Prince Harry may not have been in England to celebrate his father King Charles‘ 75th birthday, but he still reached out from across the pond and gave his young children, Archie, 4, and Lilibet, 2, a chance to celebrate their grandfather from afar.
ET spoke with royal expert Katie Nicholl, who gave insight into the rift between Harry, his father and the rest of the senior members of the royal family — and what this birthday call means for the future of their relationships.
Earlier this week, King Charles turned 75 and rang in his milestone birthday by being honored with ceremonial gun salutes, officially launching his Coronation Food Project, hosting a reception for NHS nurses and midwives and enjoying a private dinner with family and close friends.
While Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their two children were noticeably absent from Charles’ birthday plans — and there is debate over whether or not they were invited — Harry and Meghan called Charles to wish him a happy birthday and sent a singing video message from Archie and Lilibet to celebrate.
“I think the fact that there has been a phone call and there has been some contact is a breakthrough,” Nicholl explained. “Because there hasn’t been any of that for six months, and we’re told, this is hopefully going to lead to another conversation in due course.”
Nicholl noted that “Harry made sure to include his wife and his children as well, and I think that’s going to go some way in thawing some of those, well, pretty frozen relationships.”
Nicholl believes this phone call between Harry and Charles is a big step forward in the mending of their relationship. While Harry did travel to England for King Charles’ coronation, Nicholl shared that the two did not spend prolonged time together nor had very much contact amid the busy schedule.
Despite the obvious fraction between Harry and the rest of the royal family, Nicholl believes King Charles’ “love for his son is unwavering. He still loves Harry. He would still like there to be a reconciliation, not just in their relationship, but also in Prince William and Harry’s.”
Earlier this month, a source told ET that Harry and William’s relationship “has not improved since the publication of Spare and there is no reconciliation expected anytime soon.”
The source added that the root of the problem all boils down to a lack of trust. “There is no real trust at the moment and that needs to be rebuilt,” the source explained. “There’s a great deal of hurt on both sides.”
Nicholl also addressed whether or not she believes Prince Harry and his family were invited to celebrate Charles’ 75th birthday. Last week, The Sunday Times in the U.K. initially reported that the California-based royals turned down the offer to come, but reps for Harry and Meghan denied the report and claimed they were never invited.
Nicholl shared that it likely came down to scheduling and the fact that Prince William and Prince Harry remain on bad terms.
“This was a very small party,” Nicholl said of Charles’ birthday dinner. “It was very close family and friends, and I think the idea of Charles expecting Harry and Megan to come over from L.A. for one night — he wouldn’t expect that of them, which is probably why they didn’t get an official invite.”
Touching on Harry and William’s current relationship, Nicholl suggested, “I also think there’s another major problem, and that would have been having William and Harry in the same room. It’s simply that is not going to happen.”
With the distance between Harry and the rest of the family and where their level of communication stands, Nicholl noted that an official invitation to the king’s birthday was likely “never in the cards.”