King Charles personally notified both of his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, about his cancer diagnosis following a corrective procedure for a benign enlarged prostate on January 26. During that procedure, cancer was found, although it is not of the prostate. The announcement was made publicly of the King’s diagnosis on February 5, and that same day, Harry boarded a plane from LAX to Heathrow to see his father the next day, on February 6. After just 25 hours in the U.K., Harry returned home to California last night, touching down at LAX at 6:16 p.m. local time.
Body language expert Judi James told The Mirror that it appeared Harry left the U.K. with a “sense of reassurance,” she said. “Harry’s relieved-looking body language here will hopefully provide some positive clues about his father’s current condition. His shoulders and body look relaxed and the way he thrusts his hands into his pockets as he walks suggests more of a casual ‘mooch’ than any sign of tension or anxiety.”
She continued that “His eye expression looks animated, with an eye smile, and he appears to be enjoying a joke or sharing laughter with the people accompanying him. The suggestion here is that he is hopefully leaving the U.K. with some sense of reassurance, having seen his father for their brief meeting.”
Charles apparently delayed a planned helicopter trip from his London home, Clarence House, to Sandringham to see his son. The two spoke at Clarence House for about 30 minutes before the King’s cancer treatments reportedly rendered him too tired to do much more. The King and Queen Camilla were then seen waving to well-wishers as they departed via helicopter for their country home at Norfolk.
“[Charles] desperately wants to reconcile with Harry,” royal expert Katie Nicholl said on Tuesday, per Page Six. “His father personally telephoned him to inform him of his cancer diagnosis, [and] Harry jumped on the overnight flight from Los Angeles.”
Nicholl said the father-son reunion was likely very “emotional”: “The King would have been hugely relieved and comforted by the fact that Harry flew over,” she said, per Page Six, adding that the meeting was “probably quite difficult for both of them.”
That said, she added, “I think it’s absolutely fundamental and important [in] healing the rift,” Nicholl said, adding that the meetup indicates “a real thawing in the relations between Charles and his son.”
“I know, for Charles, the door has always been left open regardless of some of the things Harry has written,” Nicholl said, referring, of course, to Harry’s bestselling memoir Spare, released in January 2023. “I was told by a source very close to the King that whatever Harry has said or done, he loves his son. I think when someone has a serious health scare like this, it does make you reassess things, and I think that’s why Harry got on the first flight he could.”
Though the relationship between William and Harry still seems to be firmly on ice, royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams said, per The Daily Mail, the fact that Harry made the transatlantic trip at all shows hope for reconciliation between Harry and the rest of the royal family. “The whole situation has changed with cancer,” he said. “The fact the King has been diagnosed with something that millions know is life-threatening has changed the whole relationship between the royal family and the Sussexes. The only way for a family to fight cancer is to come together. A lot has been made of the length of Harry’s visit and how quickly he left, but that isn’t the point. The point is that Harry came—and Charles shared the diagnosis with him. What he wanted was to express support.”
Fitzwilliams added as a hopeful footnote, “I hope this could be the beginning of some form of reconciliation.” Us, too.