What Prince Harry’s short meeting with his dad King Charles tells us about the current state of their relationship (and it doesn't necessarily spell doom and gloom)

The Duke of Sussex flew more than 5,000 miles to see his father King Charles following his cancer diagnosis

Prince Harry arrivng at WellChild Awards 2023 and split layout with King Charles leaving hospital
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We look at what Prince Harry's short meeting with dad King Charles tells us about the state of their relationship.

All families have their fair share of arguments and the royal family is no exception, albeit that their 'feuds' are subject to public scrutiny but it's how we deal with family conflicts that can determine the outcome. And just days after another royal family fall-out was predicted, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles has cancer.

An official statement released at the time said, “During The King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer. His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties."

It's understood that King Charles's sons Prince William and Prince Harry were told of their father's diagnosis and with that news, Prince Harry booked himself on the next flight from LA to London to see his father while his wife Meghan Markle remained at their Montecito home with their two children, Prince Archie, four, and Princess Lilibet, two.

After an 11-hour British Airways flight travelling 5,440 miles, Prince Harry made his way to Clarence House to meet with his father who has been receiving cancer treatment. According to reports, the meeting only lasted between 30-45 minutes. And if you're wondering why so brief, there could be a few possibilities for this - one could be that King Charles is tired from his treatment and in need of rest.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Sunday Times Royal Editor Roya Nikkhah noted the palace briefing said "The King was very tired after his procedure" that he'd had the day before, and she added, "I'm sure Harry would have loved to have spent more time with him, but he's probably quite respectful of his dad."

But King Charles might also be anxious about what information he tells his son over fear that it might be shared in a future book, like royal details shared in Prince Harry's memoir Spare. Royal expert, reporter Richard Palmer touched on this when he tweeted, “The King kept his cards close to his chest after a 45-minute meeting with Prince Harry today, their first in nine months. But some hoping the father and son will heal their divisions see signs for optimism. William and Harry are some way off that yet.”

In his book, Prince Harry revealed that Charles had urged his warring sons: 'Please boys, don't make my final years a misery' and his trip could be in response to that.

Shortly after meeting Harry, King Charles left via helicopter for Sandringham to recuperate and reports claim Prince Harry spent the night in a luxury hotel, according to MailOnline.

Prince William driving after visiting Kate in hospital

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It is not known how long Prince Harry will be in the UK, however, any meet-up between brothers William and Harry is unlikely. A source confirmed to Town & Country that Prince William has no plans to see Prince Harry during his visit to the UK.

Prince William is expected to resume royal engagements today with London Air Ambulance and is also busy caring for his wife Kate Middleton and their three children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, eight and Prince Louis, five while Kate recovers from her 'planned abdominal surgery'.

Such confirmation of no planned meet-up is a clear indication that significant tensions remain between the brothers. However, Sunday Times Royal Editor Royal Nikkhah added that it's been suggested "that Harry and his father have not ruled out another meeting while Harry is here."

Throughout his recovery period, 'His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual', the palace confirmed.

They added, "The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.

"His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”

In other royal news, Prince Harry didn't want son Archie to learn this one pretty royal thing (and the Queen did it regularly) and body language expert reveals what Prince Harry’s ‘love language’ is and it’s so obvious when you look at how he acts with his kids.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)