Why Meghan Markle, Archie and Lilibet are missing King Charles' coronation

Prince Harry will attend the coronation in England on his own.

Why Meghan Markle, Archie and Lilibet are missing King Charles' coronation
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May 5, 2023, 8:55 AM

Britain's royal family will be on center stage Saturday at the coronation of King Charles III, but three family members will be notably absent.

Charles' daughter-in-law Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and two of his five grandchildren, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, will not attend the coronation.

The trio plan to stay behind in California, where they live, while Meghan's husband, Prince Harry, will attend the coronation at Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace previously announced.

"Buckingham Palace is pleased to confirm that The Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on 6th May. The Duchess of Sussex will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet," the palace previously said in a statement.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave after a service of thanksgiving for the reign of Queen Elizabeth II at St Paul's Cathedral, June 3, 2022, in London.
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The date of the coronation, May 6, coincides with the birthday of Archie, who will turn 4.

Harry's trip to the U.K. could possibly only last around 24 hours, as he is expected to attend the coronation and then leave shortly afterward to return home to his family, according to ABC News royal contributor Omid Scobie.

Harry's presence at the coronation, and Meghan and their children's absence, comes amid ongoing tensions between Harry and his father and brother, Prince William.

The last time Harry was seen publicly with Charles and William was last September, at the funeral for his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.

The Prince of Wales, King Charles III, the Duke of Sussex, the Queen Consort, the Duchess of Sussex, Princess Beatrice, Peter Phillips and the Duke of York look on at at the Ceremonial Procession, Sept. 19, 2022, in London.
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In the months since, Harry released a bestselling memoir, "Spare," which publicly laid bare his rift with his immediate family members.

"Meghan not coming can absolutely be interpreted as a sign that not all is resolved between the Sussexes and the royal family," said ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy. "There is kind of a partial endorsement from the Sussexes with Harry going."

Murphy said Harry missing the coronation would have been both a "big statement" and a "big negative for Charles."

Peter Phillips, Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Edward, Earl of Wessex, David Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Anne, Princess Royal follow the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, Sept. 14, 2022, in London.
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"Not only is he his much-loved son, but from the monarchy's point of view, Harry being there much better allows them to send this message of harmony and unity, even if that isn't quite what is happening behind the scenes," she said. "Even though Harry has walked away from royal life, he did grow up in that world for the vast majority of his life, so he will have a very strong sense of the magnitude of this day instilled into him. It would have been a big statement for him to miss it."