Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have hit back at a report claiming they turned down an invitation to King Charles 75th birthday, insisting they’d never even received one.
The Sunday Times claimed over the weekend that the Duke of Sussex had rejected the King’s olive branch offer, which would have seen him – and possibly his wife – reunite with his family for an intimate celebration at Clarence House on November 14.
However, the Sussex’s spokesman has released a statement, pointedly remarking that they were actually left off the guest list entirely.
“In response to UK media headlines, there has been no contact regarding an invitation to his majesty’s upcoming birthday,” Ashley Hansen told New York Post.
“It is disappointing the Sunday Times has misreported this story.”
The couple’s alleged lack of invitation to such an important family event is in stark contrast to just five years ago, when they reportedly delayed their honeymoon to attend Charles’ 70th birthday party, and even posed for a series of portraits with Harry’s family.
Less than 18 months on from that landmark event, the duke and duchess had released an extraordinary statement announcing their intention to step back from official royal duties and moved to Canada.
Just months later, they settled permanently in the exclusive celebrity-loved town of Montecito, in California, and delivered their explosive Oprah Winfrey tell-all interview, which lifted the lid on all their grievances within the royal family for the first time.
What followed was their Netflix series, which shared even more damaging claims against Harry’s relatives, and his bombshell memoir, Spare, in January.
As a result, it’s understood Prince William has since had no contact with his younger brother – and that while Charles feels “conciliatory” and saddened by the rift with his son, heavy tension also remains between them.
“When he gets to the end of another successful work day and thinks of his family, there will always be a twinge in his heart about a problem he hasn’t been able to solve yet,” a friend of the King’s told The Times recently.
“But he will be taking the long-term view. The current act is a challenging one. There are issues that aren’t resolved and there won’t be a rapprochement any time soon.
“There is the sense of a cooling-off period from the family that is under way after the aftershocks of the book and interviews. But that doesn’t change the King’s love for his son. He’ll never not invite his son to a family gathering, because that’s not who he is.”
The alleged snub followed reports in September that the King had extended an offer for Harry to visit him in Balmoral during his son’s fly-in, fly-out visit to the UK.
However, Harry – who was already in the UK for the annual WellChild Awards in London – reportedly turned him down, instead spending the September 8 anniversary of the late Queen’s death alone before heading to Germany for the Invictus Games.
It was also reported at the time that the rejected offer came after Harry put in a formal request to the King’s office for royal accommodation and security during his one-night stopover.