King Charles Brings in Archbishop of Canterbury to Broker Peace Deal Between Prince William and Prince Harry

The King wants Harry at the Coronation; William is apparently less enthused.

King Charles and Archbishop of Canterbury
(Image credit: Getty)

King Charles wants his younger son Prince Harry to be at his Coronation so much that he has asked Justin Welby (the Archbishop of Canterbury) to broker a deal allowing Harry and wife Meghan Markle to be at the ceremony, according to The Daily Mail—but Prince William fears Harry will use the Coronation to stage a “stunt” unless the visit is tightly scripted, the outlet reports.

Charles wants the Archbishop to help strike a peace agreement, especially between William and Harry, that would allow Harry and Meghan to attend the ceremony in May, believing “that Harry and Meghan’s absence at the Coronation would be a greater distraction than their presence,” the outlet reports. Charles is apparently “prepared to make concessions to persuade them to attend.” Such concessions could include a high-profile seating position for Harry and Meghan inside Westminster Abbey—where the Coronation will take place—or an informal assurance that he and Meghan will be able to keep their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles.

William, for his part, fears that the Sussexes would overshadow the event and that “he could steal the limelight by, for example, going on a walkabout in a deprived London borough with Meghan,” The Daily Mail reports.

“The issue of substance is whether they attend the Coronation, and, if they do, under what terms and conditions,” a source says. “The family is split, and all the indications are that Harry is being advised to agree to nothing at this stage and ‘play it long’ right up to the last minute, which is making negotiations with him very difficult. Harry’s camp made clear that the idea that he would just attend the Coronation and behave himself but then be stripped of his titles was a total non-starter. While he might decide at some point to discard his titles of his own volition, he objects to the idea of being forcibly stripped of them. He resents being lumped together with Andrew in the public mind as the two ‘problem Princes’ when he considers the circumstances to be totally different.”

The Archbishop—who will officiate the Coronation—was asked to serve as an intermediary between William and Harry as far back as September, immediately following the Queen’s death. He is the first to crown a monarch since 1953, and admitted to having “nightmares” about the Coronation going wrong.

“I think two nights ago I dreamt we had got to the point [of placing the crown on the King’s head] and I had left the crown at Lambeth Palace,” he said, per The Daily Mail. “Now, how did I get the crown to Lambeth Palace since it’s guarded by half the Army? I’ve no idea. But I was looking around, and the King was looking at me. A nightmare. It’s obviously weighing on me quite a lot. It’s just an enormous honor and privilege…and the Coronation weekend is going to be a time of bringing the country together…To be part of that, of course it’s pressure, but it’s a huge honor.”

And, in addition to the pressure of officiating the Coronation, Welby has now been tasked with perhaps an even more complicated task: Reaching an agreement suitable to both William and Harry for the latter to attend the Coronation, and, hopefully in the process, promoting peace and healing in the brothers’ strained relationship.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

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.