King Charles III and Queen Elizabeth grew closer after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry left behind their duties as royal family members, according to The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy author Robert Hardman.

When Prince Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, decided to distance themselves from the royal family in 2020, they proposed a scenario that would allow them to combine their public duties with their own personal interests. Despite partaking in negotiations, Charles, 75, and Elizabeth firmly believed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had to fully commit to their responsibilities as royals.

“Harry and Meghan’s departure brought Charles and his mother closer together,” Hardman told People in an interview published on Tuesday, January 23.

The tension between the family members grew when Meghan and Harry participated in a bombshell interview with CBS in March 2021, in which they spoke about their “toxic” experiences in England. “I don’t think anything could really trump the sort of sense of shock,” Hardman said about the revelations shared during the interview. “That was huge.”

Not only did the couple share insight into the family’s drama during the CBS interview, but they continued to share a glimpse into their lives and family drama in their 2022 Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan, and Harry’s 2023 memoir, Spare.

“There was a sort of weary resignation, but also a sense that, ‘Look, I’ve got so much to worry about now that I don’t have the luxury of dwelling on this,’” Hardman shared of Charles’ reaction to the public claims made against the royals. “If that’s what they want to do. I mean there’s, there’s only so much I as a father can do. And the door is always open.”

The author added that Harry and Meghan’s exit from the royal family has had a lasting impact on the monarchy, while he said there has been an “occasional wistful thought” at the palace “of if they were still part of the team and of all the things they could have done and could now be doing.”

King Charles and Queen Elizabeth Grew ‘Closer’ After Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Exit
Anwar Hussein/WireImage

“There is no question that Harry and Meghan are a great loss to the institution, and that is still appreciated and understood,” Hardman continued. “There’s absolutely no sense of good riddance or anything like that. It’s fundamentally a source of deep regret.”

Hardman shared insight into the royal family’s current dynamic just four days after Harry made a rare public joke about his father amid their estrangement.

“I think I was maybe 7 or 8 years old in a Wessex helicopter, and I jumped into it so excited,” he recalled while accepting an award at the Living Legends of Aviation Awards on January 19. “And then my father jumped in behind the controls and I was terrified.”

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