Prince Harry's Father's Day Will Be "Tinged With Loneliness," Insider Says
Harry feels "more cut off than ever," said a source, adding that the Duke "feels helpless and frustrated."
Prince Harry has been holed up with Meghan Markle and their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, at Tyler Perry's mansion in Los Angeles since the coronavirus pandemic hit. And while L.A. can be a lonely place even without the outbreak that has kept its citizens home for the past three months, the extended separation from his friends and family—particularly Prince Charles—has filled Harry with feelings of isolation. As a result, the Duke is bracing for a Father's Day weekend "tinged with loneliness," an insider says.
"Last year, even with his struggles within the royal family, Harry's first Father's Day was a joyous time," says my source. "This year, because he feels so cut off from his own father and the rest of the royal family, who have not seen Archie since last fall, except on the occasional Zoom call, the Duke is feeling the full weight of his separation from his family. He is saddened by the knowledge that Archie is missing out on getting to know his grandfather as well as the rest of the Royal family."
When Harry and Meghan officially stepped down as senior royals and embarked on their new life in North America at the end of March, the Duke of Sussex "felt very let down," my insider says. The Megixt negotiations had not gone as he had hoped and did not allow him and Meghan to continue acting as part-time royals, serving the crown while pursuing the "financial independence" that the couple craved.
"When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex left for Canada, there were a lot of hard feelings. He and the Duke of Cambridge were barely on speaking terms," says the insider. "But a lot has changed since then."
Just days after it was revealed that Harry and Meghan had left Canada for the U.S., it was announced that Prince Charles had tested positive for the coronavirus and was self-isolating at Birkhall, his home in Scotland, with his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Their father's illness resurrected the brotherly bond between Harry and Prince William, who were "putting their differences aside over their mutual concern for their father," a source told me at the time. After that, they began "talking regularly."
"When the Prince of Wales was diagnosed with the coronavirus, Harry was worried about his father and reconnected with William as a result. It was a bit of a wake-up call," my insider says.
With no end in sight to the coronavirus outbreak—on top of the recent news that most of California's new cases are in Los Angeles County–Harry feels "more cut off than ever," says my source. "There was no way anyone could have known the separation from friends and family due to self-isolation would have gone on for this long. Like a lot of other people, Harry feels helpless and frustrated. He's happy to be with Meghan and Archie, but he is very much aware of how much his son is missing out not spending time with his grandfather."
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Prince Charles (who has recovered from the virus and has resumed his royal duties) recently shared his own frustration over being separated from his family in an unusually personal interview with Sky News. He said he found the entire situation "terribly sad."
"I haven't seen my father for a long time. He's going to be 99 next week… or my grandchildren or anything," he said. "I've been doing the FaceTime, which is all very well… But it isn't the same, is it? You really want to give people a hug every now and then."
While Charles and William have grown closer since Harry and Meghan's departure from royal life, enough time has passed that Harry has grown to miss his father a great deal, according my to sources. "They were always very close," says one insider. "In many ways, Harry was closer to Charles than William was. He was only 12 years old when Diana died and his relationship with his father—and his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh—meant everything to him."
The source continued: "Now that Harry is a father himself, he has a deeper understanding of the special bond between fathers and sons. He adores his son and wants him to have that same special relationship with his grandfather that he has always had. Prince Charles was Meghan's great champion and wants his son to be happy in his new life. Harry may wind up happier outside the royal bubble, but it's where his family is and he can't deny what that means in the bigger picture. This year, Father's Day will be a lonely and stark reminder of what it feels like not being part of that." And for more on Harry's post-royal struggles, check out Why Prince Harry Is Having "His Toughest Week" Yet Since Leaving Britain.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.