After flying approximately 11,000 miles for just a 25-hour visit in the U.K., Prince Harry returned home to California last night, landing at LAX at 6:16 p.m. local time. After agreeing to wait for news of King Charles’ cancer diagnosis to break on Monday before flying out, Harry departed LAX that day, landed at Heathrow on Tuesday, and then departed on Wednesday to return back home to his wife, Meghan Markle, and their children Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.
The Mirror reports that Harry was apparently so eager to get home to his family that he switched flights to bump his departure time up. The outlet reports that Harry landed at 6:16 p.m. on a Delta flight, and “it is believed the prince caught the Delta flight because the British Airways flight he was expected to take was delayed by two hours,” the outlet writes.
Harry’s return to the U.S. comes after he “reportedly spent just half an hour with his father after making the journey to visit him following his health news,” The Mirror writes. Buckingham Palace announced on Monday that King Charles had been diagnosed with cancer and was in outpatient treatment for it, though the Palace declined to specify what type of cancer specifically or what stage the cancer is in.
The visit was said to have, per The Mirror, “caused some disquiet” by Harry “taking it upon himself” to fly to the U.K. “without an invite and at such short notice,” the outlet reports.
According to The Daily Mail, Harry’s surprise arrival in the U.K. reportedly halted plans for Charles to fly to Sandringham with Queen Camilla. Instead, Charles remained at his London residence, Clarence House, to meet his younger son, “although an invitation for Harry to stay was not extended,” The Mirror reports. Harry didn’t end up staying at a royal residence at all, opting for a luxury hotel instead.
Harry arrived at Clarence House around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, accompanied by a police escort. Just 30 minutes later, at 3:45 p.m., the King and Queen were seen waving to crowds as they left Clarence House, “signifying that the meeting between father and son was over and didn’t last long,” The Mirror continues.
“It is striking that Harry was not invited to stay at Clarence House or, indeed, at any other royal residence,” royal expert Robert Jobson wrote in The Daily Mail. “So last minute was the decision to fly that he had to book a hotel room for the night.” Jobson added that "This impromptu visit, while well-intentioned, has served as a sad reminder of the continuing rift within the family, a burden Charles can ill afford in his current state when all his energy must be focused on the challenge of his health.”
The Daily Express clocked Harry’s trip as approximately 11,000 miles; this is believed to have been Charles and Harry’s first face-to-face meetup since the Queen’s funeral in September 2022. Harry did return to the U.K. two other times since then (for Charles’ Coronation in May of last year and for an engagement last September) but isn’t believed to have interacted with his father for any significant period of time.