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Harry heads back to California after flying visit to see King Charles following cancer diagnosis

Prince Harry (REUTERS)
Prince Harry (REUTERS)

The Duke of Sussex is heading back to California after a 24-hour visit to the London to see his father.

Harry, 39, was spotted at Heathrow airport on Wednesday afternoon, a day after he jetted in for his California home following the shock news that King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer.

He was believed to have spent the night in a London hotel following his transatlantic dash to see his father.

The King called Harry to tell him the news of his cancer diagnosis, with the duke travelling 5,000 miles from his home in the US.

Harry spent less than an hour with the King but did not meet his brother the Prince of Wales despite some hopes that the news of their father’s illness would spark a royal reconciliation.

Their meeting at Clarence House saw the King take the unusual step of delaying his helicopter flight to Sandringham so the pair could spend some time together. Royal insiders described the King’s decision to pause his own travel plans as “significant” after Harry, inset, dropped everything to fly to the UK at short notice.

Charles and Harry together in 2014 (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)
Charles and Harry together in 2014 (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

It was the first time father and son have met privately face to face since the death of the Queen in September 2022, though they speak on the phone. Harry did not spend the night in any royal residence, with him being effectively homeless on British soil since his eviction from Frogmore Cottage last year. It is thought he may have instead stayed in a hotel in central London. It was reported Harry would have been open to meeting William.

But the heir to the throne is looking after his wife Kate, who only recently left hospital herself after abdominal surgery, and their three children. He is also set to step up his royal duties while the King undergoes treatment for cancer. Former equerry Mark Dyer, who helped look after the boys while they were growing up, has been named as a possible go-between for the estranged brothers.

Harry’s decision to quit as a working royal and leave for California with his family ruptured their relationship but it is believed the real damage was done when Harry and his wife, Meghan, went public with their views on the royal family.

Their interview with Oprah Winfrey — which included allegations that an unnamed royal made comments about the colour of Archie’s skin before he was born — and Harry’s memoir Spare all but destroyed his relationship with William.

Harry revealed the King pleaded with his sons not to make his “final years a misery” during a meeting after the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.