Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visiting Dubbo, Australia

Is There Any Chance Prince Harry Might Actually Resume His Royal Duties?

The royal family’s alleged feuds have garnered much attention in recent years, but things took a somber turn when King Charles III was diagnosed with cancer. Although many questioned if Prince Harry would return to his royal duties in the wake of the news, palace sources ruled it is not possible.

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Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, stepped down from their royal duties in 2020 amid rumors of a rift in the royal family. The couple left behind their roles as full-time working Members of the Royal Family and began to lead an independent existence apart from the monarch. In doing so, they walked away from the crown’s financial support and departed the U.K. entirely, securing a home in California. The Sussexes have never given a singular reason for their departure, though Prince Harry referred to “challenges” and a desire for “a more peaceful life” in his official statement.

Since his departure, through his memoir Spare and docuseries Harry & Meghan, he has opened up a bit about his fractured relationship with his brother, Prince William, his family’s mistreatment of Markle, and the harassment and scrutiny from the press. Although he reiterated his support of the monarch upon his departure, he seldom visits the royal family. However, upon learning of his father’s cancer diagnosis, Prince Harry made a rare trip to Buckingham Palace to visit with the King. Given the difficult time the royal family is going through, many have pondered if Prince Harry will return to his royal duties.

Prince Harry likely can’t return to the royal family

Even if Prince Harry wanted to resume his royal duties, palace sources believe there’s actually “no way back” to royalty for the Duke of Sussex. After his short visit with King Charles, many speculated that the visit was to discuss his return or reach an agreement where he could temporarily resume his duties while the King undergoes treatment. Details of the King’s cancer diagnosis have been kept to a minimum, though his treatment means that he’s also stepping back from some of his royal duties. On top of that, Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton, is still recovering from abdominal surgery, and it has been less than two years since Queen Elizabeth II’s passing.

Needless to say, the royal family likely could use Prince Harry’s help. It wasn’t long after his visit that alleged “insiders” began claiming that the King had asked Prince Harry to return and that the Duke expressed openness to the idea.

Now, British media’s coverage of royal happenings should be taken with an extremely large grain of salt, as the pro-monarchy (and aggressively anti-Sussex) bias tends to be extremely strong. That said, sources who spoke to The Telegraph (whose anti-Harry & Meghan coverage is generally pretty gross) expressed high skepticism of the accuracy of these claims. According to them, it’s not actually possible for Prince Harry to return. The exact terms of Prince Harry’s departure, determined at the Sandringham summit, have not been made public. Sources, though, claim that its terms were “quite clear” and prevented Prince Harry from returning regardless of the King’s health.

Royal commentator Ingrid Seward candidly explained the situation:

Harry is out. There’s no going back to a public role. What would he do? He has got no patronages to exercise as a public figure and for him to come back would just be a parade for Harry. It would not be a serious, proper role like the working royals have.

Royal expert Tom Quinn also suggested that Prince Harry could never return because he would never be trusted by the royal family again. Quinn explained the mistrust wasn’t just from Prince Harry stepping down but also due to the Duke dishing on the royal family in his memoir and docuseries.

Even taking most of these experts’ extreme bias into consideration, the chance that Harry might return to royal duties seems about the same as his potential to become King: it’s possible but extremely unlikely. Since Prince Harry is fifth in line to the throne, he can still technically become King, but it’s highly unlikely a situation would ever arise where he was the only remaining heir to the throne. Similarly, it sounds like the situation may never arise where Prince Harry is needed so badly by the royal family that he undoes his departure.

(featured image: Chris Jackson / Getty)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.