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King Charles’ coronation; Meghan Markle is damned if she does attend, damned if she doesn’t


By Sarah Finnan
17th Apr 2023

@sussexroyal

King Charles’ coronation; Meghan Markle is damned if she does attend, damned if she doesn’t

Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Prince Harry will attend King Charles III’s upcoming coronation next month without his wife or their two children.

King Charles’ coronation is due to take place next month, but between conversations over the cost of putting on such an event, an alleged Virginia Giuffre book deal and continued family drama, safe to say that his reign has not been without drama so far. 

On the topic of familial relationships, last week Buckingham Palace officially confirmed that Prince Harry will be in attendance at his father’s upcoming coronation. His wife, Meghan Markle, however, will stay at home in California with the couple’s two children. 

“Buckingham Palace is pleased to confirm that the Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on 6 May,” the Palace said in a statement on Wednesday. “The Duchess of Sussex will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.”

While all three of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Lois – will be involved in the ceremony, neither Archie nor Lilibet was formally invited to the coronation. 

The news comes after months of speculation over whether the Duke and Duchess would be in attendance at the historic event, with tensions at an all-time high in the aftermath of bombshell claims made in Harry’s memoir, Spare, published earlier this year. 

“The King is happy that Harry, his son, who he calls his ‘darling boy’, will be at the Abbey,” a source told The Sun. “He wanted him there. “It is sad, he is very disappointed that he won’t see Meghan or his grandchildren but understands the situation.” 

It’s believed that Harry delayed answering whether he would attend the coronation or not as he was supposedly seeking an “apology” from King Charles and Prince William before he made any commitments. A friend of the Sussexes said there had been “positive conversations” between father and son shortly before Prince Harry’s announcement last week, but he has not spoken with Prince William. Sources claim that Harry went through weeks of negotiations with the palace before making his decision, with conversations ranging from security arrangements to concerns over the reception from his family.

According to royal author Omid Scobie, Prince Archie’s upcoming birthday was apparently another factor in the couple’s decision to have Meghan remain at home with the children. “I understand that Archie’s fourth birthday (also on 6 May) played a factor in the couple’s decision,” he tweeted. “Expect it to be a fairly quick trip to the UK for Prince Harry, who will only be attending the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey.” 

Harry is expected to fly in for the service at Westminster Abbey but will not attend the coronation concert or any other linked events over the bank holiday weekend. He will stay at Frogmore Cottage over the weekend, for what may be the final time after King Charles requested that he and Meghan vacate their five-bedroom property, ultimately leaving them without an official royal residence. 

With the ongoing cost of living crisis very much a concern, palace officials have maintained that King Charles III will be crowned in a pared-back ceremony to reflect his “vision for a slimmed-down monarchy”… that said, he’ll still be crowned with a solid gold crown complete with over 400 gemstones including rubies, garnets and sapphires. 

Some 2,000 guests are expected to be in attendance at the ceremony – much less than the 8,000 guests present at the late Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. Only working royals (i.e. not Prince Harry) will join Charles on the balcony to wave to the crowd. 

Unsurprisingly, there has already been considerable discourse around Harry and Meghan’s decision regarding the coronation, but this was very much a ‘damned if they do, damned if they don’t’ situation. Critics didn’t want Markle to attend the ceremony but have still berated her for choosing to stay in California. As one royal commentator put it, “As a mother she’s probably doing the right thing by her young children which should be applauded.”

Even Indian-American author and friend of the Sussexes, Deepak Chopra, has weighed in on the situation, telling The Daily Mail that the couple is “struggling” amidst their rift with the royal family. “My advice is to ignore it because if you react you’ll just aggravate the situation,” Chopra said. “If you ignore it, people can’t say anything, then they’ll stop.”

Photography by @sussexroyal.