It was the decision the world seemed to be waiting for: Would Prince Harry and Meghan Markle—long-estranged from the rest of the royal family—attend King Charles’ Coronation? Though the RSVP deadline for the May 6 ceremony was on April 3, we finally learned on April 12 that the Sussexes would split the difference, with Harry agreeing to fly across the pond for the ceremony, while Meghan decided to stay behind at their home in California with the couple’s two children, Princess Lilibet and Prince Archie, who coincidentally will celebrate his fourth birthday on the same day.
Journalist Omid Scobie, who reports frequently on the Sussexes, tweeted that Archie’s birthday played a factor in the decision, and that Harry will make a “fairly quick trip to the U.K.,” attending the ceremony at Westminster Abbey and then heading home to the U.S. A friend told People that Harry “wanted to be at the service to support his father at this important moment in his life.”
Of the King’s opinion on the decision, “Charles is sad that Meghan will not be in attendance,” a source tells Us Weekly. “Charles was hoping the Coronation would be a chance to better connect and maintain healing between them.” A second source speaking to the outlet says “King Charles is sad Meghan cannot attend but is thrilled Harry will be in attendance.” A source speaking to The Daily Mail called the decision an “ideal compromise”: “It is about showing up, showing support, and being there for his father,” the insider says.
Royal expert Robert Jobson praised the decision, saying “It is good news that Harry has accepted the invite and will be there to support his father. It is the most pragmatic move in a difficult situation, and Harry has got it right. He would deeply regret it if he didn’t attend the biggest day of his father’s life. But the fact his wife is not attending means it is now highly unlikely we will ever see her attend an official or Palace event again—apart from maybe the King’s funeral.”
This will mark the first time that Harry has interacted with his family in person since the release of his memoir Spare, which took aim at both the institution of the monarchy and individual members of the royal family. BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell says there was “a strong sense of betrayal within the family towards Harry. But at this moment, a moment perhaps of some reconciliation, he will be there to see his father crowned.”
A heart-to-heart between Charles and Harry pushed the latter to agree to attend, The Daily Mail reports, with the chat showing there was a “willingness and wanting to mend on both sides,” and that, in attending, Harry is proving he wants to “show support for his father,” royal insiders say.
For her part, The Sun reports, Meghan hopes her decision to stay home will be seen as unselfish: “Meghan doesn’t want any more rifts” with other members of the family, and a source speaking to GB News (per The Sun) says “she wants her children to know their grandfather, Charles, particularly when they are not going to know their other grandfather [Thomas Markle, who Meghan has been long estranged from]. She does hope they will meet and hopes her decision will be seen as an unselfish one, as it was best to keep the attention on His Majesty.”
An insider speaking to The Mirror says “the King has previously spoken of loving both his sons, and that remains the case. Harry would have deeply regretted not attending the ceremony. Archie’s birthday has provided the perfect excuse for Meghan to stay behind and, with all things considered, it’s probably the right thing to do.”
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Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.
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