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King Charles wants to invite Harry and Meghan to his coronation, but Prince William opposes his plan: Report

By Sarah May
|
January 31, 2023

Despite ongoing familial tensions stemming from Prince Harry's recent tell-all memoir, the Daily Mail reports that Britain's King Charles has instructed that a deal be reached for his second son to attend his coronation ceremony in May, even though his eldest, William, Prince of Wales, reportedly remains opposed.

The controversy follows on the heels of numerous unflattering revelations contained in Harry's headline-grabbing book, Spare, in which he lobs incendiary allegations at numerous members of the royal family, including his only brother.

Negotiations afoot?

According to the Mail, King Charles has approached Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and asked him to act as intermediary between his two sons and to broker a deal that would permit Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, to return to the United Kingdom for coronation events.

The pair's attendance at the coronation has been an open question for months, owing to Harry and Meghan's prior decision to step back from royal duties and their apparent willingness to criticize the monarchy at length from their new home in the U.S.

Sources suggest that King Charles – who has waited decades for his ascension to the throne – is under the impression that the absence of Harry and Meghan from coronation events would prove far more distracting than their attendance and, as such, is prepared to offer accommodations to ensure their presence.

Welby, who officiated at Harry and Meghan's 2018 wedding at St. George's Chapel in Windsor, is thought to have the sort of direct line of communication to the pair that could facilitate a deal in time for the coronation, though William is said to be suspicious of his brother's motives and worried that he could use the ceremony as a “stunt” for his own benefit.

Lingering tensions

Despite the list of grievances publicly aired by Harry and Meghan not just in Spare, but also in a prior interview with Oprah Winfrey and a six-part Netflix docuseries, the royal family has remained stoically silent and refrained from responding in kind.

Even so, the Mail notes that palace insiders believe the King to have been furious about disparaging observations made by Harry about Queen Consort Camilla, referring to her as a “villain” and “dangerous” in televised interviews.

Harry also took aim at his brother in his book as well as in media appearances, accusing him of physical assault as well as hostility toward his wife, further deepening the sense of distrust that lingers ahead of the coronation.

Though Harry has indicated a desire to reconcile with his family, he has stated that he is only willing to participate in such a process so long as it comes with a declaration of apology both to him and his wife.

Public sentiment split

It could be that part of King Charles' calculus in terms of coronation invitations turns on whether the British public wants Harry in attendance, and, as the U.K. Express notes, a recent survey suggests that he is right to find a way to make that happen.

The outlet referenced the London Evening Standard's latest Ipsos poll that found two-thirds of respondents in Britain declared that Harry should be present for the coronation.

Roughly 30% of participants opined that the King's second son – also known as the Duke of Sussex – should steer clear of festivities, given the hostile approach he has taken toward the royal family in recent years.

Interestingly, opinion on Harry's status for the coronation was starkly divided by respondents' ages, with those over the age of 55 almost equally divided on the topic, but approximately 75% of those aged 18-34 wanting to see him in London this May.

A modest proposal

In an effort to bridge the gap between King Charles' reported desire to bring Harry home for the coronation and Prince William's reservations about what his attendance could unleash, British media commentator Angela Epstein recently proposed a rather creative solution.

Writing in the Express, Epstein suggested that given his status as the King's second son, Harry should be all means be invited to the most important day in his father's life, but that one essential condition must be attached to any olive branch that may be extended.

Epstein opined, “[I]f Harry does sweep into Westminster Abbey in May, there should be a caveat. Namely, the signing of the Prince of some kind of non-disclosure agreement,” something she referred to as “a fair and proportionate response to Harry's previous actions.”

Given the obvious bad blood that remains between Harry and William, however, it remains to be seen whether even the likes of the Archbishop of Canterbury can broker a peace sufficiently durable to keep the spotlight trained on King Charles as he is officially crowned the British monarch.