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Prince Harry's real thoughts on dad King Charles and why a reconciliation is possible

The Duke of Sussex shared a lot of detail about his relationship with his father in his memoir Spare...

Giddy King Charles spends time with his smiling son Prince Harry
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It was revealed on Tuesday that Prince Harry has flown over to be with his father, King Charles following his shock cancer diagnosis. 

The Duke and his father have had an arguably turbulent relationship over the past few years following Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle's exit from the UK in 2020, and most recently following Harry's bombshell memoir, Spare which was published in January 2023.

The sweet words Prince Harry said to dad King Charles at wedding to Meghan Markle

Despite their differences, the pair will likely grow closer during this unpredictable time. Royal expert and journalist Robert Hardman told HELLO! that the King would "love" reconciliation with his son. 

He explained on HELLO!'s A Right Royal Podcast: "[The King's] an optimist, he's not confrontational. 

Listen to the full episode here:

"I think he's very much of the mindset that things can get back together, and that [they] can make things work. I think he would like that."

He added: "There are certain things that are non-negotiable. [Harry and Meghan] can't be half royal, you can't be in sometimes, and out. But I think a workable relationship could evolve. I'm sure [Charles] would love that."

King Charles and Prince Harry in suit© Samir Hussein
Reconciliation may be on the cards

Not only from the King's perspective could reconciliation be on the cards, but also from Harry's. Despite there being a lot of hard feelings towards his father in Spare, Harry did reveal several incredibly touching moments from his childhood, shining a light on what his father was like behind closed doors, as well as sharing sweet words of affection about him at times in the memoir.

Keep scrolling to see the touching things Harry revealed about King Charles in Spare…

Playing games 

charles harry william
Harry recalled the sweetest anec dote of his father wrapping him and his brother up like hotdogs

Despite reflecting that his father "wasn't the kind of father to play endless rounds of tag," Prince Harry did share a sweet childhood memory playing with his father. 

"He'd chased us all over Sandringham, making up wonderful games, like the one where he wrapped us in blankets, like hot dogs, until we screamed with helpless laughter, and then yanked the blanket and shot us out of the other end. I don’t know if Willy or I have ever laughed harder. But, long before we were ready, he stopped engaging in that kind of physical fun."

Affectionate father

Prince Harry and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales arrive to attend the 'International Year of The Reef' 2018 meeting at Fishmongers Hall© Getty
The Duke revealed whilst hugging wasn't common, the King showed affection in his language and letters

Whilst Harry revealed throughout the memoir that his father's level of communication could have been much improved, particularly the lack of hugs and physical affection, he explained that in some ways he was affectionate and cited how Charles used to always sniff his and his brother, Prince William's hair. 

 "He was always sniffing things. Food, roses, our hair. He must’ve been a bloodhound in another life."

Another way in which Harry recalls Charles showed his affection throughout the book was through his words, always calling him "darling boy" and through letters. Although this was met with mixed emotions by the Duke. 

Harry revealed: "On occasion, after a long multi-course dinner, I’d walk upstairs and find a letter on my pillow. The letter would say how proud he was of me for something I’d done or accomplished. I’d smile, place it under my pillow, but also wonder why he hadn’t said this moments ago, while seated directly across from me."

Charles at home

Prince Charles With Prince William and Prince Harry At Beating The Retreat, Kensington Palace. © Getty
A then-Prince Charles with Prince William and Prince Harry At Beating The Retreat, Kensington Palace.

In the book, Harry brilliantly describes his father away from his royal role. In one moment, the Duke recalls Charles' nightly routine with his portable CD player, which he coined his "wireless".

Harry penned: "As we all stuffed our faces we heard Pa padding past in his slippers, coming from his bath. He was carrying his 'wireless,' which is what he called his portable CD player, on which he liked to listen to his 'storybooks' while soaking. Pa was like clockwork, so when we heard him in the hall we knew it was close to eight."

Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince William, and Prince Harry play on the bank of the River Dee, near Balmoral Estate, Scotland, on April 10,1987, in Ballater, Scotland.© Julian Parker
King Charles being led down a hill at Balmoral by Prince Harry and Prince William

The Prince also revealed his father's quirky side explaining that he used to perform headstands, which were prescribed to him by his physiotherapist as a result of old polo injuries, in his boxers. 

"He performed them daily, in just a pair of boxers, propped against a door or hanging from a bar like a skilled acrobat. If you set one little finger on the knob you’d hear him begging from the other side: 'No! No! Don’t open! Please God don’t open!'"

The King's special bond with Meghan 

The bride was pictured kissing her father-in-law King Charles© Netflix
King Charles kissing Meghan Markle on the cheek during her wedding

The King's "wireless" came up a number of times in the book, arguably most notably when Harry revealed the special way King Charles bonded with Meghan over music.

Harry explained that he and his then-bride-to-be were welcomed into Clarence House to sample music for their big day. As a classical music fan, Meghan instantly bonded with her future father-in-law. 

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during The Prince of Wales' 70th Birthday Patronage Celebration held at Buckingham Palace on May 22, 2018 in London© Getty
The pair bonded over their love of music according to the Duke

Harry confessed: "In her presence Pa became boyish. I saw it, saw the bond between them growing stronger, and I felt strengthened in my own bond with him. So many people were treating her shabbily, it filled my heart to see my father treating her like the princess she was about to—maybe born to—become."

Supportive father 

Charles, Harry and William enjoying a ski trip© Getty
Harry opened up about the times his father had supported him in Spare

It wasn't just classical music that Charles adored, but also Shakespeare and was sat front and centre for Prince Harry when he was cast as Conrade in Much Ado About Nothing at Eton. 

"Opening night, my father sat dead centre in a packed Farrer Theatre and no one had a better time. Here it was, his dream come true, a son performing Shakespeare, and he was getting his money’s worth.

Prince Charles With Prince Harry At Polvier, By The River Dee, Balmoral Castle Estate© Tim Graham
Charles was front and centre for Harry's role in Much Ado About Nothing whilst studying at Eton

"He roared, he howled, he applauded. But, inexplicably, at all the wrong moments."  Whilst this appeared to irk Harry, he did go on to explain that Charles once told him of grandfather, the late Prince Philip, did the same thing at Charles' Shakespeare production.

Another moment in which Charles appeared to support his youngest son was when photos of him playing pool naked were sold.

Harry described Charles reaction, explaining: "To my surprise and relief he was gentle. Even bemused. He’d felt for me, he said, he’d been there," Harry wrote.

Harry's anxiety 

King Charles and Prince Harry take the ski lift at their skiing holiday to Klosters, Switzerland in 1999© Getty
Harry confessed that he was grateful for his father's apology after opening up about his anxiety

Whilst Harry has spoken about there needing to be more support from his father when his mother, Princess Diana, passed away in 1997, one moment the Duke did appreciate is when he opened up about his panic attacks and anxiety to his father.

Harry opened up about a conversation the pair had at Highgrove: "Pa and I spoke at some length about what I’d been suffering. I gave him the particulars, told him story after story. Towards the end of the meal, he looked down at his plate and said softly: I suppose it’s my fault. I should’ve got you the help you needed years ago. I assured him that it wasn't his fault. But I appreciated the apology."

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