A not-so-united front. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not join the royal family to meet with world leaders ahead of Queen Elizabeth II‘s funeral on Sunday, September 18, after seemingly being uninvited.
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The couple were announced as expected guests alongside senior royals including Prince William, Princess Kate and others. King Charles III invited Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, to the reception to greet diplomats and international heads of state such as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand as well as Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan, but a spokesperson has since clarified that the couple doesn’t meet the requirements to attend.
“A Palace spokesperson has reiterated this morning that Sunday’s state reception is ‘for working royals only.’ No further comment or guidance on why the Sussexes were invited (and now seemingly uninvited),” royal reporter Omid Scobie tweeted on Saturday, September 17.
The Sussexes also were absent from the King’s lunch for the Governors General of the Realms at Buckingham Palace on Saturday. The Prince and Princess of Wales were in attendance along with Charles’ wife, Queen Consort Camilla, and his siblings.
The event will come one day before the memorial services for the late monarch are set to take place at Westminster Abbey on Monday, September 19. Following 70 years on the British throne, Elizabeth passed away at age 96 in Scotland. “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the official statement from Buckingham Palace stated on September 8. “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
In the days following her death, Elizabeth’s eldest son, 73, ascended the throne. During his first address to the U.K. as king, Charles raised eyebrows when he sent well-wishes to Harry and Meghan “as they continue to build their lives overseas” in California.
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s relationship with the royal family previously grew tense when they announced their decision to step back as senior members of the royal family in January 2020. The duo, who share son Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 15 months, made their exit permanent in February of the following year.
At the time, Harry opened up about his strained relationship with his father. “I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar, he knows what pain feels like … Archie is his grandson,” he explained during a tell-all interview in March 2021. “I will always love him. There’s a lot of hurt that’s happened. I will continue to make it one of my priorities to heal that relationship.”
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A source exclusively told Us Weekly that Charles wasn’t happy with his son’s public comments. “Charles does not agree with Harry trashing his whole family in public,” the insider shared that same month. “Charles thinks these matters could have easily been addressed in private.”
Following Charles’ speech earlier this month, royal expert Gareth Russell weighed in on what the decision means for the trio. “I think the king has made it very clear that he wants to heal the rift,” he told Us. “Family dynamics, of course, are always complicated, but I think we can all see that there’s a great deal of pain.”
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