Is Prince Harry going to return as a working royal?

Credit: AP

Ever since Prince Harry spoke on Friday about how he loves his family and how sickness can bring people back together, reports have been rife that he could come back into the fold and start working for the Royal Family once again. 

This weekend, British newspapers have been writing about a “royal return” for Harry in order to “heal the rift” with his father, King Charles, as he continues his treatment for his cancer

It follows Harry’s TV interview with Good Morning America in which he appeared to hold out an olive branch to the royals – with whom he and Meghan have had so many public fights

“I love my family," Harry told GMA when asked about his flying visit to see King Charles in London which is why he "jumped on a plane and went to see him as soon as [he] could.” 

The Duke of Sussex was speaking from Whistler in Canada, where he and Meghan had come to take part in events to mark one year to go until next year’s Winter Invictus Games at the resort. 

When asked about how sickness can sometimes bring people back together, Harry gestured to the Invictus families, many of whom have coped with injuries and sickness with their family members who are military servicemen and women. 

"Throughout all of these families I see it on a day-to-day basis, the strength of the family unit coming together," Harry said. 

He added, presumably referring to the effect his father’s illness might have on his own family: "So, yeah, I think any illness, any sickness, brings families together. I see it time and time again, and that makes me very happy."

King Charles delayed his planned trip to Sandringham on the day Harry visited just hours after the King had his first bout of cancer treatment, which many medics believe involves chemotherapy

The helicopter at Buckingham Palace was told to wait as Harry arrived from Heathrow and drove to Clarence House. 

He had just a 45-minute meeting with the King, before flying back to the US the following day. 

Does any of this mean Harry is coming back? 

Sources close to the Sussexes indicated as much to The Times newspaper this weekend but quite how any return to royal duties might work remains unclear. 

The deal Harry thrashed out in 2020 with his father, King Charles, his brother, Prince William and the late Queen Elizabeth became known as the “Sandringham Agreement” named after the place where they met. 

Harry later described the whole meeting as a shouting match, when he gave interviews about his book some years later. 

But the key point of the agreement was that there can be no half-in/half-out option: you either stay as a full-time working member of the Royal Family.

Or you leave.

There was no middle option. 

This is the Royal Rota - our weekly podcast about the royal family, with ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship and Producer Lizzie Robinson.

Royal officials had concerns about a conflict of interest, about how the Sussexes’ financial activities might impact the reputation of the then-Monarch, Queen Elizabeth, and how Harry and Meghan could be accused of, or tempted to try, monetising their royal connections and titles. 

This weekend, palace sources say nothing has changed.

The agreement stands, and there is no obvious way for Harry to come back to complete royal duties permanently or temporarily. 

In other words: the Sussexes left, they made their choice, they spoke to Oprah, they wrote their books, did their Netflix series and recorded their podcasts – and it would be difficult to come back to the institution they have so heavily criticised on TV and elsewhere. 

That’s not to say the illness won't bring father and son closer together.

Any parent will admit the relationship with their children is the most important thing in the world and the King, facing a battle with a serious illness, will want the support and love of both his sons. 

The other sticking point to any family reunion is Prince William. 

The relationship between the two brothers could not be any worse.

They did not meet last week, despite being in the same city at the same time. 

If they can’t meet days after finding out their father has cancer, it shows just how deep their rift is. 

So Harry might be right that a cancer diagnosis could bring the family closer together.

He also spoke about coming to visit to the UK again very soon.

Perhaps next time he and William might even meet. 

But as for Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex back to work as a member of the Royal Family, temporarily or otherwise? 

Forget it.

That ship has most definitely sailed.

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