Prince Harry made a brief and tense appearance at his father’s coronation on Saturday, but he was noticeably absent from the balcony of Buckingham Palace where the rest of the royal family gathered to watch the flypast.
The Duke of Sussex flew over 20 hours from Los Angeles to London on Friday, reportedly on a commercial flight, to attend King Charles III’s coronation at Westminster Abbey. It was his first time seeing his family since the release of his explosive memoir “Spare” in January, which revealed shocking details of his rift with his brother Prince William and other senior royals.
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Harry at coronation: A show of unity or a sign of division?
Prince Harry arrived at the Abbey with his uncles Prince Edward and Prince Andrew, and his cousins Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
He was seated in the third row with other non-working royals, while his brother William and his wife Kate Middleton sat in the front row with King Charles and Queen Camilla.
Harry did not perform any duties during the ceremony, nor did he join the procession of royals who walked behind the King’s carriage from the Abbey to the Palace.
He also did not appear on the balcony with his father, stepmother, brother, sister-in-law, nephews and niece, who waved to the cheering crowds and watched the spectacular flypast by the Royal Air Force.
Instead, Harry left the Palace shortly after the ceremony and headed straight to Heathrow Airport, where he boarded a flight back to Los Angeles. He barely spent 24 hours in London, missing out on any chance of reconciliation with his family or celebration of his father’s historic moment.
Meghan Markle: The elephant in the room
Harry’s wife Meghan Markle did not accompany him to London, nor did their children Archie and Lilibet. Meghan reportedly stayed behind in California as it was also Archie’s fourth birthday on Saturday. However, some royal watchers speculated that Meghan’s absence was also due to her strained relationship with the royal family and her reluctance to face the media scrutiny.
Meghan was one of the main topics of Harry’s memoir “Spare”, in which he claimed that his brother William knocked him onto the floor during an argument over Meghan before their wedding in 2018.
He also accused his father of cutting him off financially and ignoring his pleas for help when he and Meghan decided to step back as senior royals in 2020.
Harry also revealed that he and Meghan felt “trapped” and “suffocated” by the royal system and that they had no choice but to leave for their own mental health and happiness.
He said that he felt “betrayed” by his family and that he was still working on healing his wounds.
Harry: A prince without a crown
Harry’s return to London for his father’s coronation was seen by some as a gesture of respect and support for his father, who became King after Queen Elizabeth II passed away in December 2022. However, others saw it as a sign of Harry’s isolation and alienation from his family and his former role as a prince.
Harry gave up his royal titles and patronages when he quit as a senior royal, including his military honors. He also lost his place in the line of succession to the throne, which now belongs to his nephew Prince George.
He is no longer addressed as His Royal Highness, but simply as Harry, Duke of Sussex.
Harry has been living in Montecito, California, with Meghan and their children since March 2020. He has been pursuing various projects and ventures, such as producing podcasts and documentaries for Netflix and Spotify, launching a mental health foundation called Archewell, and writing his memoir.
However, he has also faced criticism and backlash for some of his actions and statements, such as accusing the royal family of racism during an interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, suing several British tabloids for invasion of privacy, and speaking out against social media platforms for spreading misinformation and hate.
My opinion: Harry needs to make peace with himself
As a royal fan and a follower of Prince Harry’s life story, I feel sad and disappointed by how things have turned out for him. I understand that he had to make some difficult choices for himself and his family, but I also think that he has burned too many bridges with his family and his country.
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