Prince Harry has arrived at Clarence House to be at King Charles’ side following his shock cancer diagnosis.
The Duke of Sussex had a ‘brief meeting’ with his father hours after touching down at Heathrow following an 11-hour British Airways flight from his home in California – where his wife Meghan Markle and children, Archie and Lilibet, are staying behind.
Harry was spotted in the back of a Range Rover that drove in a large convoy through the gates of Clarence House, where Charles, 75, is resting following treatment earlier today for an unspecified cancer.
It is not known if Harry will remain in central London or stay at Windsor, most likely at Frogmore Cottage – which he and Meghan vacated last June.
But experts have said they hope that Harry’s trip is the ‘sign of a truce’ that could be ‘good news’ coming out of the ‘bad news’ about Charles’ health.
Prince Harry arriving at Clarence House this afternoon to meet his father King Charles
Charles and Camilla leaving Clarence House this afternoon
Harry was seen in a large convoy of Range Rovers driving through the gates of the royal residence
A helicopter was pictured landing at Buckingham Palace this afternoon
King Charles and Queen Camilla at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, on Sunday
Prince Harry flew to London after King Charles’ cancer diagnosis was made public. Meghan and the children are staying at home
Harry left LAX for London last night after Charles called him personally to tell him the devastating news.
A luxury Range Rover believed to be carrying the British royal was seen arriving at LAX’s VIP terminal last night and he boarded the earliest flight so he could be in London by lunchtime.
Harry was accompanied by police security despite his ongoing row with the Home Office.
Daily Mail Diary editor Richard Eden tweeted today: ‘After his 5,000-mile flight from Los Angeles, #PrinceHarry is understood to have had a brief meeting with #KingCharles before His Majesty departed for his Norfolk retreat, Sandringham. It will be interesting to see how long Harry stays in this country.’
Earlier, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said it was important for the Duke to show solidarity with his father.
‘I’m sure Harry will put aside the past right now for this serious issue,’ he said.
‘It’s so important that everyone is pulling in the right direction’.
Kristina Kyriacou, the King’s former press secretary, said: ‘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.’
In Spare, Harry had revealed that Charles had urged his warring sons: ‘Please boys, don’t make my final years a misery.’
Harry’s trip could be motivated by that plea.
The Prince flew into London’s Heathrow Airport on a scheduled British Airways flight from Los Angeles, before being picked up by a black Range Rover.
A police escort outside Clarence House before the Duke of Sussex’s arrival
Flowers are delivered to Clarence House following Charles’ cancer diagnosis
Harry is believed to have been in this Range Rover as it was swept from Heathrow under police guard this afternoon
Police escort a Range Rover believed to be carrying Prince Harry out of Heathrow at around 1pm as he heads to visit his father in London
The Prince – who travelled on the overnight 11 hour flight without his wife Meghan – was met off the plane by a convoy of cars
Police waiting for Harry at the VIP terminal of Heathrow Airport where Harry landed on a BA flight
A car believed to be carrying Prince Harry is pictured arriving at a private terminal at LAX to fly to the UK to be with his father, King Charles, after his cancer diagnosis
Frogmore Cottage (pictured) which was formerly the home of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. He may stay there or in a hotel
The King could be absent from public duties until at least March following yesterday’s dramatic announcement about his health.
The Daily Mail’s Robert Hardman said this morning that the King’s ‘first pronounced absence’ could come on Commonwealth Day, which is traditionally held at Westminster Abbey on the second Monday of March.
Mr Hardman, the author of ‘Charles III: New King. New Court. The Inside Story.’, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I would imagine we probably won’t see him at Westminster Abbey now.
‘I’m sure there will be a statement, a message – he’ll want to engage with that. It’s moments like that when an absence is noted, but the day-to-day running of the monarchy will not really change.’
Former royal’s communications secretary Julian Payne said the King would be ‘chomping at the bit’ to return to public engagements and will be ‘deeply frustrated’ by having to step back.
It comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said this morning that he was ‘shocked and sad’ to hear about the King’s cancer diagnosis but was ‘thankful’ it had been caught early.
Family and friends were said to be amazed by the King’s determination to carry on with ‘business as usual’. It is understood his condition has been caught very early and the prognosis is good. A family friend said: ‘He and his doctors are very, very positive.’
Charles has been making frequent Sunday night trips in recent months to Windsor Castle to spend time with Prince William, The Sun reported, with the father and son becoming closer.
While cancelling all his public engagements, Charles is insisting on carrying on with his ‘red boxes’ of paperwork and he may even conduct a small number of face-to-face private meetings.
The Mail has learnt that the King has known about his diagnosis since early last week, insisting on going to church in Norfolk on Sunday and waving warmly to well-wishers.
Camilla also stoically insisted on opening a new Maggie’s cancer care unit in London on Wednesday in the knowledge that her husband was about to have treatment.
She carefully told well-wishers at the Royal Free Hospital that he was ‘getting on, doing his best’. A source said: ‘Full credit to her. She has been marvellous.’
In a statement Buckingham Palace said last night: ‘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 affected by cancer.’
Former Royal’s Communications Secretary Julian Payne told Newsnight last night that the King will be ‘deeply frustrated’ by having to step back from work.
He added: ‘His work schedule is punishing and he really enjoys being out and meeting people and having the chance to speak up on causes that he cares about on representing the nation.
‘He will find that difficult. The reality of course is the machinery of state continues, the red boxes will come, the meetings with the PM will happen and the Privy Counsellors.
‘That side of things will continue but he will be itching to get back to things as quickly as he can.
‘The good thing of course is that although he is 75 he is a very fit and healthy 75-year-old.’
‘So I think he’s in as good a position as anyone can be to get through this next chapter. And he’ll be absolutely chomping at the bit to get back out as quickly as he can.’
The Sunday Times’ Royal Editor Roya Nikkhah added: ‘He won’t want to step back. If he can continue with his duties… he’s not going to want to step back if he doesn’t have to.
‘It’ll be about other members of the Royal Family picking up the slack while he can’t be on public duties. The Queen is 76, she is very energetic 76 but 76 nonetheless.
‘So there’s a lot of pressure on her not only doing more duties, worrying about her husband too.
‘I think we will see her step a lot to fill that void and I’m sure we will see Prince William more doing public facing things.
‘We know the King will be frustrated but he will know he has members of the family who he trusts to the roles if needs be.’
Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi are seen leaving Clarence House on Tuesday morning
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’
Experts hope that the diagnosis will bring some kind of reconciliation between Harry and his father and brother
Royal Biographer Matthew Dennison told BBC News that the country is ‘going to see something that’s a little like what we saw in the last months of the reign of the late Queen.’
He explained: ‘The Queen maintained all of the functions associated with her role as head of state, the red boxes, the prime ministerial encounters, where possible Privy Counsellor meetings – but she didn’t do as many public engagements which are that head of the nation side of being the sovereign.
‘What we’re going to see is something remarkably similar that the King will continue as head of state but some of that head of the nation meeting and greeting that being a figurehead a focus of royalty, affection, unity he won’t be doing that in the short term.
‘Members of his immediate family who of course stepped up when the late queen died scaled back her public engagements will do the same in this case I think.’
He added: ‘The challenge for the Royal Family is fitting in engagements to what are often really very busy diaries which have been planned long in advance.
‘I would imagine we would see increased numbers of engagements from Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, possibly Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, who are of course trusted members of the Royal Family too.’
And Dame Julia Cleverdon told BBC Radio 4: ‘I am absolutely sure that this reign will continue and that the determination of the King, who is a very determined man, knows a lot about cancer. I always remember when organising programmes within the last engagement of the day was always the visit to hospitals because he didn’t want any time taken – if he was going to use longer time it would be his time.
‘He will be really really a) knowledgeable b) determined and c) absolutely clear that the show will go on.’
Following last night’s devastating health update, Princess Anne got back to business as usual by handing out honours at Windsor Castle before she travels up to the Midlands for a busy day of royal engagements.
Princess Beatrice of York, the King’s niece, was seen driving to Clarence House this morning.
Royal aides said they were carefully balancing the King’s right to privacy at a difficult and sensitive time with his role as head of state. But he hopes that by sharing the news that it will enable accurate reporting of his condition and prevent speculation on an issue that affects so many other families.
No further details of which cancer he has been diagnosed with are being shared, aside from emphasising it is not prostate cancer, which is the biggest cancer killer of men in the UK each year. It is being stressed it was found only when the king had treatment for a benign enlarged prostate.
He was admitted for surgery on January 26 and remained in the private London Clinic in central London for three days.
It was during this intervention that a ‘separate cause for concern’ was noted and subsequently diagnosed as a form of cancer.
Details of his treatment are not being disclosed.
A royal aide said: ‘No further details are being shared at this stage, but His Majesty is receiving expert care and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.’