After all the bluster and hype, King Charles’ Coronation is now in the rearview mirror at last.
On Saturday afternoon at Westminster Abbey, he and Camilla were crowned in front of many distinguished guests, including royalty from all over the planet, as well as prominent world leaders. Of course, most, if not all, the British Royal Family was there. That included Prince Harry, whose potential presence beforehand had been of considerable interest to the media, public, and most likely the royals themselves.
Notably, Harry didn’t enter Westminster Abbey alongside his brother, Prince William, but instead walked into the historic church with other family members. Before the senior royals arrived, the Duke got the opportunity to talk to some of his relations, and according to a lip reader, he shared a pretty robust view of what the future will hold regarding his relationship with King Charles and Prince William.
The coronation of King Charles will go down as a huge success, at least for pro-monarchists. On coronation day there were thousands of people lining the streets of London to cheer the royals on, counteracted by those opting to protest against King Charles and the fact that the coronation had widely been paid for by taxpayers.
Nonetheless, millions tuned in to watch King Charles and Queen Camilla crowned at Westminster Abbey. As reported, it was watched by a peak television audience of 20 million Brits on Saturday, making the event the most-watched TV broadcast of the year. That said, it attracted substantially fewer folk than the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September last year, which had an estimated audience of 29 million people.
Moreover, rainy weather on Saturday probably had something to do with the television viewing figures. As reported by several newspapers, many outdoor viewing parties were largely empty due to the bad weather.
The ceremony in Westminster Abbey was successful, and the royals ended their big day with the classic handwaving on the Buckingham Palace balcony, while jet planes did a flyover above. Prince William and Kate greeted the crowd outside the Palace along their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.,
Yet one person of interest wasn’t there.
Meanwhile, Meghan Markle, who was also officially invited, decided to stay in the US with the couple’s two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, as Prince Archie celebrated his birthday the same day.
According to BBC, Harry was never invited to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony following the Westminster Abbey ceremony.
Prince Harry attended the coronation – flew back to the US hours later
Harry and Meghan reportedly had several demands if they were to attend the coronation, including an acknowledgment of Archie’s birthday – also on May 6 – and getting to join the most senior royals on the Buckingham Palace Balcony.
Ultimately, Harry had to settle with only being part of the coronation as a guest, and not having an official role like during the Queen’s State Funeral when he walked in procession.
Harry’s attendance at the coronation marked his first public appearance since the release of his explosive tell-all memoir, Spare, in January. He arrived in the UK on Friday, but reportedly didn’t want to stay for longer than necessary.
According to the PA News agency, Harry got in a car alone outside Westminster Abbey immediately after the coronation service had finished. He then boarded a British Airways flight and was back in Los Angeles at 19:30 local time on Saturday.
A source had told Page Six that Harry intended to make “every effort to get back in time for Archie’s birthday.”
“[Prince Harry] is coming for this major event of his father’s coronation but it’s not going to be a family reunion. We’re not going to see lots of big family meet-ups. Certainly, there has been damage done,” she said, adding that Harry’s presence was a “show of unity.”
Prince Harry – outfit & seating
While in Westminster Abbey, Harry wore a black custom Dior three-piece suit with coattails. An honorary cross hung around his neck, and he had military medals pinned to the left side of his chest.
The star around his neck indicates he is the “Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order” (RVO). Further, it honors his personal service to the monarch of the Commonwealth. Harry isn’t a working member of the Royal Family anymore, so he was not permitted to wear his military uniform. Instead, he wore his Afghanistan service medals and golden, diamond, and platinum jubilee medals on his medal bar.
Harry sat with his cousin, Princess Eugenie – said to be the only royal to have visited Harry and Meghan in the US – and her husband, Jack Brooksbank.
Months ago, it was rumored that other Royal Family members didn’t want Harry anywhere near them during the coronation. However, that stance seemed to have cooled, as Harry got to sit just two rows behind Prince William and Kate Middleton, as well as two of their three children, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Prince George had a much more prominent role, as he was one of the Pages of Honor.
“There were discussions that the seating could be arranged on line of succession. But that would have put fifth-in-line Harry front and centre — and with William and Kate,” a source told The Sun.
“Instead the decision was working royals only at the front and work back from there. Harry will be a long way from his father.”
Harry sat only one row behind his brother and close family at the Queen’s funeral last year.
While seated in the Abbey, Harry spoke lengthily to his cousin and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, before the coronation began. He greeted several guests and seemed in good spirits. During the ceremony, many focused on the Duke to see how he would react.
Though he might not be a fan of the monarchy anymore, he joined all other guests in one of many refrains of “God Save The King.”
But before the ceremony at Westminster Abbey had even started, it seemed as though Harry had already made his mind up about the Royal Family and what might happen in the future.
Prince William and King Charles have reportedly chosen not to read Spare, Harry’s explosive tell-all memoir in which he attacked the royals several times. His relationships with his brother and father are naturally at a low point, and there were reportedly no signs of them reconciling while he was in the UK.
Speaking with The Sun, lip-reading expert Jerey Freeman picked up several things Harry told Brooksbank before the coronation ceremony began. According to him, the Duke was moaning, muttering: “I’m fed up with the way they treat me.”
Moreover, Freeman caught Harry saying: “It’s not an ideal situation.”
“They don’t care”
Jack Brooksbank replied: “If I can make you feel any better, and even I can do it. It’s not the quiet life, is it?”
Jack Brooksbank added: “I haven’t time for that, not if it’s over…”
“It’s an eventuality,” Harry concluded.
Prince Harry didn’t directly interact with his brother, Prince William, or King Charles during the big day. However, according to language expert Judi James, Harry made an ‘ingoring’ gesture towards his brother once he arrived at Westminster Abbe.
“Harry performed what looked like an oddly-times act of ignore or attention diversion as his father, brother, and sister-in-law walked in a procession in front of him,” James told the Mirror.
“Harry had been chatting animatedly to [Princess Beatrice’s husband] Edoardo, jerking a thumb over his shoulder at one point, sharing a giggling laugh that seemed to involve his tongue placed between his teeth, and then doing a mutual, mirrored eye gaze with a matching lip clamp smile to Edo that seemed to signal mutual sympathy or empathy.”
The body language expert concluded: “Harry was looking up as Charles, William and Kate arrived to walk past but after looking at his father, Harry turned his head to speak to Eduardo again in a very odd way at a crucial point in the ceremony when all eyes and attention were on Charles and William’s arrival.”
Royals kept Harry “low-key” at coronation to protect him, expert claims
According to royal expert Jonathan Sacerdoti, the fact that the Royal Family kept Harry “low-key” during the coronation was a way of protecting him.
“He’s talked about how being in the Royal Family as a working royal was challenging to him and affected him mentally, speaking frequently about his mental illness and how he feels it was caused or at least worsened by his role an the public attention he attracted,” Sacerdoti told the Express.
“So it may be that his family do everything they can to protect him from all that as much as possible by keeping his presence at the coronation relatively low-key. Obviously, there will still be massive public attention focused on him, though.”
Many saw Harry attendance at his father’s coronation as a sign.
It’s widely known that his relationship with his brother, Prince William, is at rock bottom, and the same goes for his relationship with his father, Charles.
Even so, the hope for the royals is that family will win out in the end.
According to Sacerdoti, Harry probably felt like he had no choice but to attend the coronation. Not because the relationship has gotten worse over the years and this was a way of mending it, but because the occasion was foremost about family, and being there for each other.
“I think it was inevitable that Harry would come to the coronation. It would have been wrong for him not to be invited as the son of the King, and wrong of him not to be there,” he said.