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Prince Harry returns to California after 24-hour UK visit

Prince Harry returns to California after 24-hour UK visit
Published 2 weeks ago on Feb 07, 2024

Prince Harry heads home after just 24 hours in the UK: Duke arrives at Heathrow a day after meeting King for 45 minutes in London following his shock cancer diagnosis - and without meeting William or Kate.

Prince Harry is seen arriving at Heathrow Airport this afternoon as his 24-hour trip to London finished

Prince Harry is making his way back to California after a transatlantic dash to see King Charles III in London following the monarch's shock cancer diagnosis - despite only seeing his father for 45 minutes and not meeting his brother Prince William.  

The Duke of Sussex returned to Heathrow this afternoon, just 24 hours after being driven from the same airport to Clarence House under a police escort yesterday. 

Harry, 39, arrived just before 2pm - and if he is on board British Airways flight 269, due to leave at 3.05pm, he will be back in Los Angeles for 6.30pm local time.  
He flew into London on a ten-hour flight from Los Angeles yesterday and arrived at the royal residence at 2.42pm before spending around 45 minutes with Charles. 

They had a 'brief meeting' before the King and Camilla were driven to Buckingham Palace where a helicopter was waiting to take them back to Sandringham in Norfolk. 

The Duke is not believed to have seen his brother William or sister-in-law Kate Middleton, who is recovering from her abdominal surgery and on extended leave. 

Harry had flown more than 5,000 miles yesterday from Los Angeles to London after his father informed him of his devastating diagnosis. It was their first formal meeting in person since the late Queen Elizabeth II's funeral in September 2022. 

The prince did attend Charles's coronation at Westminster Abbey in May last year but was not seen interacting with the newly-crowned King and Queen. 
A palace source indicated to The Times that Harry and the King's meeting was brief because Charles was tired from a procedure on Monday.  
But they said the King, 75, and Queen, 76, were 'coping magnificently', adding: 'If you didn't know what was the matter, you wouldn't have any idea that he had any condition at all.'   

While there may have been a thaw between father and son, Harry's trip did not include a reunion with his brother Prince William.  

There had been hopes that it would have been a chance for the brothers to salvage their strained relationship. 

William, 41, has remained focused on tending to his wife Kate, who is recovering from her abdominal surgery and is taking extended leave from public duties until after Easter. 

But the Prince of Wales returned to public work today, carrying out an investiture at Windsor Castle in the morning before later attending a gala for the London Air Ambulance Service in the evening.  

William is expected to speak about his father's cancer diagnosis for the first time.  
Last night, it was claimed that Harry 'would have gladly accepted' a reunion with his brother William but instead has 'spent a night in a London hotel'. 
Harry, who was pictured being driven into Clarence House yesterday, did not spend the night in any royal residence, with him being effectively homeless on UK soil since his eviction from Frogmore Cottage last year. 

The duke is now making his way back to his Montecito home in California, where he will be reunited with his wife Meghan Markle and two children Archie, four, and Lilibet, two, following his pit stop in London.  

Harry is set to join Meghan in Canada next week for an event to commemorate a year until the Invictus Games in Vancouver and Whistler. 

The Duke of Sussex is greeted at the Windsor Suite at London Heathrow Airport this afternoon

Although Harry and the Prince of Wales did not meet during the Duke's stay, it is understood mutual friend Mark Dyer - who was a mentor to the princes after the death of Diana - could act as bridge between the siblings. 

A source told The Times former Welsh Guards officer Mr Dyer, who recently recovered from stomach cancer, has been offering Harry support in recent years. 
'Mark can always be relied upon to talk sense into Harry and will be a stoic under-the-radar support for Harry in what has the propensity to be a stress-inducing time for him, the source said. 
Those close to Harry said he would have embraced the opportunity to meet with his brother, with an insider adding: 'The Duke's primary reason to travel to the UK is to visit his father. If the opportunity were to arise to see the Prince of Wales then the Duke would have gladly accepted it.' 

It was hoped Harry's return to Britain could help heal wounds with King Charles and a chance to reach out to his William amid years of strained relations. 

Harry and Meghan abandoned royal duties in early 2020 to live in the US.  

The Duke has been critical of his family in TV interviews and his book, Spare, which was published last year. 

The bombshell book featured staggering insights into the prince's relationship with his father and brother.  

Harry has barely spoken with his father since the death of Queen Elizabeth II and it is reported there was no contact when he celebrated his 39th birthday in September. 

Charles had called him personally to tell him the devastating news and the Duke  immediately jumped on a plane so he could get to the UK as soon as possible. 

A luxury Range Rover believed to be carrying the British royal was seen arriving at LAX's VIP terminal on Monday night and he boarded the earliest flight so he could be in London by lunchtime yesterday. 
Harry was accompanied by police security despite his ongoing row with the Home Office. 
In Spare, Harry had revealed that Charles had urged his warring sons: 'Please boys, don't make my final years a misery.'  

And his trip may have been motivated by that plea. 

Prince William returned to public duties today. Here, he is pictured awarding Brigadier Tobias Lambert an OBE during an investitures ceremony at Windsor Castle

Daily Mail Diary editor Richard Eden said yesterday that Harry and Charles held a 'brief meeting' before the King returned to Sandringham. 

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams also said: 'I'm sure Harry will put aside the past right now for this serious issue. The Royal family - including the Sussexes - it's so important that everyone is pulling in the right direction'. 

Kristina Kyriacou, the King's former press secretary, added: 'Charles adores Harry. He didn't want any of this estrangement. If out of bad news, some good news comes and Harry and the King and the Queen and his brother are reunited - how wonderful.' 

The King had been taken to London from Sandringham by helicopter on Monday to begin outpatient cancer treatment. 
He then spent Monday night at home in London - as family and friends revealed that the monarch remains 'hugely positive' following his bombshell diagnosis.  
But he may miss public duties for a number of months, it has been claimed. 

The King and Camilla landed back at Sandringham in Norfolk at around 4.20pm yesterday, having left London immediately after the monarch met his son, Harry.  

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said yesterday that he was 'shocked and sad' to hear about the King's cancer diagnosis but revealed: 'Thankfully this has been caught early'. 

The King contacted both Harry and William personally to tell them of his cancer diagnosis before it was announced by Buckingham Palace at 6pm on Monday. 

The Palace said doctors discovered the cancer during a medical procedure for an enlarged prostate last month. Sources have suggested that the cancer is in a different part of the King's body but was discovered during the surgery last week.  

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: 'During The King's recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer. 
'His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual. 
'The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible. 

'His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.' 

The palace said the King 'looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible', but it is not yet known whether it will affect his attendance at events such as those marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day in June. 

It is understood he will continue to receive red boxes and process state documents during treatment and there are no plans to appoint Counsellors of State. 

A palace spokesman said: 'Regrettably, a number of the King's forthcoming public engagements will have to be rearranged or postponed. 

'His Majesty would like to apologise to all those who may be disappointed or inconvenienced as a consequence.' 
Despite the major concerns over Charles' health, MP Chris Bryant, who had surgery for skin cancer in March 2019, told Sky News:  'I think we should all calm down [about the King]. Cancer is not a death sentence. 
The worst day was that first night. It does get better. With my treatment they cut a chunk out of the back of my head as you know. It was all very frightening and I'm still here.' 

Charles has postponed all public-facing duties, but is continuing with behind-the-scenes work on his red boxes of state papers. 

The confirmation of William's return to official engagements will be seen as an attempt to signal stability within the monarchy despite the difficult times facing the royals. 

William, the Queen and the Princess Royal will be the key royals holding the fort, along with the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh. 

The prince carried out an investiture at Windsor Castle this morning - which is one of his own regular duties - where former England footballer Ellen White was among those receiving honours. 

William, who is president of the Football Association, will make the record-scoring Lioness an MBE for services to football. 

Other recipients due at the ceremony include David Shreeve - who co-founded an environmental action group with TV botanist David Bellamy - and Francis Dickinson - who solved an 80-year-old maritime mystery by locating the wreck of a submarine which was lost at sea during the Second World War. 
In the evening, William will attend the gala fundraising dinner for London's Air Ambulance Charity in central London in his role as the organisation's patron. 

The gala dinner is raising funds for London's Air Ambulance Charity's Up Against Time appeal, which is seeking £15 million to replace the service's helicopter fleet by the autumn. 

William is a former air ambulance pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance and during the event will meet crew members, former patients and supporters before delivering a short speech. 

Anne held the fort on the royal engagements front yesterday, carrying out an investiture on behalf of the King at Windsor Castle before visiting family-run GH Hurt & Son in Nottingham which has provided shawls for royal newborns for more than 70 years. 

She is also back out today visiting the Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training Regiment at St George's Barracks in Bicester. The Princess Royal is Colonel in Chief of The Royal Logistical Corps.

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