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Prince Harry makes rare joke about father King Charles amid royal rift

Prince Harry has made a rare comment about his father King Charles III amid rumoured tension with the British royal family.

The Duke of Sussex, 39, reportedly cracked a joke about the British monarch during his speech at the Living Legends of Aviation Awards in Beverly Hills, California. The father of two was being recognised at the 21st annual awards for his work as a British Army veteran and pilot.

The royal was presented the honour by actor John Travola, who asked Harry to speak about his flight experience. He then recalled his very first flight with his father, the then-Prince of Wales. “I think I was maybe seven or eight years old in a Wessex helicopter, and I jumped into it so excited. And then my father jumped in behind the controls and I was terrified,” Harry told the audience, according to Entertainment Tonight.

Harry’s comments about his father come amid tensions with the royal family following the release of his bombshell memoir, Spare, in January 2022. Most recently, a new autobiography by royal journalist Robert Hardman has made some shocking revelations about Harry and his wife Meghan Markle’s relationship with the royal family.

According to Charles III: New King. New Court. The Inside Story, the late Queen Elizabeth II was infuriated by the Sussexes’ claim that she had approved them naming their daughter Lilibet. The book, which is currently being serialised in the Daily Mail, also claimed Harry and Meghan were “rebuffed” by Buckingham Palace when they asked them to back up their claim publicly.

The book reads: “One privately [member of palace staff] recalled that Elizabeth II had been ‘as angry as I’d ever seen her’ in 2021 after the Sussexes announced that she had given them her blessing to call their baby daughter ‘Lilibet’, the Queen’s childhood nickname.

“The couple subsequently fired off warnings of legal action against anyone who dared to suggest otherwise, as the BBC had done. However, when the Sussexes tried to co-opt the Palace into propping up their version of events, they were rebuffed.”

Shortly after Lilibet’s name was announced, the BBC reported a palace source saying that the Queen “was not asked by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex about naming their daughter Lilibet”.

The couple then accused the broadcasters of libel but, according to Hardman, the threat of legal action “evaporated and the libel action against the BBC never materialised”.

King Charles III is currently awaiting treatment for an enlarged prostate. Buckingham Palace announced he will go to hospital this week for the “corrective procedure”, adding that the 75-year-old’s condition was benign but that all upcoming public engagements would be postponed.

According to a report from The Telegraph, Harry may not have been informed about his father’s health and instead learned from the media. The announcement was made in the United Kingdom at 3.25pm, which is 7.25am for Harry and Meghan in California - where they relocated after stepping down from the royal family in 2020. The outlet reported that all senior members of the royal family, including Harry, were informed of the King’s health condition before broadcasting the news.

Queen Camilla has since given an update on Charles’ health. While visiting the Aberdeen Art Gallery on 18 January, she said the King is “fine” as he awaits treatment. “He’s fine, thank you very much. Looking forward to getting back to work,” Camilla said.