King Charles III made a rare public comment about his grandchildren amid reports that he “regrets” not seeing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s kids, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

The British monarch, 75, welcomed the Emperor and Empress of Japan, Naruhito and his wife, Masako Owada, to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, June 25. During his speech at the state banquet, Charles mentioned a few pieces of Japanese pop culture and history, including Hello Kitty, fly fishing and Pokémon. He also incorporated a brief nod to his grandkids.

“I am only sorry to report that I haven’t had any better luck with more recent attempts at fishing — the Pokémon phrase ‘gotta catch ’em all’ may resonate with my grandchildren, but for me, it is, perhaps, aspirational,” he joked.

Charles has five grandchildren. His oldest son, Prince William, shares kids Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis with wife Kate Middleton. Meanwhile, younger son Harry, 39, shares Archie, 5, and Lilibet, 3, with wife Meghan, 42.

While the king has likely spent plenty of time with George, 10, Charlotte, 9, and Louis, 6, he has reportedly not seen his other two grandchildren often due to his estrangement from Harry. The Spare author has had a difficult relationship with his father and William, 42, since he and Meghan moved to the U.S. and stepped down as royals in 2020.

However, Charles reportedly “regrets” how his strained relationship with Harry has trickled down to Archie and Lilibet, royal commentator Michael Cole told MailOnline on June 11. Michael, 55, said the king feels the “lack of closeness with his California grandchildren acutely.”

King Charles Makes Rare Comment About His Grandchildren

“The King has seen Archie in person only a handful of times and Princess Lilibet only once,” the commentator continued. “The Sussexes did not take the opportunity to have Lilibet christened at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, on their last visit when there was an opportunity and it could have been quite easily arranged.”

Charles’ stance on his relationship with his grandkids comes amid his battle with cancer, which was announced in February.

“Painfully aware that time is precious, the king regrets that he cannot be closer to his grandchildren Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet,” Michael said.

Charles’ diagnosis was revealed after he was hospitalized for surgery to treat an enlarged prostate. Buckingham Palace shared in a statement on Instagram that “a separate issue of concern was noted” during his hospital stay.

“Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer,” the statement continued. “His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.”

Charles later returned to public-facing duties, beginning with a visit to the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre in London on April 30. A source exclusively told In Touch on May 24 that he was eager to get back to work.

“He’s duty-bound and feels it a responsibility to be in public — even when he’s not feeling 100 percent,” the insider said.

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