Why King Charles is 'too busy' to meet Harry

Harry landed in the UK without Meghan or his children and will not meet with his father, King Charles.

Harry and his father do not have time to meet each other due to their busy schedules. (PA)
The Duke of Sussex at St Paul's Cathedral in London for the service of thanksgiving to mark the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games. (PA)

Prince Harry says he “hopes” to see his father “soon” after it was confirmed that the pair would not meet during Harry's UK trip to celebrate 10 years of the Invictus Games.

Harry joined a congregation of around a thousand people inside the cathedral after being greeted warmly by the Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett.

The Duke of Sussex had landed in the UK on Tuesday morning, without wife Meghan, amid speculation over whether he would see King Charles or Prince William – a move that would have widely been seen as an attempt to mend his damaged relationship with the pair. However the King’s “full programme” meant a reunion was not possible.

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.”

The Duke of Sussex at St Paul's Cathedral on 8 May. (PA)
The Duke of Sussex at St Paul's Cathedral on 8 May. (PA)

Harry’s appearance will mark the first major event he has attended in Britain since last September's Wellchild Awards.

Harry attended the service of thanksgiving at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday, 8 May. The event marked a decade since the inaugural Invictus Games London in 2014, founded as a sporting event for injured and sick military personnel and veterans.

Harry carried out a reading, while actor Damian Lewis recited the Invictus poem during the service.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation speaks with Pikemen and Musketeers during The Invictus Games Foundation Conversation titled
The Duke of Sussex speaks with Pikemen and Musketeers during The Invictus Games Foundation's "Realising a Global Community" event. (Getty Images)

Representatives from across the Invictus Games' participating nations, including members of the wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veteran community, attended.

On Tuesday, Harry arrived at the Honourable Artillery Company’s headquarters on the edge of the City of London for a one-day summit called the Invictus Games Foundation Conversation, ahead of Wednesday's bigger event.

Harry told delegates at the event that there is still “so much more to do”: He added: “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.”

It is Harry's first trip back to the UK since visiting his father following the King's cancer diagnosis in February.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Sir Keith Mills GBE DL and Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation during The Invictus Games Foundation Conversation titled
Harry's appearance at the Invictus Games event is his first time in the UK in three months when he made a brief stop following his father's cancer diagnosis. (Getty Images)

Harry previously told ABC News that he “jumped on a plane” as soon as he could to see his father after his cancer diagnosis.

He also suggested he would visit the UK more, telling them: "I'll stop in and see my family as much as I can."

While Meghan did not travel with her husband to London, the couple are expected to reunite on a visit to Nigeria following Harry's UK trip.

It is unclear what conversations took place about any apparent meeting between the family and Harry. But some royal experts said the lack of meeting between Harry and the King “will be widely perceived as a snub”.

Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline: This is one of the most public rifts in the world. If it was handled in private without so much press speculation, it would have a better chance of being resolved.”

Former BBC Royal correspondent Michael Cole added: ”For the King to not see his younger son, Prince Harry, although the two men will be only two miles apart tomorrow afternoon, gives an indication of the depth of the divide.”

The Sun had previously reported that Harry had been "very keen" to meet with his father during his trip. Royal expert Richard Palmer told MailOnline it was "surprising" that the King and Harry are not meeting at all, which is "perhaps a sign of how much bridge-building still needs to be done".

The official line is that Charles's itinerary is full – though Buckingham Palace’s official website does not currently show any official engagements lined up for Charles in May.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla at the Buckingham Palace garden party. (PA)
King Charles III and Queen Camilla at the Buckingham Palace garden party. (PA)

The King has his weekly audience with prime minister Rishi Sunak on the same day as Harry’s visit.

The King also hosted a party in the Buckingham Palace gardens a party at 4pm while Harry went to St Paul's Cathedral for the Invictus Games event an hour later, creating a diary clash between the two, Sky News reports.

It also seems unlikely there will be any meeting with the Prince of Wales, with William scheduled to be away from the capital on Thursday and Friday.

William is currently at Windsor with his family while his wife, Kate, undergoes chemotherapy following her cancer diagnosis. Harry and William’s relationship is the subject of constant speculation, with the brothers said to no longer be on speaking terms.

We do not know if they met during Harry’s last trip or whether they are communicating in light of their father’s cancer treatment.

Yahoo News UK has contacted the couple's Archewell Foundation for a comment.

FILE - Britain's Prince Harry, right, and wife Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, arrive for the 2024 Royal Salute Polo Challenge to Benefit Sentebale, on April 12, 2024, in Wellington, Fla. Prince Harry’s fight for police protection in the U.K. has received another setback. A judge on Monday, April 15, 2024 rejected his request to appeal an earlier ruling upholding a government panel’s decision to limit his access to publicly funded security after he quit as a working member of the royal family. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
Meghan Markle has not joined Harry in the UK, but they will meet up in Nigeria. (AP)

Since stepping down as working royals in 2020 and moving to California with their family, Harry and Meghan have aired allegations and grievances against the monarchy and members of Harry’s family. These allegations have helped create a rift between Harry and his close family – including his brother and father.

There were accusations of racism in relation to Harry’s son Archie’s skin tone before he was born – with the remarks in the end alleged to have come from two senior royals – and claims Kensington Palace lied to protect William over reports he allegedly bullied Harry out of the Royal Family.

Harry also accused William of physically attacking him and throwing him into a dog bowl in a row over Meghan, teasing him about his panic attacks, and, along with Kate, encouraging him to wear a Nazi uniform at a fancy dress party.

FILE - Britain's Prince William and Britain's Prince Harry walk beside each other after viewing the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England on Sept. 10, 2022. Prince Harry flew more than 5,000 miles to see his father after King Charles III was diagnosed with cancer. But he did not see his estranged brother, William, during a visit that lasted scarcely 24 hours. William, meanwhile, returned to public duties for the first time since his wife, Kate, was admitted to a London hospital Jan. 16 for abdominal surgery. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
Harry and brother William are reportedly not on speaking terms. (AP)

While Charles and Harry are said to still speak, William has reportedly not been in contact with his brother for an extended period of time. Harry last appeared alongside the Windsors and the Waleses at the King’s coronation but hurried home immediately afterwards to mark his son’s fourth birthday.

However, Harry and Meghan wished the Princess of Wales and her family “health and healing” after she revealed she was undergoing treatment for cancer in March. They said they hoped Kate and her family would be “able to do so privately and in peace”.