Another strained relationship in the royal family. Prince Harry has kept details about his father, Prince Charles, relatively to himself through the years, but after his and wife Meghan Markle’s exit in 2020, the Duke of Sussex got real about tension with his dad.
Over the years, Harry publicly applauded Charles for his parenting skills — from the way he stepped up after the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in August 1997 to his willingness to walk Meghan down the aisle at their May 2018 wedding. However, things shifted between the father-son duo when the couple announced in January 2020 that they were stepping back from their roles as senior members of the royal family.
A source told Us Weekly at the time that the Prince of Wales was “livid” with his youngest son and blamed the former actress for the decision to distance themselves from the monarchy.
The pair completed their royal duties in March 2020 and relocated to her native California with their son, Archie. They kept mum about their departure for more than a year before sitting down for a CBS tell-all interview in March 2021. While Charles did nothing but laugh when asked about Harry’s bombshell claims, including that his father stopped talking to him after he and Meghan shared their plans to step down, Harry’s willingness to go on the record only further fractured their relationship.
“Charles does not agree with Harry trashing his whole family in public,” an insider revealed in March 2021. “Charles thinks these matters could have easily been addressed in private.”
Charles and his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, “had very different plans for how to respond” to the allegations, with the prince wanting “to rebuke every claim made by Meghan and Harry,” according to a source. The monarch ultimately preferred to “take a more modest approach.”
Harry and Charles reunited in April 2021 for Prince Philip’s funeral, but they did not reconnect in a meaningful way. “Unfortunately, Harry and Charles didn’t resolve their differences when Harry returned to the U.K. They barely communicated,” an insider told Us at the time. “There definitely continues to be a huge wedge between the two.”
The source added that Charles was “still fuming” over the tell-all and “freezing Harry out,” while Harry had not “forgiven his father for his lack of effort and support after he and Meghan decided to move.” Another insider revealed in May 2021 that Charles “may never forgive Harry.”
Harry made headlines later that month for criticizing Charles’ parenting more than once. “Charles is boiling with anger and feels tortured by Harry with his constant digs. He wishes he’d just let it drop,” a source told Us. “The general consensus within the royal family is to ignore Harry’s behavior, to avoid fanning the flames, but Charles is finding it hard to hold back. He really wants to defend himself.”
Charles assumed the British throne in September 2022 following his mother’s death at age 96 — and he gave his youngest son a small shout-out during his first address as monarch. “I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan, as they continue to build their lives overseas,” he told viewers in the U.K. and its Commonwealth territories.
Scroll through the gallery below to see Harry’s most eye-opening quotes about his relationship with Charles through the years.