Duncan Larcombe says King has played into Harry and Meghan’s hands
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Tensions within the Royal Family have been thrust back into the spotlight since it emerged that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle had been asked to vacate their former royal residence. King Charles III reportedly made the request shortly after the publication of Harry’s tell-all memoir, Spare. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed they had been asked to vacate Grade II-listed Frogmore Cottage. It has since been suggested that the Windsor property will be available for Harry and Meghan to stay in — should they decide to attend King Charles’s Coronation. However, whether or not the Sussexes will accept the invitation remains unknown, and some commentators have suggested that at least one-half of the US-based couple may choose to stay home.
Valentine Low, royal correspondent and author of Courtiers, spoke to commentator Kinsey Schofield about the speculation surrounding the King’s Coronation.
Whether Harry or Meghan will attend King Charles’s crowning ceremony is unknown but Mr Low said: “I’ll tell you what the view of people within the Palace is, that he [Harry] will probably turn up but she [Meghan] will find a reason for not turning up. And that sounds pretty plausible to me, but I don’t know yet.”
The Duke and Duchess have confirmed an invitation to the Coronation was received via email. A spokesperson for the couple said in a statement that Harry had “recently received email correspondence from His Majesty’s office regarding the Coronation”.
They added: “An immediate decision on whether the Duke and Duchess will attend will not be disclosed by us at this time.”
If the Sussexes choose to attend the Coronation on May 6, it will mark the first meeting between Charles and his younger son since the Duke and Duchess’s Netflix series and the publication of Spare, both of which seemingly deepened the rift within the House of Windsor.
Harry and Meghan’s last visit to the UK was in September 2022, when the couple crossed the pond for a series of charity events but extended their stay following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Relations were reportedly still strained at the time, with reports suggesting that there was tension behind the scenes.
More recently, it has been claimed the Duke and Duchess would not attend the Coronation if they were greeted with the same awkward tension they experienced at the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June and her funeral months later.
Russell Myers and Zoe Forsey, co-hosts of the Pod Save The King podcast, discussed Harry and Meghan’s potential reunion with the royals on an episode last month.
Mr Myers said: “That puts them in a pretty awkward position because I reckon it is going to be the same. There are several members of the family who are still very, very deeply hurt and think that Harry and Meghan shouldn’t be at the Coronation. They don’t want them there because they think it will just turn into a complete circus.”
The commentator recounted the day of Queen Elizabeth’s death when several royals travelled together to be with the monarch at Balmoral.
While Prince William, Prince Edward, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Prince Andrew all flew on the RAF jet, the Duke of Sussex was “forced to travel alone”.
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In Spare, Harry explained he chartered a plane out of Luton having heard nothing from his older brother. He wrote: “As the plane began its descent, my phone lit up. A text from Meg. Call me the moment you get this. I checked the BBC website. Granny was gone.”
Upon his arrival at the Scottish residence, the Prince was greeted by his aunt Princess Anne. He claimed he did not see his brother or father during his brief trip to Balmoral Castle, and he and William “barely” exchanged a word during the funeral.
Mr Myers said: “There were absolutely no pleasantries from his family. And this is before the book so how can it not be the same? They don’t want to welcome him with open arms. There are people who are very, very wary of Harry and Meghan.
“And so the issue still remains. If there is a cooling of tensions, I don’t think it’s going to be anytime soon. So Harry might have to just suck it up and get used to it.”
“He wants apologies, he wants reconciliation or at least willingness to reconcile,” Mr Myers explained. “And while that isn’t forthcoming, nothing has changed.”
He added: “But, as far as I’m aware, they still haven’t a summit [or] those serious conversations about everything. And I don’t think they will be too forthcoming before the Coronation…But I definitely think they will come. I can’t imagine for a second that they would pass up the opportunity to be at such an event.”
Ms Forsey agreed, saying: “Regardless of what the tensions are now, it’s such a historic event… If they don’t go, they will always have that regret that they weren’t a part of it.”
The Coronation will take place on May 6 at Westminster Abbey, and those who received an invitation are expected to inform officials organising the event by early April.
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