The long journey from the US took the Duke of Sussex more than 11 hours but his meeting with the King at Clarence House in London reportedly lasted less than an hour. Differing newspaper reports say the get-together was either just 30 or 45 minutes long.
There were hopes that the 39-year-old prince’s visit would help repair damaged relationships between himself, his father, and his brother the Prince of Wales. But any hopes of a reconciliation were dashed when Harry was spotted at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday afternoon.
The prince was flying back to LA after just over day in the UK.
Charles had personally called both Harry and William, as well as his siblings Anne, the Duke of York and the Duke of Edinburgh, to give them the news before it was publicly announced to the nation by the Palace at 6pm on Monday.
Less than a day after the news broke, Harry was spotted arriving to a private terminal at LAX in his black Range Rover on Monday evening LA time.
His wife Meghan Markle and two children remain in California, where they have resided since stepping down as working royals in 2020.
His flight took off just before 7pm and the Duke flew more than 5,000 miles over the Atlantic before touching down at London’s Heathrow Airport at around 12:30pm.
He was driven directly to see his father at his London Residence, arriving at Clarence House at 2:45pm where the pair had a brief meeting.
The duke has not visited the UK since September when he attended a WellChild awards event, but was not believed to have spent any time with his father or brother and stayed in a hotel.
The last time he came face-to-face with the King was during the Coronation last May, although he made a speedy exit to return to the US to celebrate his son Archie’s fourth birthday.
Less than an hour later, the King and Queen Camilla were pictured being driven out of the house to Buckingham Palace, where a helicopter believed to be carrying the couple took off from the roof and took them to their Sandringham home in Norfolk.
Harry’s reported stay at a London hotel, rather than any of the many royal residences available, suggests the relationship between the duke and his UK-based family continues to be strained.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex vacated Frogmore Cottage in Windsor last year leaving them without a base in the UK and now reportedly need a “formal invitation” to be able to stay with the royals on “protected property”.
The prince has been very vocal in his criticism of his family since he left for the US, both in interviews and his autobiography Spare.
However, it has been suggested the reason behind the brevity of the reunion between father and son may be more practical, given Charles’ condition.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Wednesday, Sunday Times Royal Editor Roya Nikkhah said: “The King was very tired after the procedure he had had the day before.
“I’m sure Harry would have loved to have spent more time with him, but he’s probably quite respectful of his dad going through his treatment.”
Harry’s visit, as predicted by many, did not last long and pictures of him smiling at Heathrow confirmed there were no plans for him to see his brother before he returns to California.
The extent of the fraternal feud was made public last January when Harry made a series of accusations against William.
Sources have reported that there is “nothing in the diary” for the brothers during the visit and a source close to William told The Times there were “no plans” for the future king to meet Harry.
Insiders close to Harry said he would have welcomed the chance to meet with his brother, with one telling the Mail Online: “The Duke’s primary reason to travel to the UK is to visit his father. If the opportunity were to arise to see the Prince of Wales then the Duke would have gladly accepted it.”
William is set to step up and shoulder more of his father’s royal responsibilities while he recovers.
He officially returned to royal duties on Wednesday after taking a break to focus on looking after his wife and three children following the Princess of Wales’ abdominal surgery which left her recovering in hospital for 13 days.
William performed an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle in the morning and attended a gala fundraising dinner for London’s Air Ambulance Charity in the evening.
The palace confirmed that Charles’ cancer was discovered during treatment at the same hospital Kate was in for an enlarged prostate.
Charles has postponed all public-facing duties, but is continuing with behind-the-scenes work on his red boxes of state papers.
The Palace has called for the King’s privacy to be respected, especially during his treatment, but said he wanted to make his diagnosis public because of his long-running support for cancer charities.