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King Charles Is Torn Between Prince Harry and Queen Camilla: ‘Harbors a Lot of Anger’ (Exclusive)

Prince William, King Charles and Queen Camilla made for a powerful trio when the top royals attended a national commemorative event to mark the U.K.’s 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in Portsmouth, England, on June 5. Camilla — wearing a pale pink Fiona Clare coat dress and matching Philip Treacy beret — got visibly emotional as a war veteran spoke to the crowd at Southsea Common and later stood next to her husband as he gave his first speech since announcing his cancer diagnosis in early February.

Camilla’s been stepping up to the plate in recent months, standing in for Charles at multiple events during the early stages of his health battle and making the rounds with him now that he’s back on his feet. Behind the scenes, she’s Charles’ fiercest ally — and a deeply influential one, especially when it comes to Charles’ strained relationship with his younger son, Prince Harry.

According to sources, Camilla, 76, has been imploring Charles, 75, to keep his distance from Harry — and it’s putting the king in a difficult position. “Camilla dislikes Harry and doesn’t want Charles to get stressed while he’s undergoing treatment, so she tries to limit interaction,” says a source. Charles, meanwhile, “is holding out hope of salvaging their relationship but is hugely conflicted because Harry has hurt William and Camilla so much.” It’s not a one-sided situation, notes an insider: “Harry has also been hurt.”

Deep Wounds

King Charles Is Torn Between Prince Harry and Queen Camilla Harbors a Lot of Anger
King Charles, Prince Harry and Queen Camilla. Chris Jackson(3)/Getty Images(3)

Harry, 39, and Charles have been estranged since Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, 42, left the royal fold in early 2020. Since then, Harry has made no secret of his feelings for Camilla both in his 2023 memoir, Spare (in which he accused her team of leaking stories to the British press and labeled her “a villain”), and the couple’s Netflix series, Harry & Meghan. “When the docuseries came out, Camilla was furious,” says a second source. “Then, when Spare [was released], Camilla was saddened by what was said about her. She was heartbroken and confused.”

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The bad blood between Harry and Camilla goes back decades. In Spare, Harry writes that both he and his brother asked their dad not to marry Camilla following the tragic death of their mother, Princess Diana, in 1997. (Camilla had been the other woman in Charles and Diana’s marriage prior to their 1996 divorce; Charles and Camilla wed in 2005.)

Royal expert and The King: The Life of Charles III author Christopher Andersen tells Us both Harry and William “have always resented Camilla,” adding, “They pleaded with their father not to marry her and 
only grudgingly agreed to go along with the charade if Charles kept 
his promise not to make her queen. That title would have gone to Diana
if Camilla hadn’t broken up their 
parents’ marriage. When Charles broke that promise, William and Harry felt betrayed.”

In a January 2023 interview with GMA, Harry admitted it had been “a long time” since he’d spoken to Camilla, but hinted that their relationship had evolved. “She’s my stepmother. I don’t look at her as an evil stepmother. I see someone who married into this institution and has done everything that she can to improve her own reputation and her own image, for her own sake.”

Other Factors

USW 2427 Prince Harry King Charles Cover
Getty Images (3)

Behind Camilla, William, 41 — who’s been preoccupied caring for his wife, Princess Kate, 42, as she battles cancer — is the second most important person in Charles’ life. “Camilla and William are the people he relies on most,” says Andersen. In May, Charles appeared to choose sides when Buckingham Palace announced that William would be made colonel-in-chief of the Army Air Corps — despite Harry serving with the unit in Afghanistan. According to the first source, “Even those close to Charles and Camilla felt it was very pointed that Charles did the military handover to Wills that Harry should have had.”

While Harry and Meghan released a statement wishing Kate “health and healing” following her cancer diagnosis, sources say things between William and Harry are still fraught. “After the couple’s press interviews, William and Kate couldn’t believe or understand how Harry and Meghan expect to make up with them,” says the second source, noting that Kate’s been forced to take the high road. “She can’t respond — it’s a monarchy rule not to.”

Back in March 2021, Harry and Meghan said in a TV interview that there had been “concerns and conversations” about “how dark” their son Archie’s skin color was going to be; in November 2023, a Dutch journalist claimed that the Dutch version of Omid Scobie’s royal tell-all book, Endgame, had named Charles and Kate as the guilty parties. “Kate was 100 percent not one of the people who discussed it; it was Charles and Camilla,” the second source previously told Us. “Kate was sad she got pulled into it because she had nothing to do with it.”

William will never forgive Harry for airing the royals dirty laundry. “There’s no way back for Harry and Wills,” the first source says. “He’s angry with Harry after what he said about Kate.”

Cold Shoulder

With two of Charles’ closest confidants on the outs with Harry, it will be difficult to close the gap between father and son. Harry had offered royal watchers a glimmer of hope about their future during a February GMA interview, in which he talked about visiting his ailing dad in London after Charles’ diagnosis was made public. “I jumped on a plane and went to go see him as soon as I could,” said Harry, adding that he was “grateful” to spend time with his father. “I think any illness, any sickness, brings families together,” he added. “I see it time and time again, and that makes me very happy.”

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However, members of the royal family appeared to snub Harry when he was in the U.K. to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games in early May.

“Harry’s team says he invited Charles,” notes the first source, “but Charles’s team is adamant he hadn’t been invited.”

Andersen says he “sees the fine hand of Camilla” behind the freeze-out. “She’s focused on her husband’s health, and injecting Harry into the equation will only cause more turmoil,” he says, adding that Charles’ avoidance of Harry “does seem a little callous … the late Queen Elizabeth said she wanted Harry to be considered part of the family, always.”

Looking Ahead

King Charles Is Torn Between Prince Harry and Queen Camilla Harbors a Lot of Anger
(L to R) Prince Charles, Queen Camilla, and Prince Harry. Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Charles’ estrangement from Harry has affected his relationship with his grandkids. (Harry and Meghan share Archie, 5, and Lilibet, 3). “It’s left a massive hole in his heart that he’s only spent a few fleeting days with them and then video calls on important days,” the third source says, noting that Charles is close with William’s three children (Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 9, and Prince Louis, 6). “He longs for the same relationship with his American grandkids.” The insider explains that the main reason Archie and Lilibet can’t spend time in the U.K. is because of security issues and due to Harry and Meghan not having a permanent residence there. Notes the insider, “If the king wanted to see them so badly, he could make it easier to do so.”

Things remain complicated, for now. “Charles harbors a lot of anger towards Harry. He’s always been very protective of Camilla,” the third source adds. “It’s not easy for him to forgive people who have scorned her.”

With reporting by Travis Cronin, Christina Garibaldi & Andrea Simpson

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