LONDON – In the fairy tale ending with the ancient pageantry in which King Charles III was crowned monarch, he got into a golden carriage with his queen and set off for his palace.
Prince William, his eldest son and heir, and his family, including 9-year-old Prince George, who is second in line to the throne, followed closely behind.
The king’s youngest son was nowhere to be found. On his father’s biggest day, Prince Harry arrived alone at Westminster Abbey and left alone. The disgruntled Duke of Sussex was instructed to sit two rows behind his brother.
His isolation was likely the result of him stepping down from royal duties and therefore no longer classing himself as a senior member of the family – as well as alienating himself from his father and brother in airing grievances and recounting palace secrets in his explosive bestselling memoir, “Spare.”
If anyone was hoping the coronation would help break the ice between Harry and his brother, who were once so close, they’ve certainly been disappointed. The siblings were not seen talking or even acknowledging each other during the ceremony.
After months of speculation over his attendance, it was announced around three weeks ago that Harry would be coming alone, leaving behind his wife, Meghan, and their two young children at their Southern California home.
Harry and Meghan, who are biracial, quit royal life and moved to the US in 2020 after complaining about British press scrutiny and racist attitudes.
In a six-part Netflix series, they hurled further criticism at the royal family, alleging racial bias. In January, Harry dropped his bombshell book recounting the filth of his family as well as intimate details of losing his virginity behind a pub at 17, drug use and killing enemies in Afghanistan.
The book was particularly unflattering to his stepmother, Camilla, who was once accused of destroying her father’s marriage to his mother, the late Princess Diana. He accused Camilla of leaking private conversations to the media to rehabilitate her own image after marrying Charles.
Buckingham Palace had announced ahead of the coronation that Harry and the King’s brother Prince Andrew would have no role in the service.
Andrew, the Duke of York, has stepped down from royal duties after revelations about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. He was subsequently stripped of his honorary military titles and patronage and settled a lawsuit with a woman who said she was forced to have sex with him when she was a teenager.
William played a prominent role, kneeling at his father’s feet, pledging his loyalty and then kissing him on the cheek. George served as a page boy, helping to carry the train of his grandfather’s robes.
Harry entered the cavernous church wearing a black custom Dior three-piece suit with tailcoat. An honorary cross hung around his neck and military medals were pinned to the left side of his chest. He nodded, waved, and said a few words to the clergy and several guests already seated.
He followed his cousin, Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, who followed his father, Andrew. They were all seated in the same row.
During the two-hour show, particular attention was paid to Harry by the media and royal watchers. He appeared to join the congregation in one of many refrains from “God Save the King” during the ceremony filled with pomp and music.
Some British tabloids even consulted professional lip readers to interpret what Harry was saying.
The Daily Mirror revealed he appeared to have said ‘good morning’, ‘morning’ and ‘nice to see you’ as he entered the church.
Harry is committed to making media reform part of his mission in life. He has filed several lawsuits against British tabloid editors over a phone hacking scandal dating back more than a decade.
His trial against the publisher of the Mirror begins on Wednesday in the High Court. Harry is expected to testify in June.
After the carriages left the church, Harry was seen waiting for a car. He was later seen at Heathrow Airport. Her son, Archie, turned 4 on Saturday and was rumored to be home for his birthday.
Shortly after, King Charles III and Queen Camilla stepped onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace to wave to the crowds gathered below. They were joined by William, his wife, Kate, three children and other senior royals.
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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