Watch: Charles urged to help fix Harry and William's relationship
The Duke of Sussex is due to appear at the King’s upcoming coronation amid his strained relationship with his father and brother.
It will be their first meeting since Harry’s controversial memoir, “Spare”, was released earlier this year. His book contained claims his father put his own interests above Harry’s and was jealous of his wife, the Duchess of Sussex. There was also the incendiary claim that William physically attacked Harry during an argument about Meghan.
Buckingham Palace has yet to comment on any of the claims.
Speaking at a "Future of the Monarchy" roundtable discussion hosted by Yahoo News UK's royal executive editor Omid Scobie, author Catherine Mayer suggested the King has always lacked the ability to empathise with his sons - and that this has been a case of history repeating itself after the King’s own parent were often absent during his own childhood.
Mayer, whose biography on Charles - "The Heart of a King" - was published in 2015, said: “I was with some people recently who are actual friends of Charles and Camilla and they were aghast, going: ‘We understand that this is a difficult situation, but surely as a father you would just put your arms out.’
“People close to them see it that way… that’s the way the wider world is seeing it.”
She also referred to the “anger” Harry and William have appeared to carry through the years.
“I’ve not spent much time around Harry or William - [though] a little more around William - [but] both of them struck me as angry in different ways, back then, before any of this [the fallout after Harry and Meghan announced they would be stepping back as senior royals in 2020] blew up.
“You could see Harry was somebody you would get that sort of pink flush coming up his neck when he didn’t like something. You could see everything he was thinking. And William was just clenched.
“My point here is that this has been brewing up in a dysfunctional family.”
Mayer said people were “quick to rubbish” Spare but pointed out the book carried “historical significance” from Harry's references to the King’s parenting.
“[The book] was very good on Charles sort of always there at night with his red boxes and his writing of memos… he’s a bit hapless and funny and hopeless in all sorts of ways. And eccentric. But he’s also absent.
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“Charles himself was farmed out at a ludicrously young age, he had this upbringing devoid of decent parenting and then, of course, it’s replicating.”
Meanwhile, with the King having been unable to bring together his feuding sons, royal commentator Robert Jobson - another Charles biographer - dismissed suggestions that it's a failure of his leadership and said William and Harry should take responsibility.
“I think this is all a question of trust and trust takes time to build. Harry has shown no reason why they should trust him and speak to him without blurting to all his pals [which he’s done] time and time again.
“Until they can actually come up with a trustworthy situation, it’s going to be difficult. I think the King obviously loves both his sons the same and will want to try and build bridges. He’s not someone who likes confrontation - never has been - but unfortunately both his sons are quite volatile and quite confrontational.
“I think it’s time that maybe two 40-year-old men, rather than being regarded as boys screwing up, became men… and support their father.”