King Charles’ coronation date has officially been set: May 6, 2023 at Westminster Abbey. We know Charles’ older son, Prince William, and wife Kate Middleton will be there—after all, as the new Prince of Wales, it is one of William’s job duties to help plan the affair. But what about Prince Harry, Charles’ younger son, and his wife Meghan Markle?
Well, the short answer? We don’t yet know if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be in attendance. What we do know is that exact date is their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor’s fourth birthday—royal experts insist it is not a snub to the Sussexes that the coronation was set for this date, and rather chosen to precede the State Opening of Parliament. But the Sussexes have celebrated one of their children’s birthdays during a special royal occasion before: their daughter, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, turned one right smack dab in the middle of the Platinum Jubilee this summer, and the Sussexes still traveled back to the U.K. for the festivities.
According to OK, if Queen Consort Camilla has her way, Harry and Meghan will be at the coronation in hopes of healing the continually fractured family dynamics between the Sussexes and the rest of the family. But it gets more complicated than even May 6 also being Archie’s birthday: Marie Claire has reported in the past that Harry won’t attend the coronation if it is at Westminster Abbey (which it will be) because that is where the funeral of his mother, Princess Diana, was held. Add to the mix that it will no doubt be difficult to watch Camilla be crowned side-by-side at the coronation alongside his father, inside the structure that holds one of the more difficult memories of his life. If that’s not enough, by May, Harry’s book and the Sussexes’ Netflix series should both be out—and both projects could further deepen the divide between Harry, Meghan, and the rest of the family.
Whew. It’s a bit exhausting just thinking about all of the factors at play.
According to royal expert Katie Nicholl, Camilla thinks Harry and Meghan’s attendance could put an end to the ongoing rift and is “very keen” to have them there: “There is still that issue of the familial rift, that rupture at the heart of the House of Windsor, and, of course, a lot of people are wondering if Harry and Meghan and their family will come over for the coronation and whether that will finally signal some thawing of the rift that people had hoped might have taken place over the Queen’s funeral,” she says.
Though Nicholl says she hasn’t received “any official details on the guest list, but I’m hearing they are likely to be invited along with other senior and extended family members,” ultimately, it’ll come down to a decision from Harry and Meghan.
“It’s going to be a decision for Harry and Meghan to make,” she says. “In my book, The New Royals (opens in new tab), I do talk about how behind the scenes, Camilla has done really everything she can to try and bring this family back together and press the importance of trying to move on from this rift, and I think she would be very pleased, as would the king, for Harry and Meghan to be at the coronation.”
For her part, Nicholl calls the coronation falling on Archie’s birthday a “happy coincidence,” adding “having the coronation on Archie’s birthday is definitely not a snub. Obviously, a huge amount of planning has to go into an important moment in history such as a coronation, and the royal calendar is full of anniversaries and birthdays, so I think this is absolutely one of those occasions where it’s a coincidence, and hopefully a happy coincidence.”
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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