London: While the Prince Harry and Meghan are expected to be invited to the Westminster Abbey ceremony, the couple have given no indication about whether they will attend.
The Telegraph understands that Harry is in a “predicament” over his attendance, as both he and his wife have no idea how their appearance would be received by the British public or even other members of the Royal family.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan after Queen Elizabeth’s funeral. Credit:AP
The most likely scenario is that Harry attends alone, with Meghan remaining in the US to celebrate Archie’s birthday.
Their son’s birthday coincides with the same date as the coronationation ceremony.
Harry told ITV last month: “There’s a lot that can happen between now and then, but you know, the door is always open, the ball is in their court.
“There is a lot to be discussed and I really hope they are willing to sit down and talk about it.”
King Charles III.Credit:Getty
He insisted that any conversations with his father would have to be based on trust, amid concern they could be leaked to the media.
Here, we detail everything we know about whether the couple are likely to attend and what role, if any, they could play.
Will Harry and Meghan attend the coronationation?
The simple answer is: we do not yet know.
Both Harry and Meghan are expected to be invited to the ceremony and other members of the royal family are understood to have been told that will be the case.
King Charles III, Camilla, the Queen Consort, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex watch as the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is placed into the hearse following the state funeral service in Westminster Abbey last year.Credit:AP
Invitations have not yet been sent out, but guests are due to start receiving them within days.
Despite much private discussion in recent weeks, the Sussexes have not personally received any confirmation that they will be invited, let alone the role they might play.
“They’ll cross that bridge when they come to it,” a friend of the couple said. “They do not have any insight. They’re in limbo.”
Harry and Meghan will not make any decision until an invitation arrives at their home in Montecito, California.
They will then have to decide whether Harry would attend alone or with Meghan. The most likely outcome is the former, leaving Meghan to care for their children in the US and celebrate Archie’s birthday.
If either of them does attend, it is understood the visit will be brief.
What role would they play in the ceremony?
If Harry does attend, he is not expected to play any official role in the ceremony. He would likely watch the investiture alongside other members of his family in the Royal Gallery.
The King is believed to have scrapped the tradition of royal dukes kneeling and “paying homage” to the monarch. That role will now be performed only by the Prince of Wales.
Buckingham Palace has not yet revealed who will be in the procession to and from Westminster Abbey, or who will appear on the palace balcony for the RAF flypast.
That honour is likely to be reserved solely for working members of the royal family, as was the case during Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations last June.
Separately, the Regency Act was amended in December last year to add Princess Anne and Prince Edward as Counsellors of State, allowing them to deputise on behalf of the King.
The move was designed to ensure Prince Harry and Prince Andrew would never be called upon to act as official stand-ins, in a sign of Harry’s dwindling role within the family.
Will the couple attend other events?
It is possible that Harry and Meghan will also be invited to the coronationation concert, which is set to take place at Windsor Castle on Sunday, May 7, the day after the ceremony.
But given the low profile they kept at the Platinum Jubilee – when they only made one public appearance at the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral – they may opt out.
Prince William, Prince Harry, and King Charles in 2020.Credit:Getty Images
Where would Harry and Meghan stay during their visit?
If the couple do attend, it is likely that they will stay at Frogmore Cottage, their former British residence in Windsor.
However, it could be one of the final times that they do so. The King has asked Harry and Meghan to move out of Frogmore Cottage to allow Prince Andrew to move in, The Telegraph understands.
Talks between Buckingham Palace and the couple are understood to have been going on for some time, but have picked up pace recently.
A friend of the Sussex’s suggested the decision to move them out of Frogmore has not been welcomed by the couple, noting that “they made that place their home”.
They are understood to view the cottage as “the only place left that’s safe” for them and their children in the UK, not least given the ongoing row between Prince Harry and the Home Office over its decision to withdraw his security detail.
Would Harry be allowed to wear his military uniform?
We don’t know for certain, but it is thought unlikely.
Harry was unable to wear military uniform to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in September last year, after losing his military titles when he gave up life as a working royal.
Harry returned the titles of Captain General Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant, RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Navy Command to Queen in February 2021.
Netflix Meghan & Harry on their Netflix episode.Credit:Netflix
“Following conversations with Harry, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service,” the Palace said at the time.
However, Harry was permitted to wear military uniform for the vigil of Queen Elizabeth in Westminster Hall.
Prince Andrew was also permitted to wear uniform for the event, despite being stripped of his military titles in January 2022, two years after he was accused of sexual assault.
If they don’t attend, how will they mark the event?
The day of the coronationation coincides with the fourth birthday of Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie, so they may opt to celebrate that privately.
Separately, they may attend an event in the US to mark the occasion.
The couple previously visited a cemetery in Los Angeles after missing the Remembrance Sunday commemoration at the Cenotaph in London.
The couple laid flowers picked from their garden at the gravesites of two Commonwealth soldiers.
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