Prince Harry reportedly rejected an offer to spend the anniversary of the Queen’s death at Balmoral with his father, it’s been revealed for the first time.
According to The Sun, King Charles extended the invitation to Balmoral in what was seen as an olive branch amid years of worsening tension between his son and the royal family.
However, Harry – who was already in the UK for the annual WellChild Awards in London – turned him down, instead spending the morning of September 8 alone before heading to Germany for the Invictus Games.
The Sun also reports that the rejected offer came after the Duke of Sussex put in a formal request to the King’s office for royal accommodation and security during his one-night stopover.
The publication claims he was informed by a senior aide that none of the family’s London or Windsor homes were available as most staff were in Scotland with the King and Queen Camilla.
Harry was instead given the opportunity to join them in Balmoral, in what would have been their first extended period together since the Queen’s funeral one year prior, but The Sun claims Harry cited a packed itinerary as the reason for not coming.
On the anniversary of the Queen’s death, the duke was spotted exiting St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the late monarch was laid to rest, after holding a short solo vigil.
Meanwhile, just 800 kilometres away, Charles and Camilla held a private reflection at the small Crathie Kirk church in Scotland.
While Harry has been largely estranged from his family in recent years following his and Meghan Markle’s public criticisms, his father is said to have still felt conciliatory toward his youngest son and has maintained some contact despite being deeply hurt.
Prince William, however, is reportedly furious and has no intention of reaching out to his brother.
Both men were said to have been devastated by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s attacks on their wives, with Harry branding Camilla as “dangerous” and a “villain”.
At the same time, Meghan described Kate Middleton’s coldness toward her and revealed that she had made her cry before their royal wedding.
The latest development follows reports last month that Charles and William were considering meeting for peace talks with Harry during his brief stopover in the UK, following the conclusion of the Games.
“King Charles is due to return to London from Balmoral in the middle of September which ties with the end of Harry’s Invictus Games trip to Dusseldorf,” a royal source told the UK’s OK! magazine in the initial reports.
“The King has a rescheduled official visit to France on September 20 so has a few days to spare in London to meet with his son. Staff are trying to finetune the details as we speak.”
However, the rumours were quickly quashed by the Daily Beast, with a source close to the Prince of Wales claiming he felt “utterly betrayed” by Harry.
“Charles won’t be seeing Harry and nor will William. No chance. He feels utterly betrayed by what Harry wrote about him in the book and said about him on Netflix,” the source told the publication.
Unlike William, the insider added, the King is leaving the “door open” for a reconciliation.
While the relationship between William and Harry is reportedly at its lowest point yet, the King is understood to have a softer stance toward his youngest son, despite feeling deeply hurt.
“The King loves both his sons and his door is always open to Harry. But I don’t think they will be meeting on September 17,” the source told the Daily Beast.
“The King will be preparing for the state visit to France.”
Charles and Camilla have now just finished their whirlwind three-day tour to France, while Harry and Meghan recently headed back home to California after wrapping up their joint visit to Dusseldorf for this year’s Invictus Games.
Harry became emotional as he spoke at the Games’ closing ceremony, telling the competitors that they had inspired millions of people all over the world.
“We’ve all witnessed the true impact sport has had on your recovery. But you will never truly know the impact your actions this week have had on millions of people around the world,” he said.
“You have opened people’s hearts, through your vulnerability, through your resilience and your sheer abilities. You have shown us that joy can emerge from struggle.”