Will the new year bring a fresh start for the royal family? How the King’s forgiving nature and positive steps towards reconciliation could bring Charles and Harry back together – after a tumultuous 2023

It’s been a tumultuous year for the British royal family amid heightened tensions between the Firm and Prince Harry.

The royals have faced a series of explosive events in 2023, from the release of the Duke’s memoir Spare to the controversies reignited by Omid Scobie‘s Endgame.

But with a new year comes new beginnings, and recent developments suggest King Charles, 75, is in a forgiving mood – indicating the possibility of reconciliation between himself and his LA-based offspring.

Just days ago, the King’s benevolence saw Sarah, Duchess of York, 64, attend her first Christmas Service at the Sandringham Estate for over 30 years.

The former wife of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, 63, has certainly had her ups and downs in the royal family. But on Christmas day, the connection appeared restored as she joined the royals in Norfolk.

Charles appears to be in a forgiving mood following Sarah Fergusons' return to the Christmas service at Sandringham this year, which might extend to his youngest son in 2024. Charles and Harry are pictured above in 2019

Charles appears to be in a forgiving mood following Sarah Fergusons’ return to the Christmas service at Sandringham this year, which might extend to his youngest son in 2024. Charles and Harry are pictured above in 2019

Fergie might have had a comeback into the family tradition, but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remained across the pond for the festivities – which follows a year of separation during several key royal events.

Earlier this year, it emerged that Harry and Meghan’s daughter Princess Lilibet had been christened in an intimate ceremony at their home in Montecito, California. However, King Charles, Queen Camilla, Prince William and Kate did not attend.

bulletin published on the Royal Family’s website showed a busy schedule of public duties from the week of February 25 to March 3, which may have been a pointed reply to the claim that they ‘snubbed’ Lillibet’s Moneticito christening.

The list showed how the Prince and Princess of Wales attended the Six Nations Rugby Match between Wales and England at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, on February 25.

The following day, the Princess Royal and her husband Captain Tim Laurence watched the International Rugby Match between France and Scotland at the Stade de France in Paris.

Later events saw the King meet European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen after Rishi Sunak’s revised Brexit agreement, while Prince William and his wife visited a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Wales – meeting vulnerable service users among a host of other engagements.

Royal experts were left confounded over the christening arrangements of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s daughter Lilibet, with a question mark over whether the baby’s blue-blooded relatives were invited.

Royal author Omid Scobie claimed King Charles, the Queen Consort ands the Prince and Princess of Wales ‘declined’ an invitation to attend Lilibet’s christening in California.

Tensions within the father son duo intensified following the release of Prince Harry's memoir - Spare

Tensions within the father son duo intensified following the release of Prince Harry’s memoir – Spare

Sarah Ferguson returned to the Christmas church service alongside Prince Andrew and other royals for the first time in over 30 years

Sarah Ferguson returned to the Christmas church service alongside Prince Andrew and other royals for the first time in over 30 years

Scobie, who has previously been sympathetic towards the Sussexes, insisted the King, Queen, Prince and Princess of Wales were invited to the ceremony but chose not to attend.

It is not known whether any other Royal Family members were present, nor when the British royals were invited – or how the message was sent to the UK.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘It would be for The Duke and Duchess to confirm who attended their daughter’s christening.’

However, Princess Diana’s older sisters, Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale, were present at Princess Lilibet’s christening, according to reports.

Prince Harry’s two aunts on his mother’s side were said to be among the 20-30 guests at the ‘intimate’ ceremony and following party which was held at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Montecito mansion.

It is not clear when the Duke of Sussex last saw his aunts, although they have been present at his important life events along with Prince Harry’s uncle, Earl Spencer.

Prince Harry looks on at his brother Prince William in the front row during the Coronation of their father King Charles III at Westminster Abbey

Prince Harry looks on at his brother Prince William in the front row during the coronation of their father King Charles III at Westminster Abbey

Prince Harry wore an awkward smile as he was forced to watch the Coronation of his father King Charles III from his relegated seat in the third row - while his brother Prince William took centre stage

Prince Harry wore an awkward smile as he was forced to watch the Coronation of his father King Charles III from his relegated seat in the third row – while his brother Prince William took centre stage

The Duke of Sussex finally emerged as he joined other members of the royal family in entering the church in central London, before being seen walking down the aisle by himself

The Duke of Sussex finally emerged as he joined other members of the royal family in entering the church in central London, before being seen walking down the aisle by himself

Two months later, King Charles’ Coronation bought further speculation about the feuding family.

Prince Harry wore an awkward smile as he was forced to watch the Coronation of King Charles III from his relegated seat in the third row – while his brother Prince William took centre stage alongside Kate Middleton.

Meghan, on the other hand, did not attend the event and stayed in California with Archie and Lilibet, perhaps because the Kings’ Coronation fell on the same day as Archie’s fourth birthday.

Omid Scobie confirmed Archie’s birthday ‘played a factor in the couple’s decision’ and he expected it would be a ‘fairly quick trip to the UK’ for Harry.

During his fleeting appearance, the Duke of Sussex seemed keen to put on a jovial display at Westminster Abbey amid ongoing speculation of the Royal Family’s inner turmoil.

Wearing medals pinned to his suit jacket, he had been seen laughing and smiling as he entered the church alongside Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice and their respective husbands Jack Brooksbank and Edo Mapelli Mozzi.

He awkwardly nodded at other guests as he endured a solo walk down the aisle to take his seat next to his cousins ahead of the arrival of his father and Camilla.

The Duke and Duchess were once a key part of the family. They are pictured with Charles on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping The Colour 2018

The Duke and Duchess were once a key part of the family. They are pictured with Charles on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping The Colour 2018

Harry appeared to bow his head as the newly-anointed King walked past him on his way out of the Abbey – although much of his true reaction was blocked by a feather on Princess Anne’s hat.

The prince had not been seen for over 24 hours after his arrival and accommodation plans remained shrouded in secrecy – before it emerged he had flown into the UK on a commercial American Airlines flight on Friday morning.

Tensions were exacerbated at the event following the release of Harry’s memoir Spare, which was published in January.

Attacks rained down in every chapter of the book: from accusations that his brother assaulted him in a row over Meghan to swipes at Camilla as a perceived ‘evil stepmother’ when she first entered the fold.

Harry also alleges that William and Kate – his once adored sister-in-law who is now painted as cold and unfriendly – encouraged him to wear his infamous Nazi fancy dress outfit.

In a leaked extract of his highly anticipated autobiography, Spare, Prince Harry recounted a meeting with his father and brother after Prince Philip's funeral in April 2021

In a leaked extract of his highly anticipated autobiography, Spare, Prince Harry recounted a meeting with his father and brother after Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021

The cover of Prince Harry's highly anticipated autobiography, Spare

The cover of Prince Harry’s highly anticipated autobiography, Spare

Fast forward to the end of the year, and another bombshell book launched a string of attacks at the royal family – Omid Scobie’s Endgame.

Harry and Meghan’s cheerleader-in-chief, who is based in east London, accused King Charles and Prince William of ‘scheming against one another’ while calling the Princess of Wales ‘cold’ and ‘a Stepford wife’.

Holding no prisoners, he also took aim at Princess Anne, saying she convinced Charles to evict Harry and Meghan, while also saying Camilla has ‘no relationship’ with Harry.

Scobie, 42, has been branded ‘nasty’ and ‘disgraceful’ by royal experts over the claims.

His astonishing attack on the Princess of Wales, lambasting her for ‘advocating for mental health causes while ignoring Meghan’s cries for help’, while also branding her a ‘part-time working royal’ over the number of engagements she carries out were branded ‘unfair’ and ‘unwarranted’.

Prince Harry sits down with Tom Bradby ahead of book release

Despite the high drama, several recent instances have indicated a forgiving mood in Charles and an optimistic and cohesive future for the family.

And ties between the father and son haven’t completely severed – with Harry calling his father on his 75th birthday, reports claimed.

The Duke of Sussex and his family did not travel to London where Charles held a small celebratory gathering at Clarence House last month.

A week before the celebration, Harry re-ignited his public war of words with the Royal Family, declaring that he has had ‘no contact’ with Buckingham Palace over the King’s 75th birthday celebrations.

However, it appeared there was an olive branch from Montecito, with a phone call in the afternoon or evening due to the time difference in California.

A ‘well placed’ source told the BBC that Harry would want to speak to his father on his big day.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, supposedly called his father on his 75th birthday today

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Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, supposedly called his father on his 75h birthday today

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, was said to call his father on his 75th birthday today, but stayed away from the celebrations

Charles was working on his birthday, and launched the Coronation Food Project with the Queen which aims to bridge the gap between food waste and food need

Charles was working on his birthday, and launched the Coronation Food Project with the Queen which aims to bridge the gap between food waste and food need

With conversations apparently in the works, a fully-fledged reconciliation might be on the cards.

And forgiveness is certainly in the air – following Charles decision to permit Prince Andrew and his wife Sarah Ferguson to the Christmas day festivities at Sandringham.

The Duke of York, 63, and the Duchess, 64, walked behind senior royals as crowds lined the road outside the St Mary Magdalene Church for the traditional Christmas Day service on the Norfolk estate.

It’s the first time Fergie has joined the royals for the walk in over 30 years, following the couple’s high profile divorce in 1996.

But King Charles softened that approach last year and invited her to join the family at Sandringham for the first time in decades, though she didn’t join them for church.

For the second year in succession, Andrew made the walk from Sandringham to church with the other royals – symbolic of his gradual rehabilitation within the monarchy.

Sarah Ferguson was all smiles as she attended the Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Chruch

Sarah Ferguson was all smiles as she attended the Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Chruch

Fergie is pictured arriving with Prince Andrew, her daughter Princess Beatrice and her husband Edo Mapelli Mozzi

Fergie is pictured arriving with Prince Andrew, her daughter Princess Beatrice and her husband Edo Mapelli Mozzi

On the topic, the Daily Mail’s Diary Editor Richard Eden said: ‘The King’s embrace of the Duke and Duchess of York shows that there is a way back for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.’

‘He demonstrated his capacity for forgiveness by inviting Sarah, Duchess of York to join her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, and senior members of the Royal Family at church in Sandringham.

‘The fact that Andrew was also with the working royals, for the second year running, shows that the King is determined to be a forgiving monarch.’

In addition to the Christmas event, Sarah has enjoyed life back in the royal fold in recent times.

Despite divorcing in 1996, Andrew and Fergie’s assets are still so entwined, so that good fortune for one means good fortune for the other. They still live together at Royal Lodge on the Windsor estate and recently sold their jointly-owned £17 million ski chalet in the Swiss resort of Verbier.

Andrew, too, has had some good luck – financially, at least.

Charles agreed to foot his brother’s estimated £3million-a-year bill for private bodyguards after his police protection was withdrawn.

And while there is no pressing desire on the part of the King to find a new job for Andrew, the Monarch is said to be warming to the idea that Andrew might be permitted to use ‘HRH’ on his correspondence again, something previously denied.

Only time will tell if Charles will extend the same level of forgiveness to his youngest son, but his capacity to forgive is certainly evident.

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