Prince Harry the odd man out at father’s coronation spectacle
LONDON (AP) — In the fairytale ending of the ancient pageantry that saw King Charles III crowned monarch, he and his queen boarded a gilded carriage and rode to his palace.
Closely followed by Prince William, his eldest son and heir, along with his family, including 9-year-old Prince George who is second in line to the throne.
The king’s youngest son was nowhere to be seen. On his father’s most important day, Prince Harry arrived at Westminster Abbey alone and left alone. The disgruntled Duke of Sussex was ordered to sit two rows behind his brother.
His isolation probably resulted from his resigning from his royal duties and thus no longer being a senior member of the family – and his estrangement from his father and brother by venting his grievances and telling palace secrets in his explosive best-selling memoir. “Reserve.”
After months of speculation about whether he would attend, it was announced about three weeks ago that Harry would be coming alone, leaving his wife Meghan and their two young children at their Southern California home.
Harry and Meghan, who is biracial, left royal life and moved to the US in 2020 after complaining about intense scrutiny and racist attitudes from the British press.
In a six-part Netflix series, they made other criticisms of the royal family, claiming they were racist. In January, Harry dropped his bombshell book of family filth along with intimate details about losing his virginity behind a pub at age 17, taking drugs and killing enemies in Afghanistan.
The book was especially unflattering to his stepmother, Camilla, who was once blamed for ruining his father’s marriage to his mother, the late Princess Diana. He accused Camilla of leaking private conversations to the media to fix her own image after marrying Charles.
Buckingham Palace had announced before the coronation that Harry and the king’s brother, Prince Andrew, would not play a part in the service.
Andrew, the Duke of York, abdicated royal duties following revelations about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. He was later stripped of his military honors 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 pageboy and helped carry the train of his grandfather’s robes.
Harry entered the cavernous church in a black tailored three-piece Dior suit with jacket tails. A cross of honor hung around his neck and military medals were pinned to the left side of his chest. He nodded, waved, and spoke a few words to clergymen and several guests who were already seated.
He went on to follow his cousin, Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, who followed her father, Andrew. They were all in the same row.
During the two-hour spectacle, Harry received a lot of attention from the media and royal viewers. He seemed to join the congregation in one of the many choruses of “God save the king” during the ceremony of pomp and ceremony.
Some British tabloids even consulted professional lip readers to interpret what Harry was saying.
The Daily Mirror revealed that he appeared to say “hello”, “morning” and “nice to see you” as he entered the church.
Harry has vowed to make media reform part of his life’s mission. He has filed several lawsuits against British tabloid publishers over a decade-old phone hacking scandal.
His trial against the Mirror’s publisher begins in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. 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. His son, Archie, turned 4 on Saturday and was said to be on his way to his birthday.
A short time later, King Charles III and Queen Camilla stepped onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace to wave to the crowd below. They were joined by William, his wife, Kate, three children and other senior royals.