Missing an olive branch? Prince Harry swiftly left London after dad King Charles III‘s coronation, but the royal family was optimistic that he might stick around.
“I heard from somebody who was actually involved on the day that up until the morning [of the ceremony], nobody really knew what Harry’s plans were going to be for that afternoon,” royal expert Nick Bullen exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, May 9, noting that it was widely known that Harry, 38, wanted to return to California for son Archie’s 4th birthday, which coincided with the Saturday, May 6, coronation.
The True Royalty TV editor-in-chief continued: “I think everybody knew he had a plane to catch. … But there was a hope, I think, that he might be part of some of the family celebrations back at the palace.”
Bullen predicted that there was likely “a sadness” among Charles, 74, and other royals that Harry “wasn’t part of the fuller day” despite the family’s ups and downs. “But they all knew he was gonna get [on] that plane,” he told Us.
Us confirmed in April that the Duke of Sussex would be traveling solo for his father’s big day. Meghan Markle, meanwhile, skipped the royal event to stay home with Archie and daughter Lilibet, 23 months.
“As much as Meghan appreciates the invite to the coronation, she wouldn’t miss her son’s birthday for the world,” a source exclusively revealed last month, noting that the Suits alum, 41, felt “very grateful to be included in such a special occasion.”
The Spare author touched down in the U.K. on Friday, May 5. He arrived at Westminster Abbey on Saturday wearing a morning suit (rather than his military uniform) and took his seat in the third row. Harry was joined by cousins Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie with their respective husbands, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and Jack Brooksbank.
Unlike his older brother, Prince William, the former military pilot did not have a formal role in Charles’ ceremony. The king received an homage from his eldest son, 40, as he and Queen Camilla were blessed and anointed by The Archbishop of Canterbury.
Charles and Camilla, 75, immediately assumed their new roles in September 2022 following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, but their crowning marked a historic turning point for the British monarchy. After the church service, the couple — who wed in 2005 — returned to Buckingham Palace in a festive procession and were followed by William and Princess Kate.
The Prince and Princess of Wales, 41, later joined Charles and Camilla on the palace balcony to greet crowds of well-wishers. Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, were also present for the outing, which included a flyover from military planes. Princess Anne and Sir Tim Laurence, Prince Edward and Duchess Sophie, as well as Lady Louise Windsor and James, Earl of Wessex, took in the special moment — but Harry and Prince Andrew were noticeably absent.
Tensions have been high between Harry, Meghan and the extended royal family since the twosome announced their decision to step back from their senior duties in 2020. They moved to California in the wake of their exit and have been candid about the highs and lows they experienced within The Firm.
Despite their drama, a source told Us in April that Charles was “thrilled” that his youngest son was making the trip across the pond for the coronation. Royal expert Angela Levin previously hinted that the monarch will always have a soft spot for Harry.
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“He loves Harry,” she exclusively told Us in February. “He might not like what he’s doing, but he loves him and there’s a weakness there for him. He doesn’t want to lose him as a son.”