Prince Charles’ friends fear any plans by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to return to the UK with their children for the Platinum Jubilee weekend could overshadow the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s reign.
Harry and Meghan’s daughter Lilibet, who is named after the Queen’s childhood nickname, has not met her extended family in Britain, and their son Archie, who turns three next month, has not been to Britain since November 2019.
The Queen is said to be hoping the Sussexes will return to the UK with their children, but sources close to Charles say there are concerns that a visit coinciding with the Jubilee weekend in early June – when Lilibet will be a year old – will distract from her mother’s milestone, by creating a “circus”.
Harry, who is writing a memoir slated for publication later this year, greeted his father with a kiss at Windsor on Thursday, but insiders described the encounter as “so cold”.
They had been scheduled to meet at 10am, but Charles was left waiting as Harry and Meghan were delayed.
That meant father and son only had 15 minutes together before Charles had to leave to prepare for the Maundy Thursday Service in nearby St George’s Chapel.
The Duchess of Cornwall was left holding the fort.
A source told The Mail on Sunday that Camilla was not initially interested in taking part, considering it best for father and son to have some time together, but when it became clear that Meghan would be joining the gathering, she agreed to attend.
It is the first time Charles and Camilla have come face-to-face with the Duchess of Sussex since she accused an unnamed senior member of the Royal Family of racism during her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In response to the allegations and others in the program, the Queen issued a statement in which she said that “memory may vary”.
The source said: “Given the background, Charles and Camilla were understandably nervous about the whole meeting and a little worried that they might be hijacked. There is a lot of trust that now needs to be built.
“I believe concerns about the book Harry has written may have played a part and Camilla felt she needed to be there, not only to support Charles, but to hear all that was said to ensure that the memory of what was said would not happen. varies this time.”
Harry was last in England to unveil a statue of his mother Princess Diana at Kensington Palace last summer.
Prior to that, he attended the funeral of his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, in April, but missed the thanksgiving ceremony last month.
Meghan hasn’t returned to the UK since March 2020.
While the meeting in Windsor had reignited hopes of rapprochement, there was one notable absence – the Duke of Cambridge. Prince William didn’t want to interrupt his family vacation to see his brother and sister-in-law. It is understood that the couple had not spoken for months.
A source familiar with the two brothers said: “There are a lot of things to cover up with William and Harry”.
“I do think and hope they will reconcile but it may take some time.”