Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle declined an ‘open invitation’ to stay with Prince Charles at his Scottish holiday house on the Balmoral estates.
The Prince of Wales told the couple they were ‘always welcome’ at his home ahead of their trip to the UK, palace sources confirmed.
The insiders told The Mirror that Charles had thought the Sussexes staying with him would be a ‘good opportunity for everyone to take stock and relax.’
‘But the invitation was declined, as it has been before,’ the source said, adding that Charles hasn’t ‘wavered’ on his attempts to have a relationship with his son ‘despite the attacks which seem to be coming with increased vigour.’
News of the declined invitation surfaced after Charles, 73, was pictured heading to church in Balmoral alone this morning. Insiders allege he continues to find Harry, 37, and Meghan’s jibes at the Royal Family ‘painful’ and is ‘completely bewildered’ by their behaviour.
Harry and Meghan, who currently reside in California, are in the UK this week for two charity events. The couple are travelling to Manchester on Monday where Meghan, 41, is due to give a speech on gender equality.
The couple has asked private security firms to provide a ‘ring of steel’ in Manchester for their appearance at the One Young World young leaders’ forum, amid a row over who pays for their protection on UK soil.
‘One would have thought if such concerns existed, the best place to be would be next to the family, but there you go,’ the palace insider said of their alleged safety worries.
Specialist dog teams were seen at the Bridgewater Hall, where Meghan will give her speech. It is understood the couple and event organisers have arranged security after Harry was told he was no longer entitled to taxpayer-funded official armed police bodyguards.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police confirmed its officers were not involved, adding that security for the event had been ‘privately sourced’.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle declined an ‘open invitation’ to stay with Prince Charles at his Scottish holiday house on the Balmoral estates. Charles, Meghan and Harry are pictured together in June 2018
The Prince of Wales told the couple they were ‘always welcome’ at his home ahead of their trip to the UK, palace sources confirmed. Meghan and Harry are pictured at the Invictus Games in April 2022
Charles had invited the entire family to stay at his holiday home on the Queen’s Balmoral estate. He thought the Sussexes staying with him would be a ‘good opportunity for everyone to take stock and relax’
Two different dog teams were seen at the venue on Sunday including one from private firm Global Support Services, which provides protection dogs, specialist detection dogs, close protection and other security services.
A spaniel was also seen being put into a van marked ‘Specialist Search Dogs’, which had the numberplate SN13 FER.
A team of cleaners were also on site, washing windows and using a leaf blower to clear pathways. The area outside the 2,300-seat venue will be cleared of the public an hour and a half before the couple arrive, it has been reported.
It means they will avoid hearing any public boos which greeted the Sussexes at the Queen’s thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral in June.
The couple’s trip comes amid Harry’s ongoing legal battle with the Government over his security when in the UK. He launched legal action after he was told he would no longer be given the ‘same degree’ of personal protection after stepping back from the Royal Family in 2020.
He said he did not feel safe under current security arrangements bringing his family here and has offered to pay for British police to act as bodyguards himself. Last month, he won a bid to bring a High Court claim against the Home Office.
Meghan and Harry are understood to have arrived in the UK on Saturday and stayed at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor despite insiders alleging they were invited to stay with Charles.
Neither representatives for Prince Charles or the Sussexes immediately responded to Mail Online’s request for comment.
News of the declined invitation surfaced after Charles was pictured heading to church in Balmoral alone this morning. Insiders allege he continues to find Harry and Meghan’s jibes at the Royal Family ‘painful’ and is ‘completely bewildered’ by their behaviour
The Prince of Wales, who was pictured arriving alone at church in Balmoral on Sunday morning, is said to have been wounded by the words and actions of his son and daughter-in-law and is likely fearing further attacks this week.
A friend of the prince said Charles was ‘completely bewildered about why his son, whom he loves deeply, feels this is the way to go about managing family relationships’.
Insiders say the 73-year-old ‘loves and misses’ Harry, Meghan and his grandchildren, Archie and Lilibet, and feels particularly hurt after spending time with them during the Platinum Jubilee in June.
Charles is thought to have seen their time together as a ‘minor act of reparation’ after the Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 which saw Harry say he felt ‘really let down’ by his father.
Meantime, the Queen is said to be keeping calm and carrying on, but a source told The Sunday Times she did not want to be ‘on tenterhooks’ all the time waiting for the ‘next nuclear bomb’ from the Sussexes.
Another Palace source told the newspaper: ‘Ultimately, they are bashing the institution that has put them in the position they’re in – the longevity of that strategy is not sustainable.’ Harry and Meghan have taken part in several interviews since their departure from royal life, including their controversial sit-down with Oprah during which they accused the Royal Family of racism and said the institution failed to help a suicidal Meghan.
Tensions were raised further last week after an interview which saw Meghan suggest the Sussexes had been forced to move across the Atlantic because ‘by existing, we were upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy’.
Speaking to US magazine The Cut, she also claimed her husband had ‘lost’ his father, with sources close to the couple saying this wasn’t a reference to Prince Charles, but her estrangement with her own father.
Royal insiders have branded the interview, which also saw Meghan compare herself to Nelson Mandela, as ‘delusional’ and have expressed concerns about the impact of their comments on the Queen.
One said that the Queen, who is now 96 and has pulled out of a string of public events in recent months amid ongoing fears for her health, does not ‘want to be on tenterhooks’ and constantly waiting for the ‘next nuclear bomb’.
After Monday’s trip to Manchester, the Sussexes will travel to Dusseldorf on Tuesday to mark a year before Harry’s next Invictus Games. They will return to Britain for the WellChild Awards ceremony in London on Thursday, where Harry will deliver a speech.
As well as a huge security operation, media access has also been severely curtailed to the events in the UK, with only hand-picked journalists able to cover them.
The couple are not expected to meet with any members of the Royal Family on this trip, even though Prince William and his family will be just half a mile from Frogmore at their new home, Adelaide Cottage, also on the Queen’s Berkshire estate.
The Queen is in Balmoral in Scotland, where she is due to meet the new prime minister tomorrow.
The Sussexes have no official plans on Wednesday, meaning they have time to see the Queen, but royal sources say this is unlikely to happen as she has a busy week.
Prince Charles is said to be hurt by the continued ‘painful’ jibes from Harry and Meghan. Pictured: The Prince of Wales (centre) attending the Braemar Highland Gathering yesterday with his wife Camilla (right) and sister, the Princess Royal (left)
In a recent interview with The Cut, Meghan said her husband had ‘lost’ his father during their controversial move to the US. Pictured: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the Annual Salute to Freedom Gala in New York in November last year
Insiders have claimed the Queen does not ‘want to be on tenterhooks’ and constantly waiting for the ‘next nuclear bomb’ from the outspoken Sussexes. Pictured: Her Majesty departs from Aberdeen as she goes to Balmoral Castle for her summer holiday on July 21 this year
The Duchess of Sussex gave a bombshell interview to The Cut – part of New York magazine – in which it was claimed that she and Harry ‘were upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy’. Pictured: The front page of The Cut
A friend of Charles told the Sunday Times that the Prince of Wales continues to be hurt by the public proclamations not only about the royal family, but about himself personally.
The friend says: ‘For two years, there has been a steady stream of really challenging things said about a man who cannot [publicly] defend himself by a couple he obviously loves and misses.
‘That is incredibly difficult on a personal level. He is completely bewildered by why his son, whom he loves deeply, feels this is the way to go about managing family relationships.’
Sources close to Prince William say he is less concerned by the jibes than his father, with one saying: ‘he’s not really spending much time thinking about it’.
However, Harry’s memoirs, which are set to be released at an unspecified date, could ratchet tensions up further and the Duke of Cambridge is not thought to be relishing its publication.
It comes after a new rift was opened between the Sussexes and the rest of the Royal Family following Meghan’s interview with The Cut last week.
Coinciding with the launch of her new Spotify podcast, the Duchess of Sussex claimed she had been compared to South African hero Nelson Mandela and claimed Harry had ‘lost’ his father Charles during Megxit.
In her wide-ranging interview with The Cut, running to more than 6,000 words, Meghan said that ‘just by existing’ she and Harry were ‘upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy’ before they stepped down as senior working royals.
She also she said it takes ‘a lot of effort’ to forgive and hinted that she can ‘say anything’ after not signing any confidentiality agreements with the royals.
Sources in royal circles have since hit back at the couple, branding their tirades against life as working royals ‘delusional’ and ‘tragic’ – and sensationally suggesting that they ‘rail against the system as much as they still do’ even after Megxit to sustain public and therefore commercial interest in their ‘brand’.
A potentially awkward reunion between Prince William and his wife Kate, and Harry and Meghan, is thought to be unlikely to happen while the couple are in the country despite the fact they will staying only hundreds of metres away. Pictured: Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, leaves Windsor Estate after she relocated with her family to Adelaide Cottage
The festering Transatlantic ‘cold war’ between the Windsors and the Sussexes turned hot today after furious Palace insiders accused ‘delusional’ Harry and Meghan (pictured in 2017) of attacking the institution of the monarchy ‘because it is good for business’
Sources claimed that the Queen (pictured in June), who is now 96 and has pulled out of a string of public events in recent months amid ongoing fears for her health, does not ‘want to be on tenterhooks’ and constantly waiting for the ‘next nuclear bomb’
The couple’s actions also seemingly contradict the public statement they released in January 2020, after reaching a deal with the Queen to leave the royal life, in which they pledged that ‘everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty’.
At the so-called ‘Sandringham Summit’, Harry gave up his military appointments and their public funding was halted, allowing them go to the United States where they have signed multi-million pound deals with the likes of Spotify and Netflix.
Regardless, the Queen has repeatedly said the Sussexes remain ‘much-loved’ by the royal family.
But one source told the Sunday Times: ‘It is hard to see how what they’re doing would equate to the values of the Queen, who has never encouraged people to discuss deeply personal family relationships in public.’
Her communications staff declined to comment when Mail Online asked about the remarks of the palace insiders. A spokesperson for the Sussexes did not immediately respond to an enquiry.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pictured with Archie and Lilibet in a Christmas card released on December 23, 2021
Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may have arrived back in the UK already, for the first time since returning for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
It was reported last night that the couple had already touched down on UK soil on Saturday morning, with Hello! magazine claiming they had flown commercial and appeared to be without their children Archie and Lilibet.
Harry and Meghan will attend a youth summit in Manchester tomorrow and the WellChild awards in London on Thursday, before jetting off to Germany to mark the one year countdown to the Invictus Games.
There are ‘no plans’ for them to meet with Prince William and his wife, Kate, despite staying just a few hundred feet away from them.
They had been expected to arrive as soon as Saturday and and use their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, as a base, but their arrival date and time had not been confirmed.
The Sunday Times reports it they are unlikely to visit the Queen in Balmoral, where one source says Her Majesty has had ‘a busy summer with lots of visitors and has been out picnicking’.
Following the breakdown of relationships between the Sussexes and the rest of the royal family, it is understood that there are ‘no plans’ for them to make the short 380ft trip to Adelaide Cottage for the brothers to reunite.
Royal sources suggest there are fears the couple may bring a film crew along to the UK as part of their rumoured $100million Netflix deal.
‘Trust, particularly at the moment, is a big issue,’ a well-placed source said.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the premiere of The Lion King at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on July 14, 2019
The couple’s visit to the UK follows Meghan’s bombshell interview during which she claimed a South African cast member of the Lion King film told her ‘they rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison’ when she married Harry.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the star-studded premiere of the Disney remake in July 2019, rubbing shoulders with A-listers including Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
‘I just had Archie. It was such a cruel chapter. I was scared to go out,’ she said in an interview, alleging a cast member from South Africa had pulled her aside.
‘He looked at me, and he’s just like light. He said “I just need you to know: When you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison”.’
The Duchess of Sussex did not name the cast member. However, an actor who says he’s the only South African in Lion King live action film claims he actually never met Meghan.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Dr John Kani has said that he was the only South African star of the Disney movie, has never met Meghan and was not at the UK premiere so was not the source of the royal’s anecdote
Dr John Kani told Mail Online earlier this week he believes the Duchess of Sussex made ‘a faux pas’ after she used her interview to imply her 2018 royal wedding sparked celebrations in South Africa reminiscent of the release of his friend Madiba, the legendary anti-apartheid leader.
He said Mr Mandela’s walk to freedom after 27 years was a ‘landmark moment’ while her marriage to Prince Harry was ‘no big deal’ in South Africa, adding that the two events ‘cannot be spoken in the same breath’ and ‘you can’t really say where you were when Meghan married Harry’.
But Dr Kani, a veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company who voiced the mandrill shaman Rafiki, told MailOnline that he was the only South African in the Disney movie, has never met Meghan and was not at the UK premiere.
He said the only other South African who was involved was Lebo M, a composer who together with Hans Zimmer was responsible for the music for The Lion King. But Lebo M was not in the cast.
The article also heard from Harry who suggested some members of the Royal Family ‘aren’t able to work and live together’, while Meghan revealed that her husband told her that he had ‘lost’ his father Prince Charles.
Meghan told The Cut magazine: ‘Harry said to me, “I lost my dad in this process.” It doesn’t have to be the same for them as it was for me, but that’s his decision.’
However allies of the couple later clarified that the duchess had actually been referring to the breakdown of her relationship with her own father.
Meghan’s unofficial spokesman Omid Scobie wrote on social media: ‘I understand that Prince Harry is actually referring to Meghan’s loss of her own father, and Meghan is saying she doesn’t want Harry to lose his.’
A source close to Prince Charles said last week he would be saddened if Harry felt their relationship was lost, adding: ‘The Prince of Wales loves both his sons.’
Asked about the confusion regarding Meghan’s comment, The Cut declined to comment.
A source added: ‘This line is a direct quote from Meghan’s interview with Allison, and as a general rule, we don’t comment or speculate on sources’ intent outside of the text of the story.’ Meghan said she and Harry felt they had to leave Britain because of negative media coverage, including of their £2.4million refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.