King Charles says he is ‘immensely proud’ of sons Harry and William

The King has spoken of his “immense pride” in both his sons, days after it was finally confirmed that Harry will attend his Coronation. Forgiving Charles is relieved the estranged Prince will see him crowned, but faces a fight to reunite his family after their rift.

His Majesty, who never wavered in his love for his younger son, sounded a conciliatory note at the first Sandhurst passing-out parade he has attended since acceding to the throne.

He told officer cadets about the importance of support from family and friends who were there to see them graduate.

The King continued: “And, speaking as a father of two alumni of this academy who remembers their passing-out parades, I know they will be full of immense pride in witnessing you on parade.”

Royal commentators interpreted his public expression of his pride in Harry, as well as in William, as a sign of the King’s desire to build bridges. It comes after longstanding turmoil over the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s lengthy list of grievances about the monarchy.

In a Netflix series last year and in the Prince’s memoir Spare, ­published in January, the fifth in line to the throne made pointed complaints about his father’s ­parenting skills.

He also accused Queen Camilla of leaking stories to the press and voiced numerous gripes about the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Although insiders have suggested that emotions are still too raw and schedules too busy for there to be much chance of peace talks when Harry returns to Britain briefly for next month’s Coronation, royal biographer Robert Lacey called the King’s speech a “promising start.”

He said that although the 74-year-old monarch had acted decisively to end Harry and Meghan’s lease on their home at Frogmore Cottage on the royal estate at Windsor, he was still keen to reconcile with the Prince.

Mr Lacey – who chronicled the family rift in his book Battle of Brothers – said: “It is a promising start. Clearly, improving relations with his younger son will be one of his priorities in the new reign but he has got more pressing priorities at the moment.”

Harry, 38, will see his father and his stepmother Queen Camilla crowned at Westminster Abbey on May 6. It is understood that service will be the only public event he will attend.

It is unclear if he will return to Buckingham Palace afterwards for a family lunch.

However he is not expected to appear on the Palace balcony with working members of the Royal Family – nor attend the Coronation Concert the next day.

When Harry flew back from the US last month to attend a High Court case in London, his father and brother were both “too busy” to see him.

Insiders have suggested that there will be little time, or appetite, for reconciliation efforts during the Coronation week.

William and Kate in particular are understood to be angry about Prince Harry’s attacks on them.

But the King continues to hold out an olive branch, and it was significant that he referenced him at Sandhurst.

As the then-Prince of Wales, Charles had joined the Queen, Prince Philip and Camilla, the then Duchess of Cornwall, at Harry’s own passing-out at Sandhurst in April 2006.

He was also at Prince William’s parade that December when his son’s future wife Kate made her first major appearance with the Royal Family.

Harry, who lives in California, has recalled how his “Commander-in-Chief” granny Queen Elizabeth made him smile and blush during his parade when she stopped to inspect him – she is thought to have made a witty remark.

The Royal Military Academy holds three passing-out parades a year for cadets completing the 44-week officer training course.

The Duke of Gloucester took the salute at the first one of the new reign last December.

At the academy today the King’s new colours were blessed and presented.

The old colours, belonging to the late Queen, were marched on to the parade ground as cadets saluted a statue of her.

Charles, who went to Dartmouth and Cranwell colleges while training with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force respectively, recalled his experiences of half a century ago.

The King said: “Having attended, and survived, two of the other military academies 50 years ago, I think I have some idea of the challenges which are inherent in military training.”

He went on: “I have experienced the nerves, the exhaustion, even the self-doubt – but despite such recollections, it is the lifelong friendships which are forged through shared hardship, and the humour you find in the darkest hours of the coldest, wettest nights, which remain with you.”

The King spoke of the war in Ukraine and praised the “courageously indomitable Ukrainian people.

War has returned to Europe on a scale not seen since 1945.

“As we have now passed the first anniversary of the conflict in Ukraine, it is worth saying that I have been particularly impressed and proud of the role the British Army, alongside wider defence, has played in supporting Ukraine.

“The UK has been a leading nation in delivering training expertise, equipment and advice alongside our allies and partners.”

He said that the conflict in Ukraine had shown the importance of partnerships such as Nato as well as with non-traditional allies.

The King highlighted that Finland had recently become a member of the Western alliance and said that move reinforced the “enduring strength of our collective resolve to stand up to illegal and unprovoked aggression”. His Majesty also praised the Army for its evacuation of vulnerable Afghans from Kabul and its support for the Government’s response to the pandemic.

The King continued, at the 200th Sovereign’s Parade: “Just as ­pressure in the East remains, so the peaceful world order which we so took for granted, particularly here in the West, is no guarantee.

“We face challenges at home and abroad, all of which, I know, draw on our Army to assist in keeping the country safe and functioning.”

Finally, he wished the new officers success and good luck for their future career.

He said: “I can only wish each of you every possible success and good fortune as you embark on your future service to this nation, and a most fulfilling career.

“We are fortunate to have you, as well as those here today who so loyally support you.”

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