After months of drawn-out speculation over whether Prince Harry will honour his father by attending his Coronation, he finally confirmed the news on Wednesday. The King will have breathed a sigh of relief that his son will not cause another sideshow and fan the flames of the royal rift by skipping the pomp and ceremony – even if his wife has. But in the grand scheme of things, Harry had no choice but to make the 10,000-mile round trip to London for the Coronation if he wants any chance of a relationship with his family again.
He’s spent the last few months attacking them via his book and promotional interviews, and in his most recent sitdown chat he claimed he was traumatised by King Charles’s hands-off upbringing.
To then refuse the Coronation invite would have been a colossal mistake and unforgivable in the eyes of the British public and in royal circles.
William will have viewed such a move as unforgivable, especially since the brothers are still not on speaking terms and the Prince of Wales has no plans to chat with Harry when he does return to the UK next month.
Sources view Harry’s decision to attend as an olive branch and a sign that he’s willing to do what it takes to repair his relationship with his brother and father, in light of the accusations he levelled against them in his memoir.
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Palace insiders also speak of relief that Meghan is not attending, as the press attention and drama would have undoubtedly heightened if they had decided to put on a united front. It also allows for Harry to put in the legwork himself.
But whether this will come to fruition is another question, as his time in the UK is set to be extremely brief.
He is likely to arrive in London just ahead of the Coronation, with some insiders suggesting he could arrive on Friday morning – leaving just 24 hours until the service kicks off.
Harry is also set to skip the family celebrations at Buckingham Palace afterward and not join in the rest of the weekend plans, which includes the concert at Windsor Castle and Volunteering Day on the Bank Holiday Monday.
This suggests he plans to hop on a plane almost immediately, leaving little time for any meaningful conversation with his family.
However, this is not to detract from the decision to attend as it will undoubtedly be an extremely difficult day for him.
Much of the Royal Family plan to give him the cold shoulder while he’s here and he won’t have his wife there to support him.
All eyes will be on him as he enters the Abbey alone and sits surrounded by people who now loathe him.
It’s no surprise that he will want to get back to the same confines of their Montecito mansion as quickly as possible and belatedly celebrate his son’s fourth birthday.