Buckingham Palace announced on Monday that the king, who has been resting at the royal residence after postponing all his public duties, began treatment for an undisclosed cancer discovered while he underwent surgery for a benign enlarged prostate last month.
The Office of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed Harry had spoken with the monarch, 75, who had called both his sons to share news of the development.
The duke cleared his diary and rushed to London alone, with the Duchess of Sussex and their children Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet remaining at home in California.
Two black SUVs, which were earlier seen leaving Heathrow Airport’s VIP Windsor Suite, were pictured arriving at Clarence House at around 2.42pm, after Harry touched down in the UK just after midday, less than 24 hours after the shock news was announced to the nation.
The Palace has said Charles “remains wholly positive about his treatment”, after having already begun his medical care as an outpatient under the supervision of his specialist team of doctors.
Harry’s arrival has led to renewed hopes father and son will be reconciled, with suggestions from royal watchers the duke could also make attempts to try to heal his long-running rift with his brother, the Prince of Wales.
Later on Tuesday afternoon, the King was seen in public for the first time since his diagnosis, as he and the Queen were driven away from their London residence to Buckingham Palace, where they were believed to have been flown to Sandringham in Norfolk.
Earlier, the Prime Minister said he was thankful the King’s cancer had been caught early and wished him a full recovery and said his thoughts are with the family.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Rishi Sunak said he was left “shocked and sad” when he was told about the King’s diagnosis.
But asked what it meant for the day-to-day running of the country, Mr Sunak said he would continue to be in regular contact with the monarch and added: “We’ll crack on with everything.” The King is continuing with behind-the-scenes work on his red boxes of state papers.
Buckingham Palace confirmed the King, who only acceded to the throne 17 months ago, does not have prostate cancer, saying only that it was a “form of cancer”.
Charles’ niece Princess Beatrice, who has a home in St James’s Palace next to Clarence House, was seen leaving the grounds on Tuesday morning, driving away from the back entrance. The Princess Royal held the fort on the royal engagements front, carrying out an investiture on behalf of the King at Windsor Castle.
Harry’s black Range Rover was pictured arriving at a private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) early on Tuesday to catch his flight to the UK.
He last appeared alongside the Windsors at the King’s coronation but hurried home immediately afterward to mark his son Prince Archie’s fourth birthday.
The duke’s allegations against his family appeared unrelenting in the aftermath of Megxit with his Oprah interview, and, in the months following the Queen’s death, his Netflix documentary and memoir Spare.
There were accusations of racism in relation to Archie’s skin tone before he was born – with the remarks in the end alleged to have come from two senior royals – and claims Kensington Palace lied to protect William over reports he allegedly bullied Harry out of the royal family.
Harry claimed Charles was jealous of Meghan and Kate, did not hug him when he told him his mother Diana, Princess of Wales had died, and said he believed the King was “never made” for single parenthood, but “to be fair, he tried”.
The duke also accused William of physically attacking him and throwing him into a dog bowl in a row over Meghan, teasing him about his panic attacks, and, along with Kate, encouraging him to wear a Nazi uniform at a fancy dress party.
Charles, according to Harry, pleaded with his sons during a tense meeting after the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral: “Please, boys. Don’t make my final years a misery.”
While Charles and Harry were said to still speak, William has reportedly not been in contact with his brother for an extended period of time.
William is returning to official duties this week beginning with an investiture on Wednesday – the same day the King usually holds his weekly audience with the PM.
The heir to the throne is expected to also be undertaking some duties on his father’s behalf, but Counsellors of State, who are appointed temporarily when a monarch cannot fulfill their duties as head of state, are not expected to be needed.
The King will still be dealing with his red boxes of state business and official papers, and holding Privy Council meetings, which can be held via video, and audiences with the Prime Minister, which can take place over the phone.
Charles personally called both Harry and William, as well as his siblings Anne, the Duke of York and the Duke of Edinburgh, to give them the news before it was publicly announced to the nation by the Palace at 6pm on Monday.
The Palace has called for the King’s privacy to be respected, especially during his treatment, but said he wanted to make his diagnosis public because of his long-running support for cancer charities.
This is the latest major royal health scare to hit the monarchy at the start of 2024, coming after the King’s hospital stay, Kate’s major surgery, keeping her away from official duties until after Easter, and Sarah, Duchess of York’s skin cancer diagnosis.