United Kingdom

DAN WOOTTON: Prince Charles heads to his Welsh bolthole to privately grieve for his father

Prince Charles has left for his cottage in Wales to privately grieve the loss of his father – following an extraordinary summit with Prince William and Prince Harry immediately after Prince Philip's funeral.

I have learned the grief-stricken Prince of Wales fled to Llwynywermod in Llandovery on his own within 24 hours of his father being laid to rest.

He departed after a face-to-face meeting within the grounds of Windsor Castle with his two sons, where they started the 'baby steps' towards a reconciliation following Harry and Meghan's bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview.

But, in an unprecedented development that lays bare the depth of their rift, Charles and William preferred to meet with Harry together so that nobody's words could be misconstrued afterwards.

Prince Charles left for his cottage in Llwynywermod, Wales, within 24 hours of his father being laid to rest

The royal decided he needed to contemplate on a solitary basis in peace at his Welsh hideaway, a £1.2million converted farmhouse in the Brecon Beacons (pictured)

Prince William, Prince Harry, Peter Phillips and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence during the funeral procession of the Duke of Edinburgh

A senior royal insider said: 'Obviously after the worldwide fallout of the Oprah interview trust has to be rebuilt.

'There was no official wake after the funeral, but Charles, William and Harry took the opportunity to speak and catch-up face to face after many months apart.

'They were only able to spend a short time together outdoors given Covid restrictions and also without staff, including senior courtiers, overhearing what was being said.

'It was important to Charles and William that they were both there together. It means nothing spoken about can be misconstrued in the future.'

Given the tensions, sparked by claims of racism and uncaring behaviour by the Royal Family when Meghan says she was suffering from mental health issues, a full rapprochement did not occur.

Another senior royal insider said: 'There is much pain and hurt on both sides, so this reconciliation will take place in baby steps.

'First, they need to decide on some ground rules as to how they conduct business going forward in a way that makes all parties feel safe and protected.'

Crucially, Charles and William have the Queen's support to deal with the situation.

The source explained: 'The Queen has made it clear to senior advisers that she is united with Charles and William, and was disappointed with aspects of Harry and Meghan's interview.'

Harry remains in Windsor on an open-ended ticket, with a source revealing earlier today that he could stay for the Queen's 95th birthday on Wednesday before returning to his pregnant wife in California later in the week.

But Charles decided he needed to contemplate on a solitary basis in peace at his Welsh hideaway, a £1.2million converted farmhouse in the Brecon Beacons.

It is believed his wife Camilla has remained in London, where she is continuing with private commitments.

My source added: 'Charles felt he wanted to reflect alone.

'He also wants to attend to the thousands of letters sent to him in condolence of his father's death.

'He is acutely aware that this is a hugely significant moment in his life and he feels like he has the weight of the world of his shoulders.

'All his life he has been heir to throne, but Prince Philip was the patriarch of the family.

'Overnight that's changed, and it's impacted him both professionally and personally.

'He needs time to think and contemplate the future of the Royal Family after what was a very difficult week.'

Prince Charles leaving a drinks reception at his Welsh property in Llwynywermod in Llandovery in  2009

Prince Charles walks behind the Duke of Edinburgh's coffin at it makes its way to St George's Chapel

Senior royals, including Princes Charles and William, walk behind Prince Philip's coffin during Saturday's funeral in Windsor 

Her Majesty sits alone and loos towards the altar during the poignant service on Saturday

The two direct heirs will plan which members of 'The Firm' will be working royals and what they should do.

Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex are expected to take on more prominent roles, stepping into the void left by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Charles usually spends a week in Llwynywermod every July and it is a perfect location for him to seek solace.

The hideaway has its own 192-acre organic farm but the nearest shop is a mile away.

The no-frills cottage has no TV but features bare floors, traditional Welsh weavings on the walls and local pottery.

The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge look towards Philip's coffin before it is lowered into the Royal Vault

Prince Harry was sat directly across from his older brother and his wife Kate having flown in without his wife Meghan

Charles has previously revealed it took 'a long search lasting some 40 years' to find the property, which he believes is 'very important'.

In an interview, he said: 'Several houses and sites were explored until, finally, we came across Llwynywermod in an exceptionally beautiful part of Carmarthenshire, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons and within reasonable reach of Cardiff.'

The secluded and fully sustainable three-bedroom property has been Charles and Camilla's country retreat in Wales since March 2007, but they tend to spend a couple of weeks there a year.

The source added: 'There is no better place for Charles to come to terms with his grief and start to think about his future.

'He has a daunting amount to consider, including the ongoing tensions between William and Harry which will not be easily resolved.'

Clarence House declined to comment.

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