As the next in line to the British throne and reputedly seriously focused on his royal work, Prince Charles usually comes across as sombre and strait-laced. But apparently, that all changed at his son Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in early May 2018. The Queen’s eldest child gave a speech at the royal wedding reception – and it reportedly showed a rare glimpse of his true personality.
Prince Charles has two sons, William and Harry, from his first marriage to Princess Diana in 1981. Unfortunately for the boys, their parents separated just over a decade later and finalized their divorce in 1996. Devastatingly, the following year, Diana tragically died in a car accident in Paris.
Now it is fair to say that Charles has not always enjoyed the best reputation. Indeed, the 70-year-old’s image was severely damaged after his alleged affair with his current wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, came to light while he was still married to Diana. The heir apparent also came under heavy fire for his reportedly questionable treatment of his first wife.
Sadly, Diana passed away two weeks before Harry’s 13th birthday, while William was 15 years of age at the time. And so, the boys were raised under their father’s care following their mother’s sudden death. But it can’t have been easy, and the task of informing his kids that their mom had died must have been extremely difficult for Charles.
Indeed, his younger son, Harry, sympathized with his father’s plight in a documentary broadcast by the BBC in August 2017. “One of the hardest things for a parent to have to do is to tell your children that your other parent has died,” Harry said in Diana, 7 Days. “How you deal with that, I don’t know.” Harry added that he is now aware of how tricky it was for his dad to act as a single parent while also dealing with a personal bereavement himself.
The prince continued to the cameras, “He was there for us – he was the one out of two left, and he tried to do his best and to make sure that we were protected and looked after. But he was going through the same grieving process as well.” Nevertheless, around the same time that the documentary was first transmitted, royal biographer Penny Junor told The Daily Beast website that in her opinion Charles had been so committed to his royal duties that it adversely affected his bond with his sons.
In fact, Junor has produced no fewer than six books on the British royal family, so when she speaks on the topic people seem to listen. “It is a slightly tricky relationship, because Charles has always been quite a remote figure, he has always been consumed by work,” she continued to the Daily Beast. “That’s not a product of a lack of love. It’s a product of the fact he is so focused on his work and the need to make a difference in the world that, like many people who are seeking to make a difference in the world, he has sometimes overlooked friends and loved ones beside him.”
And while Harry is well known for his easy charm and fun nature, the same is not often said of Charles, and father and son have reportedly clashed in the past. But, by knowledgable accounts, the pair’s relationship has improved over recent years. And the arrival of Meghan Markle in their lives is said to have played a big part in making that happen.
In June 2018, it was claimed by U.K. tabloid the Daily Star that Charles had become so fond of his 36-year-old daughter-in-law that he had given her a nickname. Apparently he knows Meghan as “Tungsten” because he affectionately considers her to be tough like the metal. Furthermore, according to fellow British tabloid the Daily Mail, Charles has told friends, “‘She is so intelligent and so nice. She makes Harry happy. We could not like her more.’” And it seems as if those warm feelings are fully reciprocated by the former actress.
Consequently, when Meghan’s father was unable to attend her wedding at the last minute, the bride-to-be asked Charles to walk her down the aisle instead. “The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to The Royal Family in this way,” Kensington Palace said in a statement. But it turns out that during the big day, this was not the only moment Charles showed his compassionate side.
The wedding took place at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle before some 600 guests, all of whom were invited to a lunchtime reception held by the Queen following the ceremony. Then, in the evening, Charles hosted a private dinner for the couple’s closest friends and family members at the nearby Frogmore House.
Harry and – in a major break with tradition – Meghan both addressed the lucky invitees at the evening event. But the highlight of the reception was supposedly a toast given by Charles. The Prince of Wales is said to have delivered a heartfelt speech that fully exposed his sentimental side.
One of Harry’s friends later told The Times newspaper that Charles had made “the most lovely, moving speech welcoming Meghan to the family.” They went on to add, “He was incredibly loving and touching about Harry and spoke of how his son had grown into a ‘big man with a big heart.’” In fact, Charles apparently made those present at Frogmore House both laugh and cry with his celebratory oratory.
Another guest revealed to the Daily Mail that Charles had almost brought the house down when he recounted a hilarious story about Harry being in diapers. “Charles spoke about feeding Harry a bottle and changing his nappy and then said look how well he turned out. That’s about as embarrassing as it got,” the onlooker divulged.
And guest Peter Fearnhead was subsequently quoted in The Daily Telegraph newspaper, saying, “Prince Charles made a really gracious speech. It was really calming and amazingly endearing. He’s got a wonderfully dry sense of humor.” Although he may not be publicly known for his quick-witted ways, then, it seems Charles showed the Frogmore House guests how funny he can be in private.
What’s more, the next in line to the British throne also reportedly mentioned that he was grateful for the honor of giving Markle away. “Charles gave a brilliant speech. Harry was very emotional,” a source told People magazine. “He said he was very pleased to be asked [to walk Meghan down the aisle] and happy to help out.”
But perhaps most importantly, Charles made it clear to the room how much his youngest son means to him. The Daily Mail reported that the father of the groom chose an emotional way to end his toast to the happy couple. Charles apparently said, “My darling old Harry, I’m so happy for you.”
In her speech, as reported by The Sunday Times, Meghan thanked the royal family for being so welcoming – and shared her particular appreciation for Charles. Meanwhile, it has been claimed that Harry praised his new wife for the way she “navigated everything with such grace,” before adding, “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.” The prince is also believed to have said, “We make such a great team.”
In the immediate aftermath of the wedding, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex team appeared to postpone any thoughts of a honeymoon to commence their royal duties. And Harry and Meghan’s first official engagement was three days later at a garden party at Buckingham Palace for Charles’ 70th birthday. This time, it was Harry’s turn to give a glowing speech in his father’s praise.
And it was obvious from the young prince’s warm words that their father-and-son relationship is in a very good place. After Charles’ kind eloquence just three days before, Harry made it clear that the feelings of admiration are mutual. He addressed his old dad in front of the birthday guests, saying, “So, Pa, while I know that you’ve asked that today not be about you, you must forgive me if I don’t listen to you – much like when I was younger – and instead, I ask everyone here to say a huge thank you to you, for your incredible work over nearly 50 years.”