Prince Harry’s visit to the U.K. this week, just before the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, raises questions about whether the rift between the royals could become permanent, a British TV show has heard.
Harry is confirmed to be attending the WellChild Awards in London on Thursday. It will be the prince’s first public visit to Britain since he appeared in court to give evidence in his battle with tabloid publishers in June.
He canceled his appearance at last year’s WellChild Awards ceremony when news broke that his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, was dying.
The prince has been patron of the charity which supports seriously ill children since 2007. It is one of the few organizations he maintained working ties with in Britain after splitting from the monarchy and moving to California in 2020.
Though the prince will be in the U.K. around the anniversary of his grandmother’s death on September 8, as well as the first anniversary of the accession of his father, King Charles III, speculative reports suggest that no family reunion will take place.
King Charles and Queen Camilla are currently staying at Balmoral Castle in Scotland and are expected to mark the occasions quietly. Harry will travel to Germany where the 2023 Invictus Games begin on September 9.
Nothing would prevent the prince and his father coming together at such a time, Newsweek‘s chief royal correspondent, Jack Royston, told Sky News anchor, Kay Burley, on Wednesday. However, if they don’t do so, it would show that the royal rift that was deepened by Harry’s bombshell Netflix show and memoir appears no closer to healing.
“He clearly could go up and see him,” Royston said of Harry, suggesting the trip from London to Scotland wouldn’t be to difficult to build into his schedule.
“Clearly he could if he wanted to, clearly he doesn’t want to and I don’t know that they [the royals] necessarily want to either.”
This, Royston told Burley, begs the question “is there any hope for a reconciliation?”
“I think as soon as people stop trying it does feel like hope has faded significantly,” he said.
“I can’t think of anything in the coming years that will bring them back together and that will heal the rift, and I think it’s entirely possible that we won’t see as much of Harry in Britain any more.”
The last time Harry attended an event with his family was for King Charles’ coronation at Westminster Abbey in May.
The prince traveled to Britain without wife, Meghan, for the historic ceremony. However, there was no public show of reconciliation as he was not photographed interacting with his father or brother, Prince William, who bore the brunt of some of the heaviest criticism in Harry’s Spare memoir.
Instead of returning to Buckingham Palace after the coronation ceremony to pose for the official family portraits, Harry was seen soon afterwards arriving at a London airport where he boarded a flight back to the U.S.
James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek’s royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek’s The Royals Facebook page.
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