Prince Harry backed by Diana's family at Invictus Games service after being snubbed by King twice during UK visit

9 May 2024, 06:18 | Updated: 9 May 2024, 09:59

Harry was joined for the service of thanksgiving by close relatives of his mother
Harry was joined for the service of thanksgiving by close relatives of his mother. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Prince Harry was supported by Diana's family at the 10th anniversary of his Invictus Games on Wednesday after being snubbed by the King.

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Harry was joined for the service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral by close relatives of his mother Diana, including her brother Earl Spencer and her sister Lady Jane Fellowes.

Former army officer Mark Dyer, who acted as his mentor and played the role of a brother figure after Diana's death, was also in attendance.

Harry cut a lonely figure as he made his way into the cathedral on his own though, with wife Meghan having stayed in the US.

The service, to recognise the Paralympic-style competition the royal founded, kicked off just a few miles away from the King, who met guests at the first Buckingham Palace garden party of the year.

Read more: King Charles and Prince Harry at London events just two miles apart - but no hope for reunion between father and son

Read more: Prince Harry snubbed by King Charles for second time as he makes Prince William Colonel in Chief of his old regiment

Prince Harry arrives for Invictus Games service at St Pauls

Harry and Lady Jane talking at the event
Harry and Lady Jane talking at the event. Picture: Getty

Huge crowds gathered outside the cathedral to see Harry's car pull up ahead of the event.

He acknowledged them with a wave as he strode up St Paul's steps and was greeted by the Dean of St Paul's, the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett.

Once he was inside, he spoke to the clergy and Earl Spencer before taking his seat.

The St Paul's congregation of just over 1,000 people gave a standing ovation after ex-RAF servicewoman Michelle Turner, husband John and daughter Maya each read verses of a poem that described their experiences following Ms Turner's medical discharge, after a tropical disease she caught while on deployment affected her heart.

Prince Harry arriving at the service
Prince Harry arriving at the service. Picture: Getty

Ms Turner, Team UK captain for the 2018 Games, told guests: "Wounded, injured, sick, and now with no career: consumed by insecurities, the pain and the fear.

"Our lives were upside down, how could it be, that the little girl I was meant to protect, was now looking after me." ]

At the end, after her voice broke with emotion as she said "Thank you Invictus for giving my life back."

The Dean of St Paul's echoed her words in his sermon when he said the Invictus Games Foundation, which organises the competition, was " ... not only changing lives through sport but quite literally by saving lives".

Harry later joined some of the Invictus community for a private reception in the cathedral's crypt.

Harry meeting supporters after the service
Harry meeting supporters after the service. Picture: Getty

It came after there was speculation that the prince would meet with the King during his short trip back home, but Charles' "full programme" meant the get-together would not happen.

The pair last met soon after the King announced his cancer diagnosis in February, with Harry rushing from the US to see his father.

A spokesperson for Harry said: "In response to the many inquiries and continued speculation on whether or not the duke will meet with his father while in the UK this week, it unfortunately will not be possible due to His Majesty's full programme.

"The duke of course is understanding of his father's diary of commitments and various other priorities and hopes to see him soon."

Just hours later, it was revealed that the pair would not meet, Buckingham Palace also announced that Prince William would be made Colonel-in-Chief of Harry's old regiment.

The King and William will attend a joint engagement next week, where the prince will be made the Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps, Buckingham Palace said.

Before Harry stepped back from royal duties in 2020, it was believed he would take on the role after he toured Afghanistan with the regiment until 2014.

The passing on of the position, which Charles has held for 31 years, will take place in front of an Apache - the same type of helicopter Harry flew in.

A source told The Sun: "Timing is everything."

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