Flying solo. Prince Harry returned to the United Kingdom for the coronation of his father, King Charles IIIbut he did so without wife Meghan Markle.
The Duke of Sussex, 38, arrived at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, May 6, alongside his cousins Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice and their respective husbands, Jack Brooksbank and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. When the group walked up the aisle to their seats, a smiling Harry walked alone behind Eugenie, 33, and Brooksbank, 37.
Inside the church, Harry sat in the third row behind Charles’ siblings Princess Anne and Prince Edwardboth of whom were in ceremonial dress. Harry, meanwhile, notably wore a morning suit rather than his military uniform.
Because the duke was stripped of his honorary military titles when he stepped down as a senior working royal in 2020, he is not permitted to wear his uniform for formal occasions. He was granted an exception in September 2022 for the final vigil of his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.
Harry does not have an official role in the coronation, so he will not be part of the procession from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace after the service is over.
Buckingham Palace confirmed in April that the Duke of Sussex would attend the event after months of speculation about whether he would even be invited. The Duchess of Sussex, 41, was invited as well, but the palace noted that she would remain in California with the couple’s children: son Archie, 4, and daughter Lilibet, 23 months.
An insider told Us Weekly at the time that the former actress decided to stay home in part because the coronation was the same day as Archie’s 4th birthday. “As much as Meghan appreciates the invite to the coronation, she wouldn’t miss her son’s birthday for the world,” the source explained. “Despite being the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan is a mom first.”
It’s not yet known how the Suits alum celebrated her son’s big day, but the source noted that Meghan was still happy her husband could represent them at the ceremony. “She feels very grateful to be included in such a special occasion by the royal family and is glad that Harry can go and show support on behalf of their family,” the insider told Us. “But being the same day as Archie’s birthday, unfortunately, she’s just going to have to miss out on this one.”
Despite the drama, the Sussexes were included in a picture featured in the king’s official coronation souvenir program. The snap was taken by photographer Chris Jackson in 2018 as the royal family celebrated Charles’ 70th birthday at Clarence Gardens. “Nice to see this picture I took in 2018 in the Official Coronation Programme,” Jackson wrote via Instagram in April.
The photo shows Princess Kate holding then-infant son Prince Louis, now 5, while standing next to husband Prince William and her in-laws Harry and Meghan, 41. Seated on a bench in front of the couples are Kate and William’s two eldest children, Prince George, 9, and Princess Charlotte, 8, Queen Camilla and Charles, 74. The picture was taken six months after Harry and Meghan tied the knot and more than one year before they stepped back from their roles as senior royals in early 2020.
Harry previously indicated that he wasn’t sure whether he would attend the coronation after the January release of his memoir, Spareand the Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghanwhich premiered in December 2022. “There’s a lot that can happen between now and then,” the former helicopter pilot said during a January interview with ITV. “But, you know, the door is always open. The ball is in their court. There’s a lot to be discussed and I really hope that they are willing to sit down and talk about it.”
Last month, royal expert Tessa Dunlop exclusively told Us that the coronation could potentially be “a bit of a nightmare” for the Invictus Games founder. The Elizabeth & Philip: A Story of Young Love, Marriage and Monarchy author based her prediction in part on the way Harry looked while attending his grandmother’s funeral in September 2022.
“I was watching the body language when he came out of St George’s Chapel when the queen had finally been laid to rest on the last day of the funeral itself,” Dunlop explained in April. “He was helping Meghan into the car and he just wasn’t a man who was comfortable in his skin. And this time he’s coming over without the support of Meghan.”
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