Meghan, Harry’s Ugly Rift With William, Kate Is Far From Healed as Harry Skips William on Whirlwind Trip
Harry’s trip to see the king was the third time in two years he’s traveled for family business without his wife Meghan.
A beaming duchess of Sussex, spotted driving her luxury Range Rover around exclusive Montecito, California, on Wednesday, was symbolic of the ocean-sized gulf between Meghan and her in-laws, the Windsors, as the British royal family grapples with the cancer diagnosis for King Charles III.
While Meghan stayed back in her $14 million California bolthole, her husband, Prince Harry, the duke of Sussex, was on a whirlwind trip to London to see his ailing father — for only 45 minutes at most — before he rushed home. Harry did not see his brother, the prince of Wales, during his visit. Despite the king’s health crisis, the feud between the Sussexes and the royals persists.
Harry’s London trip this week was the latest visit in which the duke of Sussex rushed in and out of the U.K. like a prisoner on furlough, with his wife Meghan again remaining at the couple’s Montecito bolthole.
Harry’s visit, following the king’s cancer diagnosis, marks the third time recently he’s visited England to deal with family business while Meghan has stayed home, signaling that tensions remain high between the Sussexes and the greater Windsor clan. The feud has raged in public now for three years — with the Sussexes lobbing a steady stream of grievances, accusations, and divulgences via books, TV interviews, and documentaries in a breach of royal decorum not seen since the divorce of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana.
A source close to the royal household told People magazine that the meeting between Harry and Charles “is good” and, “Hopefully [Harry] will bring the grandchildren at some point too, as that would be lovely for all of them.”
Royal observers were charitable toward Meghan regarding her decision to remain in California.
“I think it’s entirely right that Meghan and the children didn’t come and actually it really kind of focuses the mind that this was a very kind of personal visit by Harry, a son to his father,” a royal commentator, Emily Andrews, told Talk TV. “We don’t know whether Camilla was there, I suspect not.”
Harry had savaged his stepmother, the “dangerous” queen consort, in television interviews a year ago, in which he accused her of leaking pejorative information about him and Meghan to the press, thus getting “into bed with the devil” and leaving “bodies in the street.”
Other royal watchers, such as Grant Harrold, who worked for Charles for seven years when he was the prince of Wales, agreed that it was right for Meghan to stay home, telling the New York Post: “She’s aware of the close relationship and probably encouraged him to come over.”
“Meghan made the decision that it was best to stay home with the children, and maybe she feels that this is something Harry has got to do alone,” Mr. Harrold said.
Harry’s failure to see his brother William, the prince of Wales, during his London visit was widely noted.
“William has shown today that he has disowned Harry, he doesn’t want to know him, and he probably doesn’t even like him anymore. Harry is just not part of his life,” a royal watcher, Jennie Bond, told DailyMail.com.
Ms. Bond added, “That rift is so deep now, and that has been shown by Harry being here and them not meeting, so deep that I really do wonder if it can ever, ever be mended.”
People magazine reported in November that the bond between Harry and William was irretrievably broken following his spilling of family secrets in Harry’s best-selling 2023 memoir, “Spare,” and Meghan’s allegation in 2021, made during a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, that racist members of the royal family asked about the skin color of her yet-to-be-born child.
It later leaked out, via a “mistakenly” published early Dutch-language draft of the recent book “Endgame,” that Meghan had pointed to her sister-in-law, Kate, who was then the duchess of Cambridge, as being what the tabloids called “the royal racist,” along with Charles himself. William was reportedly enraged by the leaked accusation.
William himself is currently also caring for Katherine, now the princess of Wales, who recently underwent what the palace said was abdominal surgery. The prince of Wales has also assumed some of his father’s duties during his cancer treatments.
Through all this drama, Meghan has remained with her and Harry’s two children, Archie and Lilibet, at Montecito, where the family has been living after “stepping back,” as they put it in an Instagram post, from being “senior royals” in 2020. The king has only met Lillibet once during his mother’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022.
In the last two years, Meghan’s participation in, or absence from, major royal family events has been the subject of much attention.
In 2022, the duchess was told she was not welcome to visit the queen on her deathbed, even though she was at London at the time, according to “Endgame,” by the journalist Omid Scobie. Mr. Scobie reports that Charles, then the prince of Wales, told Harry that Kate was also not invited, so Meghan should not feel singled out. Harry was later enraged to find out, Mr. Scobie reports, that the only reason Katherine did not rush to Sandringham was that she wanted to bring her children to their first day of school.
Meghan and Harry stayed in the U.K. through the queen’s funeral, which they both attended, and during their stay, they engaged in a public show of solidarity with William and Katherine, walking together outside Windsor Castle to thank well-wishers. People magazine quoted a royal insider at the time saying the outing was “awkward” and that “both couples found it hard.”
Charles’s coronation eight months later was a different matter. Meghan elected to stay home, ostensibly to celebrate Archie’s fourth birthday, instead of attending. Harry attended the — literally — crowning event at Westminster Abbey, where he was assigned a seat three rows back, behind the so-called senior royals and next to the commoner husband of Eugenie, one of the princesses of the blood and daughter of disgraced Prince Andrew, Jack Brooksbank. Harry went back to California immediately, much as he would less than a year later when his father was diagnosed with cancer.
Charles’s cancer diagnosis, made following a “corrective procedure” for a benign enlarged prostate, has taken Britain by shock.
Neither the type nor the stage of cancer has been disclosed, but it has been confirmed that it is not prostate cancer. In an official statement, which said Charles is receiving outpatient treatment rather than being hospitalized, Buckingham Palace said that the king had “commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties.”
“The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure,” the statement reads. “He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.”
The palace also said that the King had chosen to share his diagnosis publicly to “prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”
A royal analyst, Elizabeth Holmes, told the New York Times that, despite Harry’s pilgrimage to England, she thinks Harry’s relationship with his father is “so fractured at this point” that she “can’t imagine a scenario where Harry is allowed back into this.”
“Harry flew from Los Angeles — it’s a very long way to then have a 45-minute meeting,” Ms. Holmes told the Times. “I think you can kind of read the tea leaves a little bit there.”