Prince Harry’s fragile relationship with his dad Prince Charles is under the spotlight once again following yet another tell-all interview.
Sources close to Charles have said he is “at a loss” to explain his son’s behavior with his latest comments to American journalist Hoda Kotb this week.
In the interview, which came days after Harry and wife Meghan Markle had a secret meeting with Charles and the Queen at Windsor Castle, the prince talked about how he wanted to “protect” the monarch and make sure she has the “right people around her.” “.
Meanwhile, when specifically asked if he missed his dad now he lives in California, Harry refused to say, dodging the question.
Last night it emerged that the pair had not spoken since their meeting last week, which lasted just 15 minutes, and was described as being “cordial but slightly awkward”.
However, their bond hasn’t always been so strained – and Charles even stepped in to walk daughter-in-law Meghan down the aisle on her wedding day.
So what has caused the fracture in their relationship and are they able to repair it?
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Harry is the second son of Charles and his late ex-wife Princess Diana.
Speaking in 1994, Charles told a documentary, he tried to spend as much time as he could with his young sons.
However, royal biographer Penny Junor once claimed that Charles had been a “remote figure.”
She told the Daily Beast: “It is a slightly tricky relationship because Charles has always been quite a remote figure, he has always been consumed by work.
“That’s not a product of a lack of love. It’s a product of the fact he is so focused on his work, and the need to make a difference in the world that, like many people who are seeking to make a difference in the world , he has sometimes overlooked friends and loved ones beside him.”
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As a young boy, Harry saw the breakdown of his parent’s marriage, which played out in the full media spotlight.
In 1997 – a year after Charles and Diana’s divorce was finalized – Diana died following a horrific car crash in Paris, leaving her two sons grief-stricken.
Both William and Harry were staying at Balmoral with Charles at the time, and it was down to their dad to break the terrible news to them.
In 2017, Harry praised Charles for the way he looked after both him and William in the wake of their tragic mother’s death.
In a BBC documentary, Harry said: “One of the hardest things for a parent to have to do is to tell your children that your other parent has died. How you deal with that, I don’t know. But, you know, he was there for us.
“He was the one out of two left and he tried to do his best to make sure that we were protected and looked after. But you know, he was going through the same grieving process as well.”
Closer than William
Also in 2017, Harry guest-edited The Today program on BBC Radio 4, where he interviewed Charles – affectionately calling him ‘Pa’.
In the interview, Harry revealed how he values his father’s opinion saying: “I do end up picking your brains more now than I ever have done.”
Speaking earlier this year, royal expert and author Robert Jobson even remarked how Harry had been closer to his father than William.
In 2016, Harry started dating his now-wife Meghan with the pair tying the knot at St George’s Chapel in Windsor in May 2018.
In the lead-up to the wedding, it was revealed that Meghan’s father Thomas would not be attending – prompting Charles to step in and walk Meghan part-way down the aisle.
Speaking about the moment, Harry told a 2018 BBC documentary: “I asked him to and I think he knew it was coming, and he immediately said ‘yes, of course, I’ll do whatever Meghan needs and I’m here to support you.’
“For him, that’s a fantastic opportunity to step up and be that support, and you know he’s our father so of course he’s going to be there for us.”
The wedding also took place just weeks before a special Buckingham Palace garden party was held to mark Charles’ 70th birthday.
There, Harry made a touching speech and said: “His enthusiasm and energy are truly infectious; it has certainly inspired William and I to get involved in issues we care passionately about and to do whatever we can to make a difference.
“In fact, many of the issues William and I now work on are subjects we were introduced to by our father growing up.”
However, after just over a year as working royals, Harry and Meghan decided they want to quit the Firm and step down from their roles.
A summit was held at Sandringham between the Queen, Harry, Charles and William to thrash out a deal – and Harry and Meghan eventually settled in California with young son Archie.
It was then that cracks started to appear in the bond between Harry and his father as well as with his brother William.
HARPO PRODUCTIONS/AFP via Getty)
In March 2021, both Harry and Meghan sat down for a tell-all chat with Oprah Winfrey, which proved explosive.
During the bombshell interview, Harry accused his dad of cutting him off financially and claimed he had stopped taking his calls.
“My family literally cut me off financially,” Harry said in March.
“I’ve got what my mum left me, and without that, we would not have been able to do this. I think she saw it coming,” Harry said, adding that it was the inspiration behind Harry and Meghan seeking to land a Netflix deal.
Harry also said he felt “really let down” by his father, saying: “He knows what pain feels like.
“Of course I will always love him but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened and I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that.”
In addition, Harry has also appeared on the Apple TV series The Me You Can’t See, where he spoke about the royals’ “total neglect” and the Armchair Expert podcast, where he lashed out at Charles’s parenting.
He told the podcast: “When it comes to parenting, if I’ve experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure I break that cycle so that I don’t pass it on.
“It’s a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on anyway, so we as parents should be doing the most we can to try and say ‘you know what, that happened to me, I’m going to make sure that doesn’t’ t happen to you’.”
Secret visit and yet another interview
In the weeks after the Oprah interview, Harry saw his father at the funeral of Prince Philip – although a reconciliation was not on the cards.
Earlier this year, there had been reports the pair had been talking again in a series of video calls.
And just last week, father and son were reunited when Harry and Meghan made a secret trip to the UK on their way to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands.
They saw Charles and wife Camilla at Windsor Castle before they then had a meeting with the Queen.
However, just days after the meeting Harry gave another tell-all interview where he made yet more claims about the royals.
He talked about the secret meeting with the Queen, revealing he wanted to make sure she was “protected” and had the “right people around her” – comments that have proved highly controversial.
But when it came to a specific question about if he missed Charles, he refused to answer, quickly changing the subject.
It’s now emerged that since the interview, which was broadcast on NBC’s Today show on Wednesday, the pair have not talked.
In addition, it has also been revealed that their secret meeting only last 15 minutes and was “cordial but slightly awkward”.
So what happens now for Harry and Charles? It has been reported that plans are being drawn up for Harry to join the rest of his family at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.
However, later this year, Harry is set to release a tell-all memoir, which he promises will be a “wholly-truthful and accurate” account of his life so far.
And author Andrew Morton, who famously wrote a biography on Princess Diana, says that Charles could be “in the firing line” again when Harry’s book is published.
He told the Royally Us podcast: “If I was Prince Charles, I’d be looking for a pile of coats to hide under.
“Because I think that the book that’s going to come out next year is written by someone who spends a lot of time investigating father-son relationships because he ghost-wrote a book on Andre Agassi, who had a difficult relationship with his father.
“So I think we’re going to see Charles once more in the firing line.
“So if I was Prince Charles, I’d be looking for a hard hat and a flak jacket.”