Prince Charles and Harry have ‘barely spoken’ in months as relations hit ‘an all-time low’ following the Duke of Sussex’ repeated jibes at the Royal family.
The heir to the throne has been left ‘deeply shocked and hurt’ following Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview and repeated statements after their departure from public duties.
Tensions escalated further on Sunday when Harry said he had ‘severed ties’ with Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz a year before Prince Charles presented the controversial Saudi billionaire with a CBE.
Prince Charles has been ‘keeping a dignified silence’ because he fears a public split could affect his reign, sources told The Sun.
Harry’s relationship with his father soured following the tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. The duke said his father had cut him off financially when he and Meghan announced plans to move to America and there was ‘a lot of hurt’.
The father and son last spoke in person at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral eight months ago, and have exchanged only a few ‘fraught’ phone calls since.
Prince Harry was in London in July to unveil the Diana statue but the father and son did not meet – and the future king has not yet met his six-month-old granddaughter Lilibet.
On Sunday Harry said he cut ties with Mr Mahfouz because he had ‘concerns’ over the businessman’s ‘motives’. He made the comments after it was revealed that he had held a private meeting with Mr Mahfouz, who has given tens of thousands of pounds to charities associated with the duke.
A friend of the Prince of Wales said: ‘Charles is deeply shocked and disappointed by Harry’s latest statement which effectively threw his father under the bus.
‘This attack was more damaging than the swipe at Charles’s parenting skills because this was a challenge to the way he conducts his business which is far more damaging to the future King.
‘Attempts have been made to clear the air but they have barely spoken since the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.’
The friend said Prince Charles loves his son and will not be retaliating.
Mr Mahfouz is embroiled in claims that he showered money on charitable causes close to the Prince of Wales in the hope of obtaining an honour and British citizenship.
Harry is said to have become concerned about Mr Mahfouz in 2014 and wound down their relationship the following year, having met him twice.
But in an extraordinary statement which could spark a family rift, Harry said he had no involvement in what he described as the ‘CBE scandal’, insisted he had concerns about the Saudi businessman’s ‘motives’ and claimed he ‘expressed his concerns’ about him.
The prince’s senior aide Michael Fawcett was forced to resign as head of The Prince’s Foundation last month over his role in the scandal.
An independent investigation last week found Mr Fawcett had colluded with ‘fixers’ representing Mr Mahfouz who were trying to secure an honour in exchange for donations.
Mr Mahfouz is thought to have donated at least £1.5 million to royal charities.
The Duke of Sussex said that when he cut ties with Mr Mahfouz in 2015, he ‘expressed his concerns about the donor’. But his statement did not make clear to whom he voiced these qualms.
The following year, Charles presented the Saudi billionaire with an ‘honorary’ CBE in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The Prince of Wales and Mr Mahfouz also held private meetings in Scotland and Saudi Arabia.