Prince Harry will attend King Charles III and Camilla’s Coronation ceremony but Meghan to stay away

Mick the Ram

Mick the Ram

Buckingham Palace have today (12 April) confirmed that Prince Harry will be in attendance at his father’s Coronation next month, but his wife will be staying home in California with the couples’ two children.

The Duke of Sussex, who tore into his family in his autobiography Spare and his Netflix documentary, has repeatedly delayed giving a decision on whether he would be coming over for the event, despite being asked to respond by no later than 3 April, causing difficulties in the planning, especially around the seating arrangements.

Meghan Markle will remain in Montecito with one-year-old Princess Lilibet and Prince Archie, who will be celebrating his fourth birthday on the same day as the King’s ceremony. It is thought that Harry will only be making a fleeting visit for what will be his first public appearance in the company of his father, his step-mother Camilla, his brother Prince William and sister-in-law Kate the Princess of Wales, since the release of his highly controversial memoir.

Good result for the royals

The announcement has been a long time coming and with just a little over three weeks to go before the ceremony, Harry will not have done himself any favours in many quarters by delaying his decision to almost the last minute. Nevertheless, it is still highly likely that Charles will be pleased to have his youngest son present at his big day, and most of the royal family will also probably be relieved that Meghan will not be coming, avoiding any uncomfortable moments and awkward photographs with false smiles.

Frosty reception expected

It finally brings to an end the months of speculation, but there is an inevitability that Harry will be under intense media scrutiny, irrespective of the length of time he stays. It will be interesting to see just what sort of attention his big brother affords him, with it understood that William is still furious with what is seen as a betrayal of the family through his shocking revelations in his publication. 

Very brief stay expected

It might be that Harry has been advised that his non-attendance would not have looked good on him, so a brief in and out without Meghan may well be a reluctant compromise. It is not thought that Harry will have an active part to play in the ceremony, or indeed if he will even appear on the Palace balcony afterwards. The general feeling is he will not, and could even hop on the first flight back to the States.

Time difference a good excuse to miss the televised event

The service is expected to be watched by hundreds of millions all around the world, although with the service starting at 11am and London being eight hours in front of California, there is a reasonable excuse for Meghan to give it miss, especially as she can point to the need to get some sleep ahead of Archie’s birthday.

Despite bad feeling Charles will still be pleased

At the Westminster Abbey ceremony, Prince William will be the only royal to kneel to “pay homage” to the King, before touching the crown and kissing his father’s cheek. The action is usually performed by all the royal dukes, but Charles scrapped that traditional obligation, and in doing so he effectively absolved Harry of any ceremonial duties.

Although feelings will still no doubt be a little raw – especially with the the attack Harry delivered through his book on Camilla – having both of his sons at probably the biggest occasion of his life, would in all honesty, be what Charles would wish for.

Reluctant acceptance?

Back in January, with Harry jumping from interview to interview promoting his book, he hinted that it needed some sort of an apology from his family for him to attend the event. When asked out right if he would be attending, the Duke of Sussex said: “There is a lot that can happen between now and then; but the door is always open.”

It seems highly unlikely that any such apology was forthcoming, especially as the strong feeling from the Palace is that the apology should be coming in the opposite direction.

Therefore, it could be a reasonable assumption that Harry is attending somewhat reluctantly and will spend as little time in the UK as possible. The Sussex’s are known to be concerned at what sort of reception they would get from the British public, so Harry’s solo trip could be him testing the water, so to speak.

Arriving in comfort

The glittering ceremonial celebrations for the Coronation were recently revealed, detailing the procession route, the carriages and the Crown Jewels that have been chosen to play a leading role in proceedings. Charles and the soon to be Queen Camilla will travel in a shorter procession route than the late Elizabeth II did for her ceremony and they will also break with tradition by only using the Gold State Coach on their return to the Palace.

The royal couple have made the decision to take the outward journey in the more modern, and far more comfortable Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which has shock absorbers, heating and air conditioning. They will travel down The Mall, via Admiralty Arch, accompanied by The Sovereign’s Escort of the Household Cavalry, passing through the south side of Trafalgar Square, along Whitehall, around the east and south sides of Parliament Square to Broad Sanctuary, before arriving at the Abbey.

Crown Jewels get an airing

Camilla will be crowned, as had previously been announced, with the modified Queen Mary’s Crown, but she will also hold the Queen Consort’s Rod with Dove, despite the controversial rod being made from ivory. The piece is said to symbolise equity and mercy, and the dove, with its folded wings, represents the Holy Ghost.

She will also hold the Queen Consort’s Sceptre with Cross, which originally made for the 1685 Coronation of Mary of Modena, who was the Queen Consort of James II and is inlaid with rock crystals.

In addition, she will receive a ring consisting of a ruby in a gold setting made for the Coronation of King William IV and Queen Adelaide in 1831, and used by three further Queen Consorts – Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, and the Queen Mother.

Will Harry stick around to see switch of crowns?

Charles will be crowned with the 17th Century St Edward’s Crown, which he will switch for the lighter Imperial State Crown at the end of the ceremony, as is the custom. Whether Harry is still around to witness the switch is anyone’s guess.


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