The Duke and Duchess of Sussex saw Charles and Camilla, now Queen Consort, on their way to the Invictus Games in April 2022 but turned up 15 minutes late, according to upcoming biography The New Royals, by royal correspondent Katie Nicholl.
Harry had met his family without her at Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021 at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, Berkshire, and again in July 2021 when unveiling a statue of his mother, Princess Diana, with Prince William at Kensington Palace, London.
However, for Meghan, this was her first return to Britain since quitting royal life in March 2020 to live in the U.S., and the couple had a later meeting planned with Queen Elizabeth II.
In an extract serialized in Vanity Fair, Nicholl wrote: “Charles insisted on meeting Harry and Meghan before their audience with the queen. According to one insider, he wanted to make sure Harry wouldn’t be able to sweet-talk her the way Andrew had and get her to agree to anything without Charles’s say-so.
“The meeting with Charles and Camilla was more awkward than their cordial tea with the queen. The Sussexes were late, and Charles had just 15 minutes with his son and daughter-in-law before he had to leave for the Royal Maundy Service at Windsor Castle, where he was standing in for the queen for the very first time.
“While father and son are said to have greeted each other warmly, there were moments of tension.”
A family friend of the royals told Nicholl: “Harry went in with hugs and the best of intentions and said he wanted to clear the air.
“He actually suggested that they use a mediator to try and sort things out, which had Charles somewhat bemused and Camilla spluttering into her tea. She told Harry it was ridiculous and that they were a family and would sort it out between themselves.”
Harry said: “Being with her, it was great. It was just so nice to see her. She’s on great form.
“She’s always got a great sense of humor with me and I’m just making sure that she’s, you know, protected and got the right people around her.”
Harry said: “Both Meghan and I had tea with her so it was really nice to catch up with her. You know, home—home for me, now, is, you know, for the time being, in the States.
“And it feels that way as well. We’ve been welcomed with open arms and we have such a great community up in Santa Barbara.”
However, Harry at the time was less positive about Charles and his brother Prince William, swerving a question when asked whether he missed them.
Harry said: “At the moment, I’m here focused on these guys [at the Invictus Games] and these families and giving everything I can, 120 percent to them to make sure that they have the experience of a lifetime. That’s my focus here.”
After the queen died on September 8, the royals put on a display of unity, with an olive branch from Charles to Harry and Meghan in his first public broadcast as king on September 9.
Harry and Meghan joined Prince William and Kate Middleton for a walkabout in Windsor on September 10 and took part in several events in Elizabeth’s honor, including her state funeral on Monday.
However, the tension was visible below the surface in disputes over whether Harry wore his uniform, a missing emblem on his shoulder and a mix-up over whether Harry and Meghan would attend a reception for world leaders.