There may have been signs of the beginning of a reconciliation between Prince Harry and Prince William at Prince Philip‘s funeral when the estranged brothers were spotted talking as they walked together after the service, but according to royal sources, there’s another relationship that’s in an even more precarious position for Harry. Palace insiders say the prince’s badly damaged relationship with Prince Charles could dash any hope of a future official role for the Duke of Sussex within the family and could ultimately result in the royals severing ties with the Sussexes for good.
Harry briefly met with his father and brother (with Duchess Catherine sitting in for part of the talk) after Philip’s funeral, but the Duke of Sussex reportedly rebuffed his father’s offer to meet one-on-one before he returned to California. Harry allegedly told Charles he was on “a tight schedule” before heading home to Duchess Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child, and their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. Harry left the U.K. one day before Queen Elizabeth‘s 95th birthday, the first she was to spend as a widow.
“Everything that has happened since the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing has only made matters worse. For every small step forward, there are two backward,” an insider told Best Life. “The Prince of Wales has a vision of what the Royal Family may look like in the future and if things stay the way they are—or worsen—Harry and Meghan may not be part of that picture.” Read on to find out the latest decision that could worsen Harry’s relationship with the Royal Family, potentially resulting in he and his wife being “cast out for good,” as one source said. And for more on the Duke of Sussex, find out why Diana’s Friends Fear Harry Could Make This “Unthinkable” Decision Next.
On top of Harry’s decision to make a swift exit from Britain at a time of mourning for the Royal Family, there was the announcement that an “updated” edition of Finding Freedom, the biography written by Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, will be released in August, blindsiding the royals once again. The book, which was written with access to Sussex insiders, was seen as overly sympathetic to Harry and Meghan.
While the Sussexes have claimed they did not cooperate with the authors on the first edition, the account of their courtship, wedding, and first months as senior royals were so detailed (one passage recounts Meghan talking to a friend on the phone while taking a bath), Palace courtiers believed the couple’s friends who did speak to the authors did so with the Sussexes’ expressed permission.
“Charles is furious that there will be yet another rehashing of Harry and Meghan’s version of events that will surely cause even more damage to the family and Harry failed to mention it was coming,” a royal source told Best Life. “The royals are stunned that for all that Harry has said about wanting to reconcile, events seem to indicate the exact opposite.”
If the first edition of Finding Freedom is any indication, intimate details of Harry and Meghan’s new life in California are sure to be revealed. The book was written at the height of the escalating battle between the Sussexes and the Royal Family. Now, the new edition will likely include dramatic details of the events surrounding the Queen’s decision to strip Harry of his remaining military titles, the couple’s announcement they were not returning to royal life, and their decision to do the Oprah Winfrey interview.
“If Harry and Meghan are portrayed once again as victims—but this time victorious over their oppressive lives as senior royals, why should Charles want to include them in the monarchy’s future?” asked one royal insider. And for more on the family members who’ve iced him out, find out why These 3 Royals Aren’t Willing to Forgive Prince Harry, Says Source.
In an interview with talkRADIO on Apr. 19, royal biographer Angela Levin said: “Prince Charles has wanted for a very long time to cut the monarchy down to save costs and to make people be worth the money that they got from the taxpayer.” When Charles becomes king, Levin believes “that might be when Harry and Meghan are ditched from being members of the Royal Family.”
According to the Daily Mail, the downsized version of “The Firm” could include just Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, William, Kate, and their children—Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis—as senior royals. In that case, other members of the family could be encouraged to take on more traditional jobs to help support themselves (as Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie have done).
It may even mean a loss of their titles and patronages. When Eugenie and Beatrice were cut from the royal roll call, they also lost their personal security funded by the British taxpayers and only receive protection during official family events. The royals’ security is provided by a special branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service called Royalty and Specialist Protection (RaSP). According to Daily Express, protection for the entire Royal Family costs an estimated £100 million (or $138 million) a year.
“I look at the Royal Family from a business perspective. Post-COVID, it’s all about the business and we know that a lot of companies are looking at their employees and saying, ‘Who is the highest value?'” Australian journalist Deborah Clay said on the morning show Sunrise (via Express). “Princess Anne, Prince Charles, and the Queen herself, they’re doing a lot of engagements, they’re very active. You look at Harry and Meghan and they are too, but a lot of it is in self-interest.”
Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan’s highly publicized multi-million dollar deals with Netflix and Spotify have given them the financial independence they sought to gain by leaving their roles as senior royals. “They are living a Hollywood lifestyle in a £11 million mansion in California doing things that will not benefit the Royal Family in any way,” a source told Best Life. “There is no reason for them to be considered within the small circle of senior royals.” And for more on where things went wrong with the Duchess of Sussex, check out The Royals Made This One “Fateful Mistake” With Meghan, Says Insider.
As Best Life reported earlier this month, an unofficial changing of the guard has begun with the Queen entrusting Charles to make most of the family decisions (as Philip did when he was alive). With the Duke of Edinburgh gone, Charles is now the patriarch of “The Firm.” Though his status within the institution has not formally changed, his role within the family has. The Queen is now relying on Charles more and more since she is expected to slowly cut back on her appearances. That means the Prince of Wales’ influence has grown quite a bit.
The Queen has always had great affection for Harry and was, by all accounts, very welcoming to Meghan. She would never consider making the dramatic change of removing Harry, Meghan, and their children from the royal ranks. “The outer edge… the Queen has wanted to keep together for a very long time for sentimental reasons,” Levin said on talkRADIO. “At her age, she didn’t really particularly want change.”
But Charles could very well make those changes when the time comes. “I don’t think the Queen is ready for a plan like this. It very much seems like a plan for Prince Charles to execute,” said Levin. And for more royals news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Earlier this month, Mirror Online reported that Harry wanted an apology from the Royal Family over their treatment of Meghan, dating back to their wedding in 2018. Whatever was said between the prince and his father and brother after Philip’s funeral, however, did not get them any closer to that.
“As much as Harry may want to heal the rift with his father and brother, he still very much believes that the family still owes Meghan an apology,” a royal source previously told Best Life after Harry’s visit to the U.K. “Even though Harry has spoken to his father and brother about a way forward, he is still not satisfied. He is not willing to forget about everything that’s happened and it’s doubtful Meghan would let it go without a direct acknowledgement from the family that everything she said did happen.”
More people in the U.S. seem to be sympathetic toward Harry and Meghan—a YouGov poll after the tell-all showed 40 percent of Americans have sympathy for the Sussexes. But only 22 percent of people in the U.K. say their sympathy lies with Harry and Meghan.
“There is a very strong feeling here in Britain that it is Harry and Meghan who owe the royals an apology,” said another Palace insider. “That interview blew up everything. Charles and William are working very closely to secure the future of the monarchy and have managed to do a better job than expected given the circumstances. The [British] public is very much with the Royal Family on this. Harry and Meghan may have pushed things too far. This is a family who always close ranks in a crisis. The Sussexes may find themselves cast out for good.” And for more on who is in the Brits’ good graces, This Is the Most Popular Royal After Harry & Meghan’s Tell-All, Poll Shows.