Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been slammed for their ‘inappropriate timing’ after they spoke out about King Charles on the same day that he made the first King’s Speech in more than 70 years.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex claimed they had received ‘no contact’ from Buckingham Palace about His Majesty’s 75th birthday party, just hours before Charles held the State Opening of Parliament.
A spokesperson for the couple made the remarks after a report in the Sunday Times claiming Harry had snubbed an invitation from his father to join them at a party next week, claiming it was ‘misreported’ by the paper.
However, a friend of the couple also suggested the Palace could have leaked the ‘snubbing’ story to take away attention from the recent royal visit to Kenya, where the King faced calls to apologise for Britain’s colonial past.
The remark has been criticised by royal experts who said tour of Kenya had been ‘extremely successful’ and called the timing of the intervention ‘particularly inappropriate’.
Prince Harry (pictured, centre with his wife at the Queen’s funeral) has reportedly not spoken to his father, King Charles III, for a long time. The Duke of Sussex’s spokesman has denied he snubbed his father’s 75th birthday
King Charles and Queen Camilla sit in the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday
Harry and Meghan pictured at a Katy Perry concert in Las Vegas on Saturday, November 4
They also claimed that suggestions the party story was leaked were ‘rubbish’ and that His Majesty has ‘always made it clear that his door is always open’ to the Sussexes should they want reconciliation.
The remarks came hours before Charles made his first address at the State Opening of Parliament since becoming king , and the first time a male monarch has done so since 1950.
This has been criticised by royal experts, who bemoaned that the remarks were taking attention away from His Majesty on a special occasion for the monarchy.
Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline: ‘When he opened Parliament today, King Charles paid tribute to the late Queen. It was a historic occasion, the first time a king had opened Parliament since 1950. George V1 was ill in 1951.
‘The very same day, with particularly inappropriate timing, the Sussexes are back in the news. They deny a report in the Sunday Times that they turned down an invitation to the King’s 75th birthday. Harry, an insider tells us, will reach out to his father privately.
‘A source has also suggested that the report was timed to distract attention away from the recent trip by King Charles and Queen Camilla to Kenya. The king certainly performed a sensitive balancing act when visiting an important ally in Africa.
‘The visit, however, has been regarded as a success and this attitude shows the level of the Sussexes sense of entitlement.
‘It brings to mind Meghan’s claim in an interview in The Cut magazine that she had been told by an unnamed member of the cast of the Lion King that there was rejoicing in South Africa when they married, similar to when Nelson Mandela was released from prison. This was obviously nonsense but it spoke volumes that she said it.’
He added that the ‘hard work’ put in by Charles and Camilla during the four-day tour of Kenya ‘are obviously as nothing compared to the Sussexes personal feelings’.
Mr Fitzwilliams said: ‘The rift in the royal family could not be wider and bemused courtiers must be wondering what comes next. Lets us hope that the reported four book deal with Random House does not lead to another memoir.
‘Also, Netflix, when The Crown is over, may regard Harry and Meghan as expendable if they continue to produce so little. Polls in America indicate people are seeing through them.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have bitterly fallen out with the rest of his family over the last few years, since they quit frontline royal duties and emigrated to California
A source close to the couple said Harry (pictured at his father’s coronation) and Meghan had not received an invitation to King Charles’ birthday plans
King Charles is set to celebrate his 75th birthday with a bash at Clarence House next week
‘When he turns 75, it will a painful moment when King Charles gets that message from his errant son-if he does!’
Meanwhile, former royal correspondent Phil Dampier said arguments over a birthday invitation were ‘to some extent irrelevant’ and that the Sussexes are in a ‘PR war’.
He said: ‘The King has always made it clear that his door is always open to his wayward son and I’m sure if he wanted to come over for any celebration he would be welcomed.
‘I’m not saying there wouldn’t be a difficult atmosphere, and William and Kate might find it hard to swallow.
‘But Charles has always made it clear that long term he wants a reconciliation to the benefit of all concerned.
‘That’s the way his mother the late Queen would have approached it and he is doing the same.
‘It’s not true to say the visit by the King and Queen to Kenya didn’t go well, on the contrary it was extremely successful and the hosts graciously accepted his expressions of regret for Britain’s colonial past.
‘The idea this story about the party is a distraction is just rubbish as they would be happy to highlight the tour and indeed William’s trip to Singapore for his Earthshot Prize.
‘If Harry wanted to mend bridges with his father and brother he could have done so when came over to Europe for the Invictus Games a few weeks ago but he didn’t make the time to see them.
‘The ball is very much in his court and to say otherwise is ludicrous.’
MailOnline has contacted representatives of Harry and Meghan for comment.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes had told MailOnline last night that claims in the Sunday Times that Harry had turned down an invitation from his father to go to his 75th birthday party were incorrect.
‘There has been no contact regarding an invitation to His Majesty’s upcoming birthday. It is disappointing the Sunday Times has misreported this story,’ they said. The same spokesperson also denied that Meghan, who found fame on Suits, will be making a return to acting following reports earlier this week.
A source close to the Sussexes told MailOnline that they were not invited to Charles III’s party in London next week. ‘They had not received any invitation and were unaware of any celebrations until the stories came out,’ the insider said, adding: ‘I’m sure the Duke will find a way to reach out privately to wish His Majesty a happy birthday like he has always done’.
The King and Queen at Fort Jesus, in Mombasa Old Town, during their visit to Kenya last week
Prince Harry (pictured, left) and Meghan Markle (pictured, right) were not spoken to about the party by Buckingham Palace, their spokesperson said
A friend of the couple suggested the Palace could even have leaked the ‘snubbing’ story to take attention away from the recent royal visit to Kenya, where the King faced calls to apologise for Britain’s colonial past.
‘The story is being positioned in a way to make it look like the Duke is snubbing his father, which he is not,’ the friend said. ‘Considering the trip [to Kenya] didn’t go well, this might be a welcome distraction.’
A friend of the Sussexes told MailOnline that they would normally have been included in plans for significant events in the UK, despite the widening gap between themselves and the rest of the royal family.
‘The story in The Times as well as subsequent stories have been positioned in a way to make it look like the Duke is snubbing his father, which he is not.’
Relations have been strained since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down as senior royals and moved to California.
They made a number of claims about their treatment by the Palace, including in a wide-reaching interview with Oprah and in Harry’s memoir.
Though the Duke since attended the coronation of his father at Westminster Abbey in May, his relationship with King Charles remains fractured – with the Royal Family not publicly noting his birthday in September.
King Charles and Queen Camilla’s trip to Kenya has been deemed a ‘resounding success’ at Buckingham Palace and within the Government, who had asked the monarch to go to east Africa to strengthen ties between the countries.
It was not marred by protests and the only major criticism appeared to come from the Sussexes’ favoured royal reporter Omid Scobie, who said red carpets for the trip made the King and Queen look ‘out of touch’.
But there were claims that the red carpet treatment was at the insistence of the Kenyan authorities.
The King also took a huge step and told the Kenyan people of his ‘greatest sorrow and deepest regret’ at Britain’s ‘abhorrent and unjustifiable acts of violence’ during the colonial era in a key speech.
King Charles is set to celebrate his 75th birthday on November 14 at Clarence House
At a state banquet in Nairobi on the first night of the four-day visit, Charles said there was ‘no excuse’ for British ‘wrongdoings’ in the East African nation, particularly against the Mau Mau rebellion, which saw 11,000 killed in the 1950s.
The King stopped short of a direct apology, which carries greater legal culpability, because it is not British government policy to do so.
‘Their Royal Highnesses thoroughly enjoyed the trip. I think it’s fair to say it has been a resounding success,’ one aide told Vanity Fair, adding: ‘There is a sense of relief that this went so well and a feeling that the King and Queen have hit the right notes’.
An insider has claimed that the Duke of Sussex didn’t receive any personal well-wishes from his brother, Prince William, or his father King Charles.
In fact, they told The Telegraph: ‘Communications between the King and Prince Harry remain pretty poor. They don’t speak much, if at all.’
They said that one possible reason for this is that King Charles was disappointed with the way that Harry wrote about Queen Camilla in his autobiography, Spare.
The Duke said his stepmother is ‘dangerous’ and a ‘villain’ who left ‘bodies in the street’.
He wrote in Spare: ‘I have complex feelings about gaining a step-parent who I thought had recently sacrificed me on her personal PR altar.’
Harry also accused Charles and Camilla of ‘planting stories’ about William and his family: ‘Give Pa and Camilla an inch, he said, they take a mile.’
He told Good Morning America in an interview shortly after Spare was published: ‘We haven’t spoken for a long time. I love every member of my family, despite the differences.
‘So when I see her, we’re perfectly pleasant with each other. She’s my stepmother. I don’t look at her as an evil stepmother.
‘I see someone who married into this institution, and done everything she can to improve her own reputation and her own image, for her own sake.’