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Why Prince Charles Was Actually Crying In This Picture

Prince Charles Crying Archie Picture Fact Check
March 27, 2021 - 08:30 / Lucas Anderson

By now you've probably seen a story online with a teary Prince Charles supposedly having a "regret" or making a "jaw-dropping" remark about his infant grandson Archie. Was he actually upset about Archie in the emotional picture? Let's take a closer look and find the origin of the photo that has spread around the web.

No, Prince Charles was not crying about baby Archie in that picture you often see online.

These days, Prince Charles is a popular target for strange stories claiming to reveal everything from his supposedly brutal feelings about his daughter-in-law, Meghan Markle, to the identity of Prince Harry's real father. But here's a closer look at the most widely-circulated article on the Prince of Wales: his apparently major regret about his grandson Archie.

Prince Charles: The "crying Archie" picture

Variations of this article exist around the web, but headlines will similarly say that Prince Charles had a "regret," felt "emotional," or made a "jaw-dropping" remark about his grandson, born to Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan in 2019. 

The suggestion is that he had a strong reaction specifically to Archie leaving the UK in late 2019, when his parents moved the family to North America. So let's get the easy part out of the way: Prince Charles was not crying about Archie in this picture.

Prince Charles: Not crying about Archie in this picture.

The truth of the photo is it's from a 2015 event at Clarence House for Travels to My Elephant, a fundraising race organized to save Asian elephants from extinction. Prince Charles got emotional because the event was in memory of Duchess Camilla's late brother Mark Shand, who died suddenly after an accident less than a year earlier.

Shand was a devoted conservationist and a founder of the Elephant Family charity, which put on the event. At the launch, Charles spoke on the "terrible tragedy" that was the loss of Mark Shand, and his and Camilla's effort to "keep his legacy going."

Did Prince Charles have that baby Archie regret?

So the picture is from four years before Archie's birth. As for the big Archie regret you're promised in the headlines... For starters, if you click on variations of the Charles-Archie story, they will all take you to the same article, though it appears on several different sites.

Prince Charles got emotional at 2015 event in memory of Mark Shand.

It's an 80-page slideshow that — very slowly — walks through conventional royal history, eventually alluding to Prince Charles being blindsided by his son's decision to leave the UK with his family back in 2019. A royal expert is then quoted to have said that Charles does "personally regret the fact [that] he won't see his son and family" after believing he offered them genuine support. 

The conclusion is made that Charles must adapt to the decisions of his children, even if it means he can't see his grandson in person. The article then dedicates slides to pictures Charles keeps in his home office and a theory that the Sussex family was edited out of a blank photoframe.

In sum, Prince Charles was grieving a family loss in a picture that's since been used to grab attention for unrelated stories. We also previously looked at the story that Prince Harry has a "secret sister" who has been kept out of the spotlight for devious reasons. See that fact-check here.