Prince Harry said he asked for a “secret meeting” with his father, King Charles, and his brother, Prince William, to discuss “the state of things” when he travelled to the UK to attend Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021.

The Duke of Sussex wrote in his memoir, ‘Spare’, that when he flew back to London to attend his grandfather’s funeral, he also thought it could be a good time to meet his father and brother for a chat. It was the first time Harry travelled England since he and Meghan Markle stepped down as senior royals and moved to the US, where they now live with their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

It was also the first time Harry met his family since he and the Duchess of Sussex took part in a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, during which they shared details of their struggles within the Royal Family and opened up on the reasons that brought them to step away and move to another country. In his book, which was published in January 2023, Harry admitted he felt anxious, while waiting for William and Charles to arrive at their meeting – and at some point, he thought they had changed their mind and would no longer meet him.

King Charles and Prince William at the Army Aviation Centre in Middle Wallop on May 13
King Charles and Prince William at the Army Aviation Centre in Middle Wallop on May 13 
Getty Images)

Prince Harry
The Duke of Sussex said he felt anxious ahead of the meeting 
AFP via Getty Images)

However, he said that at some point he saw his father and brother with a “grim, almost menacing” look as they headed towards him. The Duke recalled that when he gave them “a weak smile”, they did not smile back, which made him feel “a hugely intense vulnerability” and made him think of his late mum, Princess Diana, with the hope she could give him strength during the meeting.

Harry revealed that when he said hello to his brother “Willy” and his father, whom he affectionately called “Pa”, they replied with a single and “painfully tepid” word: “Harold.” Harry wrote: “At last, I saw them. Shoulder to shoulder, striding towards me, they looked grim, almost menacing. More, they looked tightly aligned. My stomach dropped. Normally they’d be squabbling about one thing or another, but now they appeared to be in lockstep – in league. The thought occurred: Hang on, are we meeting for a walk…or a duel?

Prince Harry made the revelations in his book Spare 
Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)‌”I rose from the wooden bench, made a tentative step towards them, gave a weak smile. They didn’t smile back. Now my heart really started thrashing in my chest. Deep breaths, I told myself. Apart from fear, I was feeling a kind of hyper-awareness, and a hugely intense vulnerability, which I’d experienced at other key moments of my life. Walking behind my mother’s coffin. Going into battle for the first time. Giving a speech in the middle of a panic attack.

‌”There was that same sense of embarking on a quest, and not knowing if I was up to it, while also fully knowing that there was no turning back. That Fate was in the saddle. OK, Mummy, I thought, picking up the pace, here goes. Wish me luck. We met in the middle of the path. Willy? Pa? Hello. Harold. Painfully tepid.”

In the book, Harry also revealed that he got the nickname “Spare” by his father, Charles. Harry revealed that after Princess Diana gave birth to him, his dad said: “Wonderful! Now you’ve given me an heir and a spare – my work is done.”

The Guardian newspaper noted that Prince Harry has always felt resentful of his nickname, and aired his frustration in his memoir. The newspaper said: “Harry’s resentment of being the ‘spare’ is the underlying theme of his book, through chapters on his childhood, his schooling, his career as a royal and in the British Army, his relationship with his parents and brother, and his life with Meghan through courtship, wedding and marriage, to their own experience of parenthood. ”