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Prince Harry won’t see King Charles during UK trip for Invictus celebrations

By Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Max Foster, CNN

London (CNN) — The Duke of Sussex has returned to the United Kingdom for a ceremony on Wednesday marking a milestone moment for his Invictus Games, but he will not see his father, King Charles III, while back in the country.

Prince Harry arrived on Tuesday afternoon ahead of events and meetings related to the biennial sporting competition he founded a decade ago.

Huge cheers erupted from crowds gathered along police barriers in the spring sunshine outside St Paul’s as the duke arrived. After waving to well-wishers, he was greeted at the cathedral’s door by the Dean of St. Paul’s before being escorted to his seat at the front of the congregation.

Actor Damian Lewis recited the Invictus poem by William Ernest Henley at the service, and the Duke later delivered a reading from I Corinthians 12. 4-11.

Harry was expected to attend a reception following the one-hour service. He was supported at the event by members from his late mother Princess Diana’s side of the family.

Earl Charles Spencer and Lady Jane Fellowes sat directly behind their nephew, with Harry chatting with his aunt before the event got underway.

A few miles away, the first Buckingham Palace garden party of the season was taking place, hosted by the King and Queen. They were joined by several senior royals including Princess Anne and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.

The fifth in line to the British throne will not be catching up with his father during the visit home, however, due to “His Majesty’s full program,” according to his spokesperson.

“The Duke of course is understanding of his father’s diary of commitments and various other priorities and hopes to see him soon,” the spokesperson added.

Buckingham Palace has not commented on the duke’s visit. Harry has had a difficult relationship with his wider family since he and his wife, Meghan, stepped back from royal duties and moved to the United States in 2020.

He is also not expected to meet his brother, Prince William, during the visit.

Harry, 39, does not appear to have been accompanied by the Duchess of Sussex for his visit to the UK. Their son, Prince Archie, turned five on Monday.

The last time the duke was back in his home country was in February on a fleeting visit after his father’s cancer diagnosis was announced.

Charles is continuing with treatment for an undisclosed cancer but he returned to public duties last week after his doctors said they were “very encouraged” by his progress.

The past few months have been a tumultuous period for Britain’s royal family. Harry’s sister-in-law, Catherine, Princess of Wales, revealed her own cancer battle in March and has asked for privacy while she undergoes treatment.

The inaugural Invictus Games, an international sporting competition for wounded veterans and members of the military, was held in London in 2014.

Following the Invictus celebrations in London, Harry and Meghan will head to Nigeria at the invitation of the Nigerian Defence Headquarters. Nigeria became Africa’s first participant in the games last year.

The next Invictus Games will be held in Vancouver and Whistler in Canada in February 2025. More than 500 competitors from over 20 nations will compete in adaptive sports such as indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball.

Last week, the cities of Birmingham in the UK and Washington, DC in the US were announced as the shortlist to host the event in 2027.

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