Article updated on 18/04/2023: Following the invitation to King Charles’ Coronation being unveiled earlier in April, when it was revealed Buckingham Palace would now refer to Camilla, Queen Consort as ‘Queen Camilla’, the monarch’s official coronation souvenir programme went on sale.
The glossy 84-page magazine also included a photo with Meghan Markle, which fans weren’t expecting given the former actor won't be attending the ceremony. The family photograph featuring Markle was captured in 2018 to mark the King's 70th birthday.
It shows Markle mid-laughter with her arm around Prince Harry as they stand beside Prince William and Kate Middleton who is holding newborn Prince Louis at the time.
The smiling King and Camilla meanwhile are sat on a wooden bench with the Prince and Princess of Wales’ two older children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Markle’s inclusion in the King’s official programme hasn’t gone unnoticed by eagle-eyed royal fans who were quick to air their thoughts on social media, after it was revealed she won't be attending the occasion.
Last recent family photo to use?
It’s not the King’s fault that there is no newer family photos.
— Susie_ (@Susie_) April 17, 2023
The real sadness is having to use a photograph without Archie and Lillibet.
— Teresa Mulligan (@TeresaMulliga13) April 18, 2023
‘Last recent family photo to use? It’s not the King’s fault that there is no newer family photos,’ wrote one person.
Another commented: ‘The real sadness is having to use a photograph without Archie and Lillibet.’
Markle will be staying in Montecito, California with the couple’s children Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.
It’s been reported that the Duchess of Sussex's decision to stay behind while Prince Harry attends his father's big day is to do with celebrating Archie’s fourth birthday which falls on May 6.
Markle’s absence has caused royal watchers to speculate about her appearance at future royal gatherings.
One person suggested: ‘If Meghan has decided not to travel for the coronation, it seems unlikely she will travel to attend smaller/ less significant royal events in the future.’
Article previously published on 13/04/2023
King Charles III, previously known as Prince Charles, will officially become the Monarch following his coronation on May 6, 2023.
It was previously reported, per the Daily Mail, that his son Prince Harry and daughter-in-law Meghan Markle would be invited to the coronation at Westminster Abbey, which will take place on the same day as the couple’s son Archie’s fourth birthday.
A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed in March 2023 that they have received an invite to the celebrations. The representative told Harper's BAZAAR that the couple have 'recently received' an email from Harry's father's Buckingham Palace managers about the Coronation.
'An immediate decision on whether the Duke and Duchess will attend will not be disclosed by us at this time,' the spokesperson added.
However, the couple's plans for the upcoming event have since been revealed – and they're not quite what we expected.
Just three weeks before the King's Coronation, Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Prince Harry will be in attendance, but that Meghan Markle and their children sadly will not. In a statement given to E! News on April 12, a spokesperson said: 'The Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation service at Westminster Abbey on May 6th. The Duchess of Sussex will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.'
The occasion will therefore mark the first time Prince Harry has been seen with the Royal Family since his controversial memoir Spare was published, in which he spoke extensively about feeling 'different' from the rest of his family. The reasons behind the Duke's decision to attend the Coronation alone have not yet been revealed.
Leaked plans for the Coronation rehearsal have also suggested that the couple would not take part in the official procession, according to a report from The Times. Per the report, the King’s brother, Prince Andrew and his daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie will also not have a place in the procession.
In a teaser trailer ahead of Prince Harry's televised interview with ITV, Harry: The Interview, which aired in January 2023, the royal addressed whether or not he would attend his father's coronation.
When asked by journalist Tom Bradby whether he would go to the event Prince Harry said: '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's a lot to be discussed and I really hope that they are willing to sit down and talk about it.'
“The door is always open.”
Prince Harry sits down for an exclusive interview with Tom Bradby this Sunday at 9pm on ITV1.
Harry: The Interview | Watch on ITV1 or stream on ITVX at 9pm on Jan 8.@tombradby #ITV #ITVX pic.twitter.com/dJotkK7pOz
— ITV (@ITV) January 5, 2023
At the time, it was believed that the invitations for the event were yet to be sent out, but guests expected to attend the historic occasion include King Charles’ wife Camila, Queen Consort, and Prince William and Kate Middleton. It’s unknown whether the Cambridges children - Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis – or the Sussexes' offspring - Archie and Lili – will be invited to the ceremony.
Members of the Houses of Parliament, the Church of England, as well as world leaders and members of the Commonwealth will attend.
The Mail reports plans for the Coronation are already in motion, and the St Edward’s Crown has already been removed from the Tower of London to be resized.
According to a press statement shared with ELLE UK and other media outlets, King Charles' Coronation 'will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry'.
'The Coronation is a solemn religious service, together with an occasion for celebration and pageantry,' a statement read. 'The Ceremony has retained a similar structure for over a thousand years, and next year’s Coronation is expected to include the same core elements while recognising the spirit of our times.
'For the last 900 years, the Ceremony has taken place at Westminster Abbey, London. Since 1066, the Service has almost always been conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.'
Queen Elizabeth’s accession took place on February 6, 1952, but her coronation didn’t take place for another year, on June 2, 1953.
The last time the Sussexes were in the UK was to attend the late Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September 2022 after they made a permanent move to the US in March 2020 following their decision to step down as senior royals.
In December 2022 the Sussexes released their highly-anticipated docu-series on Netflix, Harry & Meghan, which gave the pair a chance to open up about their experience of being members of the royal family, the backlash Markle received as a result, and their decision to move to the US.
During Volume I of the series, Prince Harry described himself as his 'mother’s son', and in Volume II alleged the royal family questioned why his wife, Markle, should be protected from the intense media focus and scrutiny.
'So it was almost like a rite of passage, and some of the members of the family were like "my wife had to go through that, so why should your girlfriend be treated any differently? Why should you get special treatment? Why should she be protected?"' he said.
'I said "the difference here is the race element".'
Buckingham Palace has declined to respond to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s comments in the documentary.
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