Royals 'have no interest in talking to Harry at Coronation'
Harry’s awkward family reunion: Royals ‘have no interest in talking to the Duke beyond basic greetings’ after Sussexes confirmed their coronation plans following ‘weeks of transatlantic ping pong’
- READ MORE – SARAH VINE: This must be about King and Queen, not Sussexes
- READ MORE – DAN WOOTTON: Kate’s relief at Meghan’s absence will be palpable
Prince Harry will get the cold shoulder from most of his family at the Coronation with Prince William having no plans to speak to his younger brother after his attacks on him in Spare and his Netflix documentary, it was claimed today.
After delicate negotiations, described as a game of ‘transatlantic ping pong’, Buckingham Palace has announced the Duke of Sussex will be at Westminster Abbey on May 6 – without Meghan, Archie and Lilibet who will remain in California.
Sussex supporters said Harry understood that the coronation is the biggest day of his father’s life and felt it was right to be present, despite his attacks on the family.
But sources have suggested that other family members – with the possible exception of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie – have no interest in talking with Harry beyond the most basic of greetings, suggesting the event will be even more awkward than Harry clearly feared.
The Mail has reported that while William would never have stopped his brother from attending the Coronation, he had no plans to speak to him. It is understood that his opinion hasn’t changed, although no one is ruling out the possibility – however unlikely – that there could be a gesture of goodwill for their father.
Prince Harry is unlikely to get a warm reception from his family when he is at the Coronation next month (pictured together at the Queen’s funeral last September)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Hollywood hotspot San Vicente Bungalows on March 1. Meghan and the children will stay in California when Harry jets to London
Prince Harry has publicly called on his family to apologise to himself and Meghan for what they see as slights. He also demanded that his father and brother sit down with him before May 6 to thrash their issues out.
READ MORE: ‘Meghan’s decision not to go to the King’s coronation is admirable and inspiring’: Sussexes’ supporter Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu says
But insiders have told the Mail that Charles and William are both hurt and angry at Harry’s behaviour – and neither man has been inclined to pander to him.
Even those who had once hoped William and Harry could be reconciled feel this is unlikely now. William had no contact with his brother when he came over with Meghan and the children for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations last year.
And the brothers barely spoke at her funeral later in the year, meeting briefly when William invited him and Meghan to join him and Kate to meet the public and view the flowers outside Windsor Castle.
Harry will be coming alone, with the Duchess of Sussex due to stay at home with Prince Archie – who turns four that day – and Princess Lilibet, one.
His decision to attend the Westminster Abbey Coronation service is viewed as a potential olive branch by royal insiders, following an earlier demand that his family should apologise to him and Meghan if they were to consider coming.
But he is not expected to take part in the procession after the service or join other members of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, or for other celebrations.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on a visit to Johannesburg in South Africa on October 2, 2019
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla at Buckingham Palace in a photo issued on April 4
Charles walks Meghan down the aisle at her wedding to Harry at St George’s Chapel in 2018
Sources said the decision by Meghan to remain in California with the couple’s two young children had come as a relief in some circles, following fears her presence could have heightened family tensions.
Crowned King seen on coins for first time
A crowned portrait of the King will for the first time feature on commemorative coins.
The collection, which includes a 50p and £5 coin, will be released later this month to celebrate the Coronation.
The effigy, which was designed by artist and sculptor Martin Jennings, depicts King Charles III wearing the Tudor Crown – which was selected by the monarch for the portrait despite having been destroyed in the 1640s.
It continues in the tradition of the crown being used in portraits of previous kings from the 20th century.
The £5 coin features a design by Timothy Noad of the sacred objects used in the Coronation ceremony and the St Edward’s Crown.
The 50ps will be available to buy on April 24 for between £11 and £1,220, while the £5s are priced from £14.50 to £2,995. Rebecca Morgan, of The Royal Mint, called the range, which includes ounce coins, ‘a wonderful keepsake’.
It is also understood there was real concern in the Sussex camp about the public reception the couple would have received if they attended the Coronation together.
Friends, including Meghan’s biographer Omid Scobie, suggested her decision was largely due to the Coronation falling on the same day – May 6 – as Archie’s fourth birthday.
The couple had delayed answering their invitation for weeks, causing difficulties for organisers tasked with complex seating plans, transport and security for senior members of the Royal Family, world leaders and other dignitaries.
Sources described the negotiations as a game of ‘transatlantic ping pong’, and Harry was said to have wanted numerous assurances about arrangements.
The day will see him come face-to-face with his father and brother in public for the first time since the release of his controversial memoir, in which he described a physical fallout with William and branded his stepmother Camilla ‘dangerous’.
Such is the sensitivity at Buckingham Palace over anything to do with Harry and Meghan, only a tiny group of senior officials were party to the conversations between the Royal Family and the Sussexes.
Courtiers have been treading on eggshells for fear of being accused by the couple of ‘leaking’ information about their presence and sparking another round of attacks on the King in the run up to his historic day. And, while many in the royal household contest much of what the couple have alleged, all are keen not to make things more difficult for the 74-year-old monarch.
The late Queen Elizabeth II, Charles, Camilla, William, Kate, Harry and Meghan attend the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey on March 9, 2020
Royal Family members on the day of the Queen’s funeral in London on September 19, 2022
READ MORE — Charles ‘very disappointed’ that he won’t get to see Meghan or his grandchildren at his Coronation
In the event, the news was specifically timed for a dual announcement on both sides of the Atlantic at 3pm British time to minimise any inflaming of tensions.
A statement in London said: ‘Buckingham Palace is pleased to confirm that the Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on 6th May. The Duchess of Sussex will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.’
Harry is only planning on a flying visit, with sources close to the Sussexes indicating yesterday that he won’t even return to Buckingham Palace to gather with the rest of the family or take part in any further events over the Coronation weekend.
Mr Scobie tweeted: ‘Expect it to be a fairly quick trip to the UK for Prince Harry.’
One source said there was a ‘palpable sense of relief in some quarters at the way things have panned out’.
A friend of the King said it would be ‘no doubt comforting’ for him that his younger son was ‘making the effort to come’ even though his ‘love and patience had been tested to its limits in recent months’.
SARAH VINE: This must be about King and Queen, not Sussexes’ dramas
No doubt the official line will be one of quiet, respectful regret – but, honestly, you can almost hear the collective sigh of relief emanating from the Palace.
They may have 99 problems organising one of the spectaculars of the century but at least the prospect of the Duchess of Sussex derailing the entire Coronation with what uncharitable souls might consider one of her trademark dramas isn’t one.
Instead, Prince Harry will come on his own, leaving his wife and two children at home in California. No doubt he will be as stony-faced as he has been on the last few occasions he has graced us with his sainted presence; but at least we won’t have to put up with the whole woe-are-we in a hat melodrama.
The Coronation should be about King Charles and Queen Camilla, about the Royal Family as a much-loved British institution, not about these two moaning minnies with their tiresomely endless grievances and perceived slights. If they could have both come in the spirit of love and reconciliation, it would have been fantastic. But you just know that wouldn’t have been the case.
King Charles III and the Queen Consort during a visit to Malton, North Yorkshire, on April 5
Already Harry’s presence feels mealy-mouthed, with his official mouthpiece, Omid Scobie, warning that he will make only a fleeting appearance amid claims that he won’t even bother going to Buckingham Palace after the main event.
It all gives the impression that he’s only coming under sufferance, which means that if the duchess did accompany him, the whole thing would have been a minefield.
Everyone would be walking on eggshells, desperately worried in case they accidentally upset her and ended up on another episode of the Poor Little Me Podcast.
I’m sorry to be such a cynic, but that’s what experience has taught us over the past 18 months. Given everything that’s happened, it’s hard to see how the presence of the duchess could be anything other than, at best, a distraction, at worst a toxic pall over the entire proceedings.
And that’s a real shame. Not just for Charles who, let’s not forget, so gallantly walked Meghan down the aisle and considers her (and his grandchildren) a cherished part of the family. Or for Harry, who despite his renunciation of his royal duties, might still have wanted his children – the ones he’s so determined to call prince and princess – to have been part of such a monumental historical event. But for all of us loyal monarchists who hate to see the Royal Family tearing itself apart like this.
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and then-Prince Charles at Westminster Abbey in March 2019
It is also a bit of a missed opportunity. Harry believes his family owes him an apology. I’d say that after the way he’s behaved, after the terrible things he’s said and the way he’s betrayed so many of those who love him, an invitation to the Coronation was far more than a mere sorry: it was a gracious, kind gesture, an olive branch. And, quite frankly, more than either of them deserved.
If they had any decency – or sense – they would have accepted immediately in the spirit of reconciliation, used this as an opportunity to draw a line under all the nastiness and rancour and finally begin to heal wounds and move on.
Instead, no: they’ve doubled down on the beef between them. Meghan’s absence may be a huge relief to the Palace and most sensible people; but it’s also unmistakably a snub, one which – and forgive me for being so blunt – I believe sends a very clear message: stuff your Coronation, your Royal Family and your tradition. Stuff you, King Charles, and everything you stand for.
There’s no way back from this. And maybe that’s what they both want. Meghan has made no secret of the fact that she sees her future and ‘focus’ in America.
Well she’s welcome to it – and they to her.
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