Though Prince Harry and Meghan Markle did not attend King Charles III‘s 75th birthday festivities, they marked the occasion in another way.
“Harry and Meghan called his father for his birthday, it was a big step toward healing their relationship,” a source tells Us Weekly. “After harboring such animosity towards one another it felt great to get back to being family and cordial with each other.”
In addition to the phone call, “Charles received a video of their kids singing him happy birthday and it made his day,” the insider added. (Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, share son Archie, 4, and daughter Lilibet, 2.)
The source continued: “Charles has missed speaking to his grandkids as well as Meghan and Harry, holding onto this grudge hasn’t been something that’s been good for either side and they are all looking forward to the future and a better relationship as a family.”
Days before Charles’ birthday on Tuesday, November 14, news broke that Harry, 39, would not be in attendance at the monarch’s London celebration. “In response to UK media headlines, there has been no contact regarding an invitation to His Majesty’s upcoming birthday,” a spokesperson for Harry told Us on November 6.
At the time, a second source claimed that Harry declined an invite to the event, which was held at Clarence House on Tuesday. Prince William and Princess Kate Middleton were photographed leaving the party with smiles on their faces. Kate, 41, sported a sparkling emerald gown to the celebration while William, also 41, opted for a classic black blazer and white shirt.
Other royal attendees included Queen Camilla, Princess Beatrice, Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Tindall, and Zara’s husband Mike.
While the couple were noticeably missing from the Prince and Princess of Wales’ Instagram tribute to Charles, the royal family’s birthday post featured several snaps of Harry and Charles together over the years. “👑🎂 Wishing His Majesty The King a happy 75th birthday,” the palace captioned the Instagram upload.
Tensions between Harry and Meghan and the royal family came to a head (again) earlier this year following the release of Harry’s bombshell memoir, Spare. In the book, the Duke of Sussex made many revelations about his family, including claiming that Charles would often joke that the late Princess Diana’s lover Major James Hewitt was Harry’s real father.
Harry also recalled a tense conversation with William and Charles after Prince Philip‘s funeral in September 2021, during which the pair confessed they didn’t understand why he and Meghan chose to step down from royal duties and leave the U.K.
Royal expert Christopher Andersen told Us in July that the royal family “does not want another kid writing a book,” adding, “Obviously, Harry was very hurt by being in the shadow of his brother. I think they’re aware of that.”
After a tough year in the public eye, Harry and Meghan are “learning to lighten up a bit” heading into 2024, another insider told Us earlier this month. “They got their bearings back and are focused and recharged and ready to get back out there again.”
With reporting by Travis Cronin