Scottish Daily Mail

Charles ‘has only met Archie twice’

Family had to use old photos in birthday posts

- By Rebecca English Royal Editor

THERE was surprise and delight when the royals issued public birthday greetings to little Archie on social media as he turned two this week.

Behind the scenes, however, palace officials found themselves in an uncomforta­ble position after finding they didn’t have an up-todate picture of Harry and Meghan’s son to accompany their posts.

In the end they were forced to use press photos taken just after he was born and from his official christenin­g pictures, highlighti­ng just how little he has seen of his British family.

In fact, the Daily Mail understand­s, the toddler – who now speaks with a distinct American accent – has seen his grandfathe­r, the Prince of Wales, only twice since he was born. It is understood the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge can also count their meetings with him ‘easily on one hand’.

And such is the rift between Harry and William that it is believed Archie may sadly have met his Cambridge cousins – Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, six, and three-yearold Prince Louis – just the once. A source said: ‘The truth is the Prince of Wales has barely seen his grandson twice since he was born. In fact every member of Harry’s family can easily count on one hand the number of times they saw Archie after he was born and before the family left the UK. It’s a very sad situation.’

The Sussexes rarely left their Windsor home in the months after Archie’s birth, apart from taking two holidays by private jet to Ibiza and then to the South of France, where they were guests of Sir Elton John.

They refused to join the Royal Family on their annual holiday to Scotland then in November decamped to Canada before settling in California, where they bought an £11million mansion. Archie was not with them when they returned to detonate their relationsh­ip with the family in January last year by announcing they were stepping back as senior royals without consulting Buckingham Palace.

The Covid pandemic has since, sadly, prevented the Sussexes from flying back to Britain for social visits, although Harry returned briefly for his grandfathe­r’s funeral last month.

Sources are at pains to stress they understand that this is not anyone’s fault, not least the Sussexes. Harry had planned, initially, to travel back to the UK once a month or so. Instead the Queen and other senior family members have had to comfort themselves with occasional video calls.

This is perhaps why the gesture by the three royal households – Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace – in wishing Archie a happy birthday was so significan­t. Indeed, as Archie is the child of nonworking royals, there was no reason to publicly acknowledg­e his birthday.

A source explained: ‘The fact Buckingham Palace and the other royal households posted something so publicly when they are no longer working royals is clearly a sign every effort is being made, on their behalf at least, to try and retain and nurture a relationsh­ip with Harry and Meghan, however fragile.’

Jan Moir – Page 36 & 37

 ??  ?? Christenin­g: Charles, Harry and baby Archie in Clarence House post
Christenin­g: Charles, Harry and baby Archie in Clarence House post

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