In a move that has raised eyebrows among royal watchers, Prince Harry has reportedly turned down an invitation from King Charles III to visit him at Balmoral Castle. The invitation, extended for Accession Day, was seen by many as an olive branch, an opportunity for the father and son to mend their strained relationship.
The Duke of Sussex's decision to decline the invitation has been met with surprise and disappointment by some royal experts. Ingrid Seward, a noted royal commentator, expressed her views on the matter, stating, "For Harry, this was a missed opportunity. He should have braved it out and gone to see them." She further added that if the King invites someone to Balmoral, most would prioritize such an invitation over other engagements. "He could have easily rearranged things slightly to allow himself the time," she remarked.
King Charles III's relationship with his younger son has been fraught with tension, especially after Prince Harry's candid remarks about Queen Camilla in his memoir titled 'Spare.' Seward highlighted the depth of the hurt felt by Charles, particularly concerning comments made about Camilla. She emphasized that while Charles is a forgiving man and would always welcome his son, any reconciliation would have to be on the King's terms. "Harry has to apologize, not the other way round," she asserted.
The invitation for an overnight stay at the remote castle in the Scottish Highlands was for September 7-8, coinciding with the monarch's first Accession Day. Instead of seizing this chance for reconciliation, Prince Harry chose to visit Queen Elizabeth II's grave alone on September 8, marking the first anniversary of her passing.
During his brief visit to Britain from September 7-8, 2023, Prince Harry reportedly sought permission to stay overnight in one of London's royal residences. However, his request was denied. Given the royal family's annual summer tradition of relocating to the Balmoral estate from late July to late September, it seems unlikely that Harry was unaware of this detail.
Despite reports suggesting that the Duke of Sussex, now residing in Montecito, California, wishes to mend ties with his family, his recent actions seem to tell a different story. As per sources, Prince Harry has been "forever hoping" for outreach from his family, particularly from his father and brother, but such calls have been elusive.
The ongoing rift between the two royal brothers, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex, has been a matter of public interest for some time. While King Charles III remains one of the few senior royals still in communication with Prince Harry, the recent decline of the Balmoral invitation suggests that the path to reconciliation may still be a long one.