If the Sussexes Attend the Coronation, They Should Prepare to Get the “Cold Shoulder” from Members of the Royal Family, Insider Says

“Many of the family just want nothing more to do with them.”

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty)

In a word? Yikes. There’s still no RSVP either way from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle re: their attendance at King Charles’ Coronation on May 6, but, if they do come, they should be prepared to get the cold shoulder from some of the royal family, The Mirror reports.

Despite familial rifts, the Frogmore eviction, and the day of the ceremony also being their son Archie’s fourth birthday, the Sussexes are still largely expected to attend the historic event. (There hasn’t been a Coronation since June 1953, when Her late Majesty was crowned 70 years ago.) Yet, The Mirror reports, though the weather may be warmer in London by May, the couple should expect a frosty reception from some members of their family, who apparently have no desire to socialize with the Sussexes and hope they will be “seated in Iceland” for the ceremony at Westminster Abbey. (Really?)

“They will be given the cold shoulder by very many relatives,” a friend of the royal family tells The Daily Mail. “One said to me ‘I hope they’ll be seated in Iceland.’ Many of the family just want nothing more to do with them. If they have to see them at the Coronation then so be it, but they do not want to socialize with them.”

It is understood that Harry and Meghan will not be invited to the traditional Buckingham Palace balcony appearance, as that moment will be reserved for working members of the royal family. (Harry and Meghan stepped back from those duties in January 2020 and have since forged a new life for themselves Stateside.) Despite their eviction from their U.K. home, Frogmore Cottage, the couple is expected to stay there if they fly in for the Coronation, “enjoying Archie’s birthday before the ceremony,” The Mirror reports. “The King has given Harry and Meghan until after the Coronation in May to clear their belongings from Frogmore Cottage.”

While there, reports The Sun, the couple will have “no control” and will be treated as “minor figures” left on the fringes: “Harry and Meghan will have no control over how this event plays out,” said royal expert Dr. Ed Owen. “The Royal Household will have complete control over this event. The rehearsal schedule will be extremely intense. Everything will be organized down to the second in terms of how the event is meant to unfold, in terms of the role of the different performers. If Harry and Meghan are present on the day, they are going to be minor figures at the fringe of this event.”

If they do go, it would show a sign of respect for the monarchy, royal author Robert Hardman tells Page Six. “This is not our show, it’s his [King Charles’] show, we are here because that’s the sort of respect for a beautiful thing to do,” he said. “Private family issues aside—that’s for another day.” He adds the Coronation is “a family event as well as a state event, and you would expect all the family to be at a family event.” He points to Harry and Meghan’s attendance at last year’s Platinum Jubilee, where “they didn’t seek to upstage the main event, they didn’t give any interviews, they didn’t have a Netflix crew following them up the aisle [at St. Paul’s Cathedral]. I think if they’re sensible, that’s how they’ll play it this time.”

However, if they don’t go, it would show “the rift will never heal” between the Sussexes and the royal family, OK reports. “The kind of symbolism of not going feels a little bit like giving up on the relationship with the royals,” Newsweek’s chief royal correspondent Jack Royston said on “The Royal Report” podcast. “It feels like just kind of admitting defeat and that the rift will never heal. You know, if you don’t go back to Britain to see your family for the coronation, then what do you go back for? What is going to be bigger than this?”

The next time the entire royal family might gather like this could be as far out as Prince George’s wedding—and George, at present day, is only nine years old.

“But George is still, you know, an elementary school-aged kid,” Royston said. “Like, who is going to have an event of a scale that will actually bring Harry and Meghan back? They might come back to see friends, but that’s not the same as seeing family members. That’s the thing about the royal family, is that you really do have to make a deliberate effort to see somebody. You have to get it in the calendar, or it won’t happen. So, you know, going [to the Coronation], I guess is keeping hope alive.”

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.