• Prince Harry is back in London
  • He is marking the Invictus Games anniversary
  • King Charles' lack of contact could spell the end

Harry is now back in London to mark the tenth anniversary of the Invictus Games, his tournament for wounded armed forces personnel, including through a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday. Speculation had been building in the British media that father and son would see each other in what would have been a positive sign for their relationship

After all, the king is still recovering from cancer...

A royal rift that looks impossible now

A spokesperson for the Duke of Sussex said: "In response to the many inquiries and continued speculation on whether or not the duke will meet with his father while in the UK this week, it unfortunately will not be possible due to His Majesty's full program. The duke of course is understanding of his father's diary of commitments and various other priorities and hopes to see him soon."

There has been no official comment from the palace side to explain why Charles is not meeting Harry, leaving his motivation somewhat open to interpretation.

The thing is, Prince William will be officially made colonel-in-chief of the Army Air Corps, Prince Harry's former regiment, in which he served as co-pilot gunner of an Apache helicopter on the front line in Afghanistan between September 2012 and January 2013.

The appointment was announced last summer but the announcement of the ceremony itself and choreography on the day may sting for Harry not least because of the timing and the wide interpretation in the British media.

The king will unveil a plaque relating to an Apache AH Mk.1 that was in battle in Afghanistan in 2007, which is included in an exhibition at The Army Flying Museum.

A palace press release reads: "Finally, The Prince [William] will depart the base by embarking on an Apache capability flight to deepen his understanding of the capabilities of the equipment and to learn more about the people that fly and support it."

Of course, had Harry still been a working royal there would have been no need to "deepen his understanding of the capabilities of the equipment" as he was trained to operate the Apache in combat.

Charles and William could, of course, defuse any potential offense caused if they were to commend Harry's service on the front line in Afghanistan during the engagement itself.

Was it intentional from Charles?

The symbolic messaging in relation to William's new role also serves as a reminder that honorary military titles can be given out to any royal family member irrespective of whether they have earned their stripes.

For example, Prince Edward who dropped out before ever completing basic training for the Royal Marines. No doubt he had his reasons, but as a working royal he is allowed to wear military uniform during royal events, including the queen's funeral, while Harry who served on the front line is not.

In a context where Charles and William have already beaten Harry in the court of public opinion in Britain they are now at risk of exposing their underlying weakness and Harry's strength by picking the wrong battlefield.

On the other hand, if Charles and William are not taking a swipe at Harry then they could do with offering some kind of on-the-record explanation of why Charles is not meeting his son, and perhaps they might even consider recognizing the tenth anniversary of the Invictus Games which exists to support wounded veterans.

Also interesting:

The British Government was represented at a conference marking ten years of the Invictus Games Foundation on Tuesday, where veterans minister Johnny Mercer was in attendance and he may well be back out at St Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday.

Yet the royal family so far have said nothing to support Harry's project, even though it was launched in 2014 while he was a working royal, and the king has found no time to meet his son.