Not a good look, Harry: Critics claim Duke made transatlantic dash for 30 minute meeting with his cancer-stricken father knowing that he would be seen ‘enjoying glitzy Super Bowl festivities’ just 24 hours later
Prince Harry flew to London to avoid being seen at ‘glitzy Super Bowl festivities’ in Las Vegas for the first time since his father’s cancer diagnosis, royal watchers have claimed.
The Duke of Sussex, 39, flew more than 5,000 miles from his home in California to London on Tuesday for what ended up being a 30-minute meeting with his father.
But he flew back to his home in Montecito after just one day in the UK – after reportedly spending the night in a luxury hotel rather than a royal residence.
Royal commentator Robert Jobson previously told Mail+ that Prince Harry’s trip was unplanned and ‘unplanned’, with critics now questioning whether it was a deliberate decision to be seen rushing to the king’s side.
Harry appeared at an official event for the first time since his father’s diagnosis last night to make a packed speech at the NFL Awards in Las Vegas.
Prince Harry returned to the United States to present an NFL award just a day after leaving the UK following a brief meeting with his cancer-stricken father King Charles III – who made a packed speech
Prince Harry flew from Los Angeles to London on a ten-hour flight on Tuesday, arriving at the royal residence at 2.42pm before spending around 45 minutes with Charles.
After meeting his son, King Charles left Clarence House with Queen Camilla on Tuesday
Questions are now being asked about whether his sudden rush to the UK was fueled by the knowledge that just 24 hours later he would be ‘enjoying’ the glitzy festivities at the Las Vegas event.
One critic posted on X: ‘Had Prince Harry not flown to London with his father for those 30 minutes, the first images of him after the King’s cancer diagnosis would have been of him enjoying glamorous Super Bowl festivities. ‘
Mr Jobson said that while Charles would in fact have been touched by his ‘darling boy’s’ gesture, it caused ‘some unease’ as the Duke ‘took it upon himself’ to fly over ‘unpopularly’ .
Harry is not expected to be seen again until he travels to Canada next week with Meghan for an Invictus Games event, but shocked royal fans by appearing to present the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award .
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward, who collected the award, was just as surprised to see him hug the Duke before exclaiming: ‘Prince freakin Harry, I’m just shocked, it’s Prince Harry’.
The Duke gave a very British speech, mocking the differences between rugby and American football – such as the fact that the NFL season is only 18 weeks long and that players get a ‘break every 15 seconds’.
But there was no mention of his father, his trip to London or the rest of his family.
Prince Harry took a ten-hour flight from Los Angeles to London on Tuesday and arrived at Clarence House before spending around 45 minutes with Charles following the king’s surprise cancer revelation.
It has since been claimed that King Charles was ready to leave Clarence House for Sandringham, where he will spend most of his time during treatment to recover, but was forced to wait after his son cleared his diary and on the first available hopped on a flight from LA.
Prince Harry arrives back at LAX after a short trip to London to briefly see his father
An animated Cameron Hayward of the Pittsburgh Steelers poses for a portrait after winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
Robert Jobson said: ‘Frankly, the King was unhappy at what amounted to a fait accompli served by an emotional but well-meaning boy.’
He added: ‘Thanks to Harry’s intervention, their majesties were kicked out at Clarence House, their main London home, while they waited for the errant younger son to appear.
‘It is notable that Harry has not been invited to stay at Clarence House or, indeed, any other royal residence. So at the last minute the decision to fly was that he had to book a hotel room for the night.
“And if the Prince had expected to spend some ‘quality time’ at Sandringham House to perhaps talk about the good old days, or to rebuild the paternal bond, he would have been disappointed.”
He and Harry had a ‘brief meeting’ before the King and Camilla were driven to Buckingham Palace where a helicopter was waiting to take them back to their Norfolk retreat.
The Duke reportedly did not see his brother William or sister-in-law Kate Middleton, who is recovering from abdominal surgery and on extended leave.
Royal experts said it was a sign of how deep the rift between the brothers had become.
“William showed today that he has disowned Harry, he doesn’t want to know him, and he probably doesn’t even like him anymore. Harry is just not part of his life,” said Jennie Bond.
“That rift is so deep now, and it’s been shown by Harry being here and not meeting them, so deep that I really wonder if it can ever, ever be mended.”
Doctors discovered the king’s cancer during an operation to treat a benign enlarged prostate just over a week earlier, according to the palace.
The type and stage of cancer was not disclosed, but Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told the BBC it was caught ‘early’.
The choice to make the diagnosis public is a marked difference from monarchs of the past, who always kept their health struggles extremely private.
According to the palace, the king hopes that the announcement will encourage others to have their concerns examined by a medical professional.
Prince Harry’s representatives have been contacted for comment.