Harry hopes to see King ‘soon’ after full programme means reunion not possible

The Duke of Sussex “hopes” to see his father “soon” after the King’s “full programme” meant a reunion was not possible during Harry’s UK trip to celebrate his Invictus Games.

Harry has travelled to London to mark the 10th anniversary of his Paralympic-style tournament for wounded veterans and serving military but will not cap his visit by sitting down with his father.

The former working royal joked during an Invictus summit event he would be spending the evening having dinner with former Invictus Games Foundation trustee Guy Monson.

The pair last met soon after the King announced his cancer diagnosis in February and his son, who now lives with his family in California, rushed from America to see his father.

The King at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Windsor, Berkshire, on Friday
The King at the Royal Windsor Horse Show on Friday (Andrew Matthews/PA)

A spokesperson for the duke said: “In response to the many inquiries and continued speculation on whether or not the duke will meet with his father while in the UK this week, it unfortunately will not be possible due to His Majesty’s full programme.

“The duke of course is understanding of his father’s diary of commitments and various other priorities and hopes to see him soon.”

Harry and Charles’s relationship had been strained during the period the duke stepped down as a working royal and moved to America with wife Meghan and their family, but after the meeting in February Harry suggested the King’s cancer diagnosis could lead to a reconciliation with his father.

In a Good Morning America interview, it was suggested a family illness could have a “reunifying effect”, and when Harry was asked “Is that possible in this case?” he replied: “Yeah, I’m sure.”

It is thought the King has been receiving his cancer treatment as an outpatient midweek and is likely to be hosting the first Buckingham Palace garden party of the season on Wednesday.

The duke will also be busy attending a ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday, formally marking a decade of work by the Invictus Games Foundation, which has staged the sporting tournament to aid the recovery of wounded, sick and injured veterans and serving military.

With ties between the duke and his brother the Prince of Wales also strained, it is unlikely the royal siblings will meet this week.

Harry attended a one-day summit in the capital that reflected on the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games, saying there is still “so much more to do”.

He told delegates at the event, held at the Honourable Artillery Company’s headquarters on the edge of the City of London: “Sometimes you… look back and go ‘Look at what we’ve done’.

“But also given the state of the world, there is so much more to do and I think a lot of uncertainty – but what we’ve created is a global community.”

The duke, who was joined onstage by Sir Keith Mills, the former Invictus Games Foundation chairman, said whenever he was asked how long Invictus will last, his reply was “as long as it’s serving a purpose”.

He added: “The root cause of the problem is conflict and I can’t fix that.

“So we will always be here to be able to spread the message, tell the stories, change the perspectives and help as many people as humanly possible, because Invictus transcends borders, transcends politics.”

Harry was inspired to found the global tournament after attending the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013 and seeing how injured American military personnel thrived on the challenge of taking part in competitive sports that aided their recovery.

He went on to stage the inaugural games in London’s Olympic Park in 2014 and the tournament has been held across the globe from Orlando and Sydney to Dusseldorf in 2023, with the 2025 event being hosted in Vancouver and Whistler.

Johnny Mercer, minister for veterans’ affairs, attended one of the final sessions of the day and praised the work of the Invictus delegates in supporting competitors, adding: “The power of sport in recovery has been well known for a long time, but your determination to take it to the next level has been unmatched.

“I cannot adequately express to you here today the sheer power of what you have done. You have reached into the darkest recesses of their lives when they have literally nowhere else to turn, and you have transformed their existence.

“Yes, it is about sports, but then again, it’s not really. It’s about a common humanity. Man’s conduct to fellow man – you set the standard for humility, for courage, for determination, the absolute resolve never to quit.”