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Prince Harry heads back to US after 30-minute talk with Charles after spending just 24 hours in the UK
7 February 2024, 14:13 | Updated: 7 February 2024, 14:27
Prince Harry is jetting back to the US this afternoon to be with Meghan and his children after a whistle-stop trip to see his father, who has been diagnosed with cancer.
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Harry was escorted through to the Windsor Lounge at Heathrow Airport after spending 24 hours in the UK, and having a 30-minute face-to-face meeting with King Charles.
He flew into London on a ten-hour flight from LA and arrived at the royal residence yesterday afternoon.
They had a brief meeting and Harry spent the night in a luxury hotel before heading back to Heathrow to make the 5,000 mile return journey home.
Their meeting raised hopes they will be reconciled despite their troubled relationship.
The King made a "significant" decision to delay his travel plans after his son's gesture to fly across the Atlantic at short notice - leaving his helicopter waiting so he could personally welcome Harry at Clarence House.
Prince William meanwhile resumed royal duties today - as his wife Princess Kate recovers from surgery and King Charles starts cancer treatment.
The second-in-line to the throne carried out an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle.
He was last seen in public on January 18, at the London Clinic, where Kate was recuperating from an abdominal operation.
King Charles was also admitted to the hospital for prostate treatment, which ultimately led to his cancer being diagnosed. The type of cancer has not been revealed.
The prince will need support from other senior royals to represent the monarchy, with Kate off public appearances for several weeks. The King has also begun his treatment for cancer.
But despite the monarch meeting Prince Harry on Tuesday, after his son flew in from the US, there are no plans for the two brothers to reunite.
It was reported Harry would have "gladly" accepted a meeting with William - but he instead spent the night in a London hotel, it was reported.
He is said to have enjoyed a "warm" meeting with his father at Clarence House before the King flew to Sandringham.
Harry and the King could meet again after the pair spent 30 minutes talking together in their first face-to-face meeting for 16 months.
And while royal commentators have said Harry’s trip to see his father raises hopes of healing the family rift, the chances of reconciliation between Harry and William’s "incredibly broken" relationship are slim.
Harry is unlikely to visit his sister-in-law during his trip to the UK after her illness due to his rift with William.
King Charles delayed his helicopter which was headed for Sandringham in order to catch up with his son, Prince Harry, for the first time since the monarch's cancer diagnosis.
Harry travelled alone, with his wife, Meghan Markle, and their children, Archie and Lilibet, back at home in California.
It is the first time the pair have met face-to-face since Queen Elizabeth II's death in September 2022, although Harry did attend his father's Coronation in 2023 and they have spoken over the phone.
Charles was pictured leaving shortly after the meeting, and was seen smiling and waving to photographers and well-wishers.
It is the first time the King has been seen since his cancer diagnosis was revealed by Buckingham Palace on Monday evening.
The Palace has not disclosed what form of cancer the monarch has, nor what treatment he is receiving.
But he is said to be doing well, with one source telling The Sun that you 'wouldn't know something was wrong' if you didn't know him.
Royal expert explains why Harry and Meghan's 'American media life' is failing
Prince William is said to be focused solely on his wife, Kate, as she continues to recover from her abdominal surgery.
The future King is expected to take on more public duties as his father and wife recover from their respective illnesses.
'House of Windsor' needs Harry back in the fold, royal author tells LBC
According to one royal author, the illnesses of Charles and Kate reveal a weakness with the King's plan to have a more slimmed-down monarchy.
She even suggested Charles would be more than happy to welcome Prince Harry back into the fold.
Tina Brown, former Vanity Fair editor and author of 'The Palace Papers', told LBC's Andrew Marr: “I think what we’re seeing at the moment is the smaller and smaller line-up for the so-called firm, it’s a tiny boutique with hardly anyone to play
“They’ve needed him for quite a time.
“The problem is there’s no way in the world that William wants Harry back or feels comfortable with Harry coming back, and how they work that out is going to be painful.
“House of Windsor needs Harry."