Prince Charles's friends fear his rift with Harry may be damaging

Charles and Harry have barely spoken in months… 更糟的可能还在后面: Why the Prince of Wales’s friends fear this rift may be as damaging as the war with Princess Diana, RICHARD KAY写道

Side by side to watch the post-wedding fireworks soar over 温莎城堡, 查尔斯王子 had a glint in his eye as he turned to the newly married 哈里王子.

‘Who’s paying for all this,’ 他问? To which Harry replied: ‘You are, pa.

It was not a typical exchange between father and younger son, but it was characteristic. Unlike his awkward and tense relationship with 威廉王子, Charles enjoyed a closeness with Harry that he treasured.

His quip about the cost of the lavish pyrotechnics was not the only moment on that spring afternoon in 2018 that the Prince of Wales had drawn a warm smile of thanks from Harry. An earlier moment came when he guided the veiled Meghan down the last part of the St George’s Chapel aisle to his son’s side.

These were the days when Charles was generous in his terms of endearment, often referring publicly to his son as ‘dear boyand ‘darling boy’. How tragic, 然后, that just three and a half years later, father and son are said to be barely on speaking terms, with relations between them at an all-time low.

Harry’s extraordinary weekend outburst in which he claimed he had raised concerns about a billionaire donor in the ‘cash for accesscontroversy has soured things even more. To those close to Charles, it was seen as every bit as mischievous an intervention as Harry’s criticism of his father as a parent.

How tragic, 然后, that just three and a half years later, father and son are said to be barely on speaking terms, with relations between them at an all-time low, writes Richard Kay. 图为: Prince Charles and Harry at Prince Philip's funeral

How tragic, 然后, that just three and a half years later, father and son are said to be barely on speaking terms, with relations between them at an all-time low, writes Richard Kay. 图为: Prince Charles and Harry at Prince Philip’s funeral

Then he had claimed he’d no choice but to abandon the Royal Family in order to ‘break the cycleof ‘genetic pain and sufferingfor the sake of his own children.

Criticising his father — and by implication the Queen — for the way he was raised is one thing. But the broadside he launched questioning the ‘motivesof Dr Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz and highlighting his own ‘concernsabout the Saudi businessman, is an implicit challenge to Charles’s judgment.

Such a rebuke — especially if it continues — could have an impact on the Prince as monarch as we edge closer to his reign. And it is why this week those close to Charles are viewing the unravelling of the relationship between father and son as potentially as damaging as that between the Prince and Princess Diana.

Charles himself is desperate not to exacerbate matters and, as always in matters concerning his children, is determined to avoid any confrontation. 图为: Charles and Harry at the Natural History Museum in 2019

Charles himself is desperate not to exacerbate matters and, as always in matters concerning his children, is determined to avoid any confrontation. 图为: Charles and Harry at the Natural History Museum in 2019

‘There is a feeling among some of his long-term friends that Harry’s outbursts, whether deliberate or unintentional, are chipping away at the Prince’s authority,’ says one close figure. ‘This matters, as the day he becomes King is now no longer somewhere over the horizon.

Charles himself is desperate not to exacerbate matters and, as always in matters concerning his children, is determined to avoid any confrontation. ‘He has been hurt by some of the things that have occurred, but it’s also fair to say he has also been baffled too.

Harry’s statement about how he had cut ties with Dr Mahfouz, who is at the centre of an investigation into donations to his father’s charity, was liberally sprinkled with digs at Prince Charles, including a reference to the honour the businessman received that was referred to as ‘the CBE scandal’.

To understand just how bad things have become between the pair, it is necessary to go back to the first year of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s marriage. Unlike William, who out of brotherly love had offered some mild words of caution to Harry about taking things slowly with Meghan, Charles confined whatever anxieties he may have had to himself.

Unlike William, who out of brotherly love had offered some mild words of caution to Harry about taking things slowly with Meghan, Charles confined whatever anxieties he may have had to himself. 图为: Charles and Harry in 1997

Unlike William, who out of brotherly love had offered some mild words of caution to Harry about taking things slowly with Meghan, Charles confined whatever anxieties he may have had to himself. 图为: Charles and Harry in 1997

Charles had been impressed by the American actress’s apparent willingness to learn the royal ropes and, as a gesture of encouragement, he asked her to attend a Palace exhibition marking 50 担任威尔士亲王以来已有数年历史. 但, having accepted the invitation, she then pulled out, reportedly unhappy that television cameras would be recording the occasion. 从此, the relationship between Charles and Harry began to change.

When Harry and Meghan demanded their own ‘court’, which would have allowed them total freedom after their split from William and Kate and their move from Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage, Charles refused.

But it was the fallout from Megxit and the couple’s move to the U.S. which dealt the biggest blow to the bond between father and son.

But it was the fallout from Megxit and the couple's move to the U.S. which dealt the biggest blow to the bond between father and son. 图为: Charles walks Meghan down the aisle at her wedding to Harry

But it was the fallout from Megxit and the couple’s move to the U.S. which dealt the biggest blow to the bond between father and son. 图为: Charles walks Meghan down the aisle at her wedding to Harry

The publication in 2020 of the biography Finding Freedom led to further friction. According to insiders, Charles wanted to know if Harry had contributed to the book. It provoked the Duke to question if his father had in turn assisted author Robert Jobson, whose book, Charles At 70, first revealed Harry’s explosive ‘What Meghan wants, Meghan gets’, 需求.

Things only worsened following Harry and Meghan’s claim to Oprah Winfrey that they had been the victims of racist comments about the colour of their son Archie’s skin. The consequences of those comments were still being felt last week, when Charles was accused in another book of being the royal figure who had first speculated about the future colour of Harry and Meghan’s children — a claim angrily dismissed by the Prince’s staff as ‘fiction’.

Ahead of their move to America, Charles had asked Harry to put their plans in writing. Harry later told the chat-show queen that he had ‘literally been cut off financially’, despite his father giving him some £2 million in the 2020-21 financial year.

‘He was aggrieved by the idea that he was some kind of tight-wad,’ 朋友说. ‘Not only had he paid a huge amount for the cost of the wedding, he also had provided the couple with a substantial sum of money to help them become financially independent.

Ahead of their move to America, Charles had asked Harry to put their plans in writing. 图为: Harry and Meghan speak to Oprah Winfrey

Ahead of their move to America, Charles had asked Harry to put their plans in writing. 图为: Harry and Meghan speak to Oprah Winfrey

There was irritation, 太, at the couple’s claim that Archie had been denied a title, as though it had been withheld. ‘This was misleading because a title will automatically go to Archie when his grandfather becomes King,’ an aide explained.

Father and son last spoke face-to-face at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April. They did not meet in July when Harry was in London for the unveiling of the Princess Diana statue at Kensington Palace, and Charles — along with the rest of the Royal Family — has still not met his six-month-old granddaughter Lilibet. According to insiders, contact between father and son has been ‘spasmodicwith only a handful of phone conversations in the past eight months.

Harry’s description of his royal life as a cross between the film The Truman Show — in which a man discovers he is living in a reality TV programme — and a zoo tested family ties as never before. 他说他的父亲: ‘He treated me the way he was treated— a comment also widely seen as an attack on the Queen and Prince Philip.

Father and son last spoke face-to-face at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral in April

Father and son last spoke face-to-face at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April

Despite such provocation, Charles — conscious of his own difficult relationship with his father — has been determined to maintain a dignified silence and wishes to leave the door open for his wayward son, whatever the price.

He acknowledges that it has been a long haul for Harry since his mother died when he was 12. 在早年, there were moments when he and his son did not see eye to eye. 有时, especially when Harry was going through adolescent convulsions that led to him taking drugs and drinking too much, some figures close to the royals blamed Charles.

They felt he was so preoccupied with his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles that he didn’t devote enough time to his sons, especially Harry — always the more vulnerable and needy.

When the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana was being marked, Charles seemed to have been virtually written out of the script by his sons in their lavish tributes to their mother. 然而, there was some solace for him following an intervention by Harry. He spoke out to praise his father for the way he looked after him and his brother in the aftermath of Diana’s death.

‘One of the hardest things for a parent to have to do is to tell your children that the other parent has died,’ 他说. ‘But he was there for us. He was the one out of two left. And he tried to do his best, to make sure we were protected.

This was the kind of heartfelt observation that friends of the royals know William would never have made. William has always been more independent of his father’s influence than Harry, and modelled himself more closely on his grandmother than his father.

Curiously, 虽然, 在 2005, in the run-up to their father's marriage to Camilla, the brothers were publicly very supportive of their stepmother-to-be. But was that how they really felt about her?

Curiously, 虽然, 在 2005, in the run-up to their father’s marriage to Camilla, the brothers were publicly very supportive of their stepmother-to-be. But was that how they really felt about her?

Curiously, 虽然, 在 2005, in the run-up to their father’s marriage to Camilla, the brothers were publicly very supportive of their stepmother-to-be. But was that how they really felt about her?

At around the time of Camilla’s 70th birthday in 2017, it had been expected that the brothers would probably take steps to mark the occasion with some warm public words. But nothing was forthcoming.

Of the Harry who joshed with his father in a Christmas interview on Radio 4’s Today programme, 四年前, virtually no trace remains. 明年, Harry’s memoirs will hit the bookshelves. What little we do know is that he has been researching the life of his mother and her bitter public separation from his father.

考虑到这一点, hopes of reconciliation seem slight.

明年, Harry's memoirs will hit the bookshelves. What little we do know is that he has been researching the life of his mother and her bitter public separation from his father. 考虑到这一点, hopes of reconciliation seem slight

明年, Harry’s memoirs will hit the bookshelves. What little we do know is that he has been researching the life of his mother and her bitter public separation from his father. 考虑到这一点, hopes of reconciliation seem slight

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