Home » Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s UK return unlikely as health issues rock palace: ‘A royal game of chicken’

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s UK return unlikely as health issues rock palace: ‘A royal game of chicken’

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As the British royal family is faced with ongoing health woes, some have wondered: Could Prince Harry and Meghan Markle be heading back across the pond?

Grant Harrold, King Charles III’s former butler, recently told the New York Post that the Duke of Sussex seems to be “very keen” on returning to the U.K. for good. But several royal experts told Fox News Digital that’s a fat chance.

“For those who think Harry is seriously contemplating a move back into the royal fold, I have two words: dream on,” Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” told Fox News Digital. “He is extremely content with his life in California, and it’s not as if the royal family has shown the faintest interest in welcoming him home.”


Several royal experts told Fox News Digital that it’s unlikely the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, left, would make a permanent move back to the U.K. (Max Mumby/Indigo)

“Even if Harry wanted to pitch in while his father, the king, is battling cancer and [his sister-in-law] Kate Middleton is temporarily out of commission, [his brother] Prince William won’t allow it, pure and simple,” Andersen said. “The situation remains the same: a royal game of chicken. Who will be the first to give in? At the moment, it’s a complete stalemate.”

In 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back as senior royals and moved to California. At the time, they alleged palace officials were insensitive to Markle’s mental health struggles as she attempted to navigate royal life. The couple also alleged that the duchess faced racist attitudes from the U.K. press, which contributed to their decision to leave the country.

“Whatever resentment [the royal family] harbors toward Harry is only half the resentment they harbor toward Meghan,” Andersen alleged. “Conversely, Harry is a fierce defender of his wife, and I can’t imagine he’d be willing to resume any royal duties knowing that Meghan remains persona non grata in royal circles.”

British royals walking together in front of a car looking somber

Meghan Markle, right, was last seen in the U.K. around the time that Queen Elizabeth II, England’s longest-reigning monarch, died in 2022 at age 96. (Chris Jackson)

Following their departure as senior royals, Harry and his wife aired their complaints about life as royals. In 2021, they sat down with Oprah Winfrey for an interview that was viewed by 50 million people globally. After releasing a six-part docuseries on Netflix in 2022, Harry’s memoir, “Spare,” hit bookshelves in 2023, quickly becoming a bestseller.

The relationship between William and Harry, which was strained by the time Harry made his exit, worsened when the Duke of Sussex, 39, publicly detailed his grievances. Harry also discussed his sibling rivalry in his memoir.

Harry has had a troubled relationship with his family since he quit royal duties. He showed up alone for his father’s coronation in May but left as soon as the ceremony ended to return to the U.S. for his son’s birthday.


King Charles looking in front of a computer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears on-screen via video link during a virtual audience with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace in London on March 6, 2024. The king has suspended all public engagements as he undergoes treatment for cancer. (Pool)

Harry arrived from California less than 48 hours after Buckingham Palace announced on Feb. 5 that the king had cancer. The visit between the monarch and his younger son at Clarence House was brief as Charles and his wife, Queen Camilla, were seen leaving about an hour later.

According to The Times, Harry and his father, 75, shared “warm exchanges” during their 45-minute meeting. Reportedly, Harry and his older brother, 41, didn’t meet and there were no plans to do so.

Middleton, 42, is currently recovering from abdominal surgery and has kept a low profile since December.

Kate Middleton sports blue blazer with white blouse

Kate Middleton is keeping a low profile as she recovers from abdominal surgery. (Max Mumby)

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told Fox News Digital that it’s impossible to be “half-in, half-out” as a working royal.

“This was decided by the Sandringham agreement with the late queen,” he said. “He has given up his patronages. Also, if he were to resume royal duties, it would become something of a circus revolving around him and Meghan.”

“When Harry visited his father recently, he wisely came solo,” Fitzwilliams said. “Meghan has not visited the U.K. since the queen’s funeral in September 2022. The idea that Harry and Meghan would wish to return is extraordinary. … [And] public hostility to them in Britain is enormous. The future, such as it is, appears to lie in the States.”


Prince William accepting flowers

Prince William receives a bouquet of flowers for his wife, Catherine, Princess of Wales, during a visit to the Western Marble Arch Synagogue in London on Feb. 29, 2024. (Toby Melville – WPA Pool)

Royal expert Ian Pelham Turner told Fox News Digital he wouldn’t be opposed to the Sussexes offering the royal family a helping hand. It would be a sign of unity during tough times, which could potentially bring the battling brothers back together.

“Personally, I want to see them all have a return, with the proviso that they can still have their American links, too,” he said. “I see no problems in allowing the Sussexes to have the freedom they desire. I think other members of the royal family should do the same. … I believe in harmony now bringing the family back to its full potential in modern society and … now it is the time to actively realize that a united family is a United Kingdom.”

A return to the U.K. wouldn’t be so simple.

A close-up of Prince Harry in a suit

Prince Harry lost his battle for publicly funded protection in Britain. (Max Mumby/Indigo)

On Feb. 28, a London judge ruled that the U.K. government did not act irrationally in deciding to strip the Duke of Sussex of security privileges after he stepped back as a senior royal in 2020 and moved to the U.S. A spokesperson for the prince said he plans to appeal the ruling.

The decision was made by the Royal and VIP Executive Committee (RAVEC). The group is made up of members of the royal family staff, the Metropolitan Police, as well as several government offices.

“The duke is not asking for preferential treatment, but for a fair and lawful application of RAVEC’s own rules, ensuring that he receives the same consideration as others in accordance with RAVEC’s own written policy,” his spokesperson said in a statement.


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle smiling as King Charles looks on

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, right, stepped back as senior royals in 2020. They live in California. (Chris Jackson)

High Court Judge Peter Lane said the February 2020 decision was not unlawful, irrational or unjustified.

“Aside from the fact that Harry has legitimate safety concerns, the court ruling is just another slap in the face,” said Andersen. “A reminder that Harry and his Windsor relatives are on opposite sides of a widening chasm.”

Harrold told the Post he remains hopeful for possible peace talks as both the king and Princess of Wales continue their recovery.

Meghan Markle smiling in a beige coat

Meghan Markle, a former American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married Britain’s Prince Harry in 2018. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

“[Harry] could have a discussion with his brother about resuming his royal duties, but obviously there is so much that has happened over the last couple of years, and that needs to be sorted out before the Sussexes [make] a permanent return,” he told the outlet.

“I don’t think it would be impossible. When I was working for the royal family, I saw how close William and Harry were. I don’t think that’s a relationship that is too far gone to be healed or fixed.”

The king suspended public engagements after beginning his treatments for cancer. Buckingham Palace has not announced when the monarch is expected to return but noted he is continuing with some official work.


Prince William in a blue blazer and matching shirt

A spokesperson for the Prince of Wales addressed the conspiracy theories surrounding his wife as she continues to recover. (Andrew Parsons/Kensington Palace)

A spokesperson for William released a brief statement amid the flurry of conspiracy theories surrounding his wife’s health. The princess suspended all her engagements in January and is expected to resume royal duties after Easter.

“His focus is on his work and not on social media,” a spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.