We finally know the answer we’ve speculated about for so long: Meghan Markle will not attend father-in-law King Charles’ Coronation on May 6 at Westminster Abbey. The question on everyone’s lips—now that that one is answered—is why? And, while anything we say is pure conjecture (only Meghan and Harry know the answer to that), the most obvious answer is that May 6 is also son Prince Archie’s fourth birthday, and she is prioritizing that occasion from her home base of California. (Marie Claire reported recently on what we know about his party, set to be close knit and include Archie’s friends from preschool, Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, and even some celebrity friends of Meghan and husband Prince Harry. And, potentially, Harry himself, who is said to be keen to hop on a flight right after the 11 a.m. London time ceremony and fly home to make it to the party by evening time in California.)
“There is still a great deal of bad blood between the Sussexes and the rest of the royal family—so many as yet unresolved issues,” Christopher Andersen, author of The King: The Life of Charles III, tells Marie Claire exclusively. “Harry and Meghan were pretty much ignored by their Windsor relatives during Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, and there is every expectation that the same thing would happen if they showed up as a couple again. Their popularity in the U.K. has tanked since Megxit, but it’s Meghan who seems to get the brunt of the criticism. I don’t think she relishes the idea of having people boo her. Since the day of the Coronation—May 6—also happens to be Archie’s fourth birthday, it offers a fairly clever solution: Meghan stays behind for her children’s sake, while Harry faces the music in London. He really didn’t have much of a choice. It’s a singular moment in history, and the biggest moment in his father’s life.”
The Sun reports that Meghan hopes her decision to stay home will be seen as unselfish, and an attempt to keep the focus on Charles.
Meghan’s decision is “a parental decision, as well as an opportunity to preserve her mental health,” Rachel Bowie, cohost of Royally Obsessed, a Gallery Media Group podcast, tells Marie Claire. Her cohost Roberta Fiorito says “her presence at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth [last September] seemed to have a lot of media scrutiny,” and, since not much reconnection has gone on behind the scenes between the Sussexes and the royal family, Meghan “drew a line in the sand, and it feels exactly as Rachel said, to protect her own mental health and herself from a lot of scrutiny that happens when she accompanies Harry on trips to the U.K.”
If Meghan was met with scrutiny back in September, a lot has transpired since: Namely Harry and Meghan’s six-part eponymous Netflix docuseries, Harry’s memoir, Spare, and numerous interviews.
“Things escalated so dramatically after the death of Queen Elizabeth,” Kinsey Schofield, host of “To Di for Daily” podcast, tells Marie Claire. “Things were bad then. Kate Middleton was extremely uncomfortable during the walkabout [at Windsor Castle two days after the Queen’s death], and things were tense—and to think, we hadn’t even seen the Netflix series yet, Spare wasn’t released yet. Things have escalated since Meghan was last in the U.K. I think this is Harry’s burden. I do agree that we blame Meghan a lot for everything going on, when, ultimately, these are Harry’s issues with his family. Meghan is not attending, but Harry feels that he has a duty to his family and it’s great for the brand to be associated with the family. So much negativity comes with being in the middle of that chaos—it has to feel like chaos for her [Meghan]. She’s criticized for absolutely every little thing she does, and it would be hard for her to put herself in that position. Why put yourself in that position? I understand why she’s not going.”
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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