King Charles Delivers Harsh Message of Rejection to Prince Harry

Toby Melville/Reuters
Toby Melville/Reuters

The settings were a celebration in a cathedral and a garden party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace—but the messages emanating from both were more brutal than cheery.

Prince Harry’s exclusion from the British royal family was starkly illustrated Wednesday when not one single member of his family turned up at a church service to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Paralympic-style event he founded for wounded veterans.

Instead, King Charles ordered all working royals (including Princess Anne and Prince Edward, and excluding Prince William and Kate Middleton) to attend a garden party for 5,000 people at Buckingham Palace taking place at the same time.

Queen Camilla Is the Real Reason King Charles Won’t See Harry, Friend Says

Harry arrived at St Paul’s Cathedral in a Range Rover and made his way up the steps, on his own. The service followed two high-profile snubs during Harry’s London trip; his claim, made in a public statement, that his father was too busy to see him, and then the palace revealing William was to made head of Harry’s old regiment. Even when they do not see each other, the royals find their own ways to trade blows.

It was hard to believe, as Harry walked into the cavernous church in London for a service to mark the tenth anniversary of the Invictus Games, that his widely-praised initiative for wounded servicemen once enjoyed the support not just of Harry’s father, King Charles III, and brother, Prince William, but also the late Queen Elizabeth II herself. Indeed, Elizabeth went as far as recording a comedy video also featuring Barack and Michelle Obama to promote it in 2016.

Now however, the event has been stripped of royal affiliation. A military source recently told The Daily Beast, “Some people feel it’s not fair to deny the foundation proper royal endorsement. It was explicitly set up as an organization endorsed by the royal family, but now it’s not.” Indeed, the working royals seemed determined to overshadow Harry’s big day.

Charles was hosting a garden party for 5,000 people on the great lawn at Buckingham Palace, and William made his own headlines at Windsor Castle earlier in the day, hosting an investiture honoring, among others, Gladiator director Sir Ridley Scott.

The Invictus ceremony looked low wattage by comparison. Top flight British celebrities are now understandably wary of being associated with Harry for fear they will be blackballed by the king and William.

Harry’s most high profile guest was the actor Damian Lewis, who was due to read the poem Invictus, by William Ernest Henley from which the organization takes its name.

Harry may, at least, have been able to draw comfort from the poem’s closing lines, where the poet ponders that, despite the hardships visited upon him by life: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

King Charles III and Queen Camilla attending a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on May 8, 2024 in London, England.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla attending a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on May 8, 2024 in London, England.

Jordan Pettitt/Pool/Getty Images

Some insiders believe that the royals are making a mistake by not supporting Harry’s cause.

One source, a former courtier, told The Daily Beast last week: “Charles has made it quite clear he is ready to be friendly and supportive to Harry in his capacity as a private person, as his dad, but he is not going to throw the weight of the institution behind Invictus again. This all seems very logical inside the Palace bubble, but the trouble is that people who don’t particularly care about such things, who are dimly aware that the royals spend their days visiting community centers and opening supermarkets, are going to wonder why they are boycotting this terrific charity that is headed by the king’s son.

“Many of us think this is a classic example of the royals cutting off their nose to spite their face, because Invictus is clearly exactly the kind of organization the royal family should be supporting. If a bridge is ever going to be built [between Harry and the royals], Invictus is the bridgehead to build it from, and they should get on and do it.”

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