It is tradition for the royal family Instagram accounts to recognize a member of the family’s birthday, usually alongside a brand new photo of the celebrated family member to mark the occasion.
Now, yes, yesterday was one of the biggest days the royal family has had in a long time—its first Coronation in 70 years—but it was also the fourth birthday of King Charles’ grandson, one Prince Archie, who spent his birthday at home in California with mom Meghan Markle and sister Princess Lilibet. (Dad Prince Harry arrived later in the evening, after potentially the longest 28 hours of his life: Flying into the U.K., attending his father’s Coronation, and flying home, back to back to back.) As Us Weekly points out, nobody in the royal family publicly recognized Archie’s birthday, instead keeping 100 percent of the focus on the Coronation. Even in the midst of familial turmoil that followed Harry and Meghan’s decision to step back as working members of the royal family in 2020, “the Wales family and Charles and Queen Camilla have publicly paid tribute to the Sussex children on their respective birthdays,” Us Weekly reports—but not this time.
The outlet reports that Harry was able to make it home in time to see his son on his birthday that evening, and that, according to an insider, “Meghan is planning something really low-key to celebrate Archie’s birthday”—something intimate with family and a few very close friends. It’s unclear on whether Harry made the actual birthday party or not, but he was able to see Archie on May 6, it appears.
“Charles was hoping the Coronation would be a chance to better connect and maintain healing between [him and Meghan],” a source says. But, says another source of Meghan, she “wouldn’t miss her son’s birthday for the world. Despite being the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan is a mom first.” The source adds that she “feels very grateful to be included in such a special occasion [the Coronation] by the royal family and is glad Harry can go and show support on behalf of their family. But being the same day as Archie’s birthday, unfortunately, she’s just going to have to miss out on this one.”
The Daily Mail reports that Harry was in the U.K. for just 28 hours and 42 minutes, and he was spotted leaving yesterday’s ceremony at Westminster Abbey headed directly for London’s Heathrow Airport—still clad in his morning suit. The outlet reports he landed just before 6:30 p.m. California time. “He was back on the plane to California before his father and stepmother, the newly crowned Queen, had even finished having their official portraits taken,” The Daily Mail reports.
The Sun reports that for his big day, “Archie was treated to a lemon birthday cake, baked by the duchess using fruit from their garden.”
And dad made it home for at least a little face time on the day of: “He [Harry] was always determined to get back in time to spend part of Archie’s birthday at home,” a source says. “Harry was determined to be back in time to tuck Archie into bed.” As for Meghan, the same source says that she “stayed home to celebrate Archie’s birthday because she felt it would be inauthentic to do anything else,” adding that it was her wish “to minimize the drama.”
Well, even without royal family Instagram well-wishes, it seems Archie felt plenty loved by his immediate family—and we hope his fourth year is filled with more love than ever.
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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