Harry and Meghan ‘want rift healed on their terms’

Archie and Lilibet ‘will have’ royal titles says Fitzwilliams

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Last week, news emerged that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle’s 21-month-old daughter had been christened at their home in Montecito. A spokesperson for the couple confirmed that “Princess Lilibet Diana was christened on Friday, March 3 by the Archbishop of Los Angeles,” and therefore revealed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had decided to use their two children’s royal titles. Lilibet and her older brother Prince Archie Harrison automatically became prince and princess when their grandfather King Charles III ascended the throne, but their regal styles had not been used publicly before the announcement. For some commentators, it is clear that relations between the royals are unlikely to be “repaired anytime soon,” in part because Harry and Meghan “want the rift healed on their terms”.

Marlene Koenig, a historian who has spent over 40 years researching royalty, told “The rift is huge. I don’t [think it’s] likely to be repaired anytime soon, unfortunately. The Sussexes want the rift healed on their terms. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Similarly, the Daily Mirror’s associate editor Russell Myers described relations between the royals as “fractured”.

Since stepping down from their senior royal positions in 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s relationship with the Royal Family has been strained.

Tensions were recently exacerbated following the release of the couple’s Netflix documentary series, Harry and Meghan, and the publication of the Duke’s tell-all memoir, Spare.

While Harry has insisted he is hopeful for a “reconciliation” with his family, the likelihood of peace talks before the Coronation of King Charles III has been shut down.

The Duke and Duchess have been invited to the Coronation, it was revealed via a statement earlier this month.

Harry received “email correspondence” from “His Majesty’s office regarding the Coronation,” a spokesperson confirmed, but an “immediate decision” regarding the Sussexes’ attendance was not “disclosed”.

Mr Myers indicated that “the way it (Sussexes’ announcement) was delivered caught Buckingham Palace on the hop,” and had a role to play in worsening relations between the couple and their UK counterparts.

Speaking on the latest episode of True Royalty TV’s Royal Beat, he said: “They may claim it was all agreed many moons ago and there were discussions way back when, but I think they would have thought that the Sussexes would have discussed with them when they would be putting the statement out.

“The feeling that I picked up on was that wasn’t the case. I think this tells you a lot about the relationships at the moment and how fractured they are.”

However, Ms Koenig has argued that Harry and Meghan, neither of whom are working royals, are not required to go through Buckingham Palace to make announcements.

While she agreed that the royals were “caught off guard” by the news of Lilibet’s christening, she explained: “Harry and Meghan do not come under the auspices of Buckingham Palace.”

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She added: “They left. Harry is not a working royal, he is not obligated, and has no interest in using the Palace to make announcements about his family.

“Harry is going to do his own thing. It’s clear that he and his wife are determined to control their own narrative. The Palace’s press office has no real involvement with Harry and Meghan. News about Harry and Meghan is going to come from Harry and Meghan.”

And while Mr Myers believes the announcement suggests relationships are fractured, others have argued the icy relations between the Sussexes and the rest of the Royal Family may be thawing.

Royal commentator Afua Hagan told “The lines of communication are improving. There has been a defrosting of royal relations — from both sides.”

She also suggested the couple’s decision to use their children’s formal titles could suggest they intend to return to the UK for the Coronation.

“It is a good indication that they will attend the Coronation and indicates where their head is at,” she said, adding: “They still want to have ties to the Royal Family.”

If the Duke and Duchess choose to attend the Coronation, it will see them reunite with members of the Royal Family at Westminster Abbey on May 6.

Historian Tessa Dunlop believes Meghan’s attendance hinges on whether her children, specifically her son, are invited. She told The Royal Beat: “If you look at the footage of the 1953 Coronation, who was very prominent, albeit briefly? Prince Charles. He was four. Archie on his fourth birthday is definitely not too young to attend the coronation. And if you want Meghan there, you need to invite her son.”

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