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No invite for the kids and a ‘cold shoulder’
King Charles’ Coronation continues to generate ever more bonkers royal soapiness. Now it has emerged that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, are not currently invited to the event, the Telegraph reports.
As has been reported, Harry and Meghan have been invited (and not said yes or no yet, ensuring all Coronation media coverage is focused on them), but no mention has been made of Archie or Lilibet who this week assumed their new royal titles of prince and princess after another intriguing slice of royal drama.
According to the Telegraph, the couple “have had no information about whether the children have been included in the plans” around the Coronation, with friends of Harry and Meghan claiming Archie and Lilibet’s inclusion will be discussed if and when they confirm their own attendance. Asked if Archie and Lilibet were invited, one royal source told the Telegraph—mysteriously/forebodingly/bizarrely/accurately—that they were “very young.”
If Harry and Meghan do show up for the Coronation, members of the royal family are hoping they are “seated in Iceland,” and—to keep the chilly metaphor going—plan to give them “the cold shoulder,” according to the Mail on Sunday.
A friend of the family told the Mail: “They will be given the cold shoulder by very many relatives. One said to me, ‘I hope they’ll be seated in Iceland.’ Many of the family just want nothing more to do with them. If they have to see them at the Coronation then so be it, but they do not want to socialize with them.”
The paper says Harry and Meghan are expected at the May 6 ceremony, but not their young kids (Archie turns 4 the same day). The Telegraph says William and Kate are expected to bring Prince George and Princess Charlotte, with George taking on an official role; Prince Louis may or may not attend. Queen Camilla’s grandchildren will have official roles at the ceremony.
Harry and Meghan would likely stay at Frogmore Cottage if they do come to the event; their end-of March lease expiry date has been extended a bit to give them some time to sort out the removal and shipping of their stuff.
Palace sources told the Mail that while Harry and Meghan wouldn’t appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony, “there was a discussion as to whether they would take part in other events surrounding the celebrations.”
Andrew has a new money problem
Prince Andrew has a fresh complaint to make. We know, get the sympathy cakes ready! He is “in despair” after not being left any money by Queen Elizabeth, the Sun on Sunday reports. He has told friends he received none of her £650 million ($782 million). Instead, King Charles got it, and he doesn’t have to pay any tax on it.
Andrew is said to be “bewildered” not to have received any of the dosh, especially as he has lost his Buckingham Palace base and royal security in the wake of the Virginia Giuffre scandal. He may also be kicked out of Royal Lodge soon, and is refusing Charles’ desire that he move to Frogmore Cottage, Harry and Meghan’s previous pad.
It’s not just Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s other children—Princess Anne and Prince Edward—are said to have “some resentment” over inheriting nothing, or get some money from being working royals. A friend of Andy told the Sun on Sunday: “I gather he’s checked it out and there’s no will. He’s in despair. He’s a member of the family, for God’s sake. What’s he meant to do? Go cap in hand to his older brother to keep a roof over his head?”
Andrew, the Mirror reported, is also “furious” that Charles may ban him from wearing all the finery he should wear as a Knight of the Garter. Andrew is no longer Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, but remains a Vice Admiral because of his service in the Royal Navy. One source told the Mirror that Andrew had been “left completely in the dark” over his role and required dress for the coronation, adding “Andrew is furious. He’s already not playing a part and now he feels he is being disrespected and dictated to over something he is fully entitled to (wear).”
Charles’ spiritual guidance sessions
King Charles is having spiritual guidance sessions with Britain’s top churchman, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Sunday Times reports. In order to prepare for the Coronation on May 6, Charles—as king, the supreme governor of the Church of England—“has held several private meetings with Justin Welby, who will officiate at the coronation,” the paper reports. Welby is giving Charles religious guidance on “the significance of his coronation oath, the commitments he will make to his subjects and the Christian symbolism of the regalia,” apparently, a source saying, “The archbishop is assisting the king with what it all means.”
The Sunday Times also reports that the two men are also trying to thrash out a way to make the ceremony more inclusive of non-Protestants. In 1994, Charles famously said he would like to be seen as “defender of faith, not the Defender of the Faith”, an issue that has dogged him ever since.
The paper says that the king and Welby are looking to make “tweaks” to the coronation oath, in which the monarch promises to do their “utmost [to] maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant reformed religion.”
Meanwhile, on the issue of the key invite, a Harry and Meghan spokesperson says that “an immediate decision on whether the duke and duchess will attend will not be disclosed by us at this time.”
The Times and other outlets are also reporting how pissed off various poshos in the U.K. are that are a slimmed down Coronation means fewer aristos and people of influence receiving invites. A senior Whitehall source told the Times: “MPs and peers have been up in arms after learning about plans for a slimmed-down coronation and are anxious not to miss out on having a front-row seat in history.”
The Mail reports that “good friends” of Charles and Camilla are getting antsy at not getting a “save the date” email. “Some of them are furious, especially those who have made rather a lot about their royal friendships over the years,” an “amused grandee” told the Mail. “They’re finding the wait excruciating. And, for some, it’s going to end in humiliation.”
The Mail also says the emails are going out in batches. “It’s a practical arrangement,” a source said.
Charles’ solution to all this high-class social mortification, a soothing of ruffled feathers, is to hold a special audience afternoon tea event on May 2, the Times says. But come on, if you get an invite to that while your best lord and lady friends get the invite for the big do, you’ll likely never feel sicker to see a scone, cream, and jam.
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Sophie ‘relieved’ she no longer has to curtsy to Meghan
The recent elevation of Prince Edward to the dignity of Duke of Edinburgh, a title formerly held by, and perhaps forever associated with, his father, the irascible Prince Philip, has a welcome bonus for Sophie, the wife of Prince Edward. Now, as the newly ensconced Duchess of Edinburgh, Sophie does not have to curtsy to Meghan Markle.
Up till now, as a mere Countess (of Wessex), Sophie would have been required to bend the knee to the Duchess of Sussex, but with Sophie now being a duchess too, those days are over. A friend of the couple told the Daily Mail, “Sophie is relieved. She no longer has to curtsy to someone in the family who has not only left royal duties but has spent the past three years criticizing the institution that Sophie works so hard to support.”
Alright on the night
A full-scale replica of the stage on which Charles and Camilla will be crowned is being built in Buckingham Palace to allow for rehearsals. The idea is that the many rehearsals required between now and the big day can be carried out in private and without causing disruption to day-to-day operations at Westminster Abbey, where the great event will take place on May 6.
A source told the Daily Mail, “It’s a big undertaking. Builders are working on it at the moment. It’s going to be an exact replica of the raised stage or ‘theatre’ which will be built in the Abbey when the king and queen consort are crowned. There are lots of steps and lots of people taking part. The Queen has chosen her grandchildren to be pages and the King will choose four young people from his side to act as his pages.
“These youngsters, along with all the bishops, the Archbishop and everybody involved, will need to rehearse away from the public eye and this seemed like the perfect way to go about it. It also means that the Abbey won’t have to shut to the public for the rehearsals so they can continue to earn the revenue from visitors and not disrupt everyone else’s plans.”
This week in royal history
On March 18, 1986, the engagement of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, aka Fergie, was announced by Buckingham Palace. Long divorced, the two remain close friends.
What will the next turn in the endless saga of Harry and Meghan’s attendance at the Coronation be, now with the added complication of Archie and Lilibet’s invite? And will Charles and Andrew start figuring out all the latter’s accommodation and money woes?
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