published. And just weeks later, in February, Charles publicly made his only known comment about the book. It’s safe to say it was a pretty sad one.
When Charles was visiting the University of East London’s Stratford campus for its 125th anniversary, the monarch unveiled a plaque to celebrate the opening of its new hospital and care take area.