Congrats to King Charles, who turned 75 yesterday and celebrated in royally dramatic fashion. Though Buckingham Palace previously suggested he would have a low-key affair, he reportedly wound up partying until midnight at Clarence House.
The Daily Beast reports that his gathering was “significantly larger and more lavish” than initially advertised, a discrepancy the outlet says “graphically exposed” just how bad the “rift” between Charles and Harry really is.
Harry, as his team has clarified, was not actually invited to Charles’s birthday, despite press-circulated rumors last week that he turned down his father’s invitation.
But he did follow through on his reported plan to call his dad on Tuesday and wish him a happy birthday. It was apparently the first time the two had spoken since the coronation.
A week before the big bash, the Sunday Times reported that, despite Charles extending the olive branch, Harry would “not be making the trip from California” for the occasion.
The Sussexes promptly came back with a rebuttal, a spokesperson for the couple telling The Messenger that the Times had it wrong. “In response to U.K. media headlines, there has been no contact regarding an invitation to His Majesty’s upcoming birthday. It is disappointing the Sunday Times has misreported this story.”
Shortly thereafter, Buckingham Palace clarified the schedule of events: A slate of public-facing appearances and duties; a tea at Highgrove with “other 75-year-olds,” per Vanity Fair; and an intimate evening at home with a “limited” guest list, mostly consisting of his immediate family.
In the end, the party was attended by the usual suspects, including but not limited to Prince William and Princess Kate Middleton, plus assorted other relatives — “royals minor and major,” according to the Beast — the musician Jools Holland; the late Queen’s racing manager; and staffers including Lady Susan Hussey, the former Buckingham Palace employee fired for making racist comments.
As for Harry, the last time he was in Britain for a celebration of his dad — the coronation in May — he stayed for 24 hours and left immediately after the service.
Maybe someone in Buckingham Palace took the hint? Anyway, The Sun’s sources described the chat as “friendly and cordial,” while The Telegraph heralded the call a “turning point” and predicted Harry and Charles would speak again next week. Wonder what they’ll talk about?