SARAH VINE: Next month’s Coronation must be about the King and Queen, not the Sussexes’ family dramas
No doubt the official line will be one of quiet, respectful regret – but, honestly, you can almost hear the collective sigh of relief emanating from the Palace.
They may have 99 problems organising one of the spectaculars of the century but at least the prospect of the Duchess of Sussex derailing the entire Coronation with what uncharitable souls might consider one of her trademark dramas isn’t one.
Instead, Prince Harry will come on his own, leaving his wife and two children at home in California. No doubt he will be as stony-faced as he has been on the last few occasions he has graced us with his sainted presence; but at least we won’t have to put up with the whole woe-are-we in a hat melodrama.
The Coronation should be about King Charles and Queen Camilla, about the Royal Family as a much-loved British institution, not about these two moaning minnies with their tiresomely endless grievances and perceived slights. If they could have both come in the spirit of love and reconciliation, it would have been fantastic. But you just know that wouldn’t have been the case.
Already Harry’s presence feels mealy-mouthed, with his official mouthpiece, Omid Scobie, warning that he will make only a fleeting appearance amid claims that he won’t even bother going to Buckingham Palace after the main event.
The Coronation should be about King Charles and Queen Camilla, about the Royal Family as a much-loved British institution
Prince Harry will come on his own, leaving his wife and two children at home in California
It all gives the impression that he’s only coming under sufferance, which means that if the Duchess did accompany him, the whole thing would have been a minefield.
Everyone would be walking on eggshells, desperately worried in case they accidentally upset her and ended up on another episode of the Poor Little Me Podcast.
I’m sorry to be such a cynic, but that’s what experience has taught us over the past 18 months. Given everything that’s happened, it’s hard to see how the presence of the Duchess could be anything other than, at best, a distraction, at worst a toxic pall over the entire proceedings.
And that’s a real shame. Not just for Charles who, let’s not forget, so gallantly walked Meghan down the aisle and considers her (and his grandchildren) a cherished part of the family. Or for Harry, who despite his renunciation of his Royal duties, might still have wanted his children – the ones he’s so determined to call Prince and Princess – to have been part of such a monumental historical event. But for all of us loyal monarchists who hate to see the Royal Family tearing itself apart like this.
It is also a bit of a missed opportunity. Harry believes his family owes him an apology. I’d say that after the way he’s behaved, after the terrible things he’s said and the way he’s betrayed so many of those who love him, an invitation to the Coronation was far more than a mere sorry: it was a gracious, kind gesture, an olive branch. And, quite frankly, more than either of them deserved.
If they had any decency – or sense – they would have accepted immediately in the spirit of reconciliation, used this as an opportunity to draw a line under all the nastiness and rancour and finally begin to heal wounds and move on.
Instead, no: they’ve doubled down on the beef between them. Meghan’s absence may be a huge relief to the Palace and most sensible people; but it’s also unmistakably a snub, one which – and forgive me for being so blunt – I believe sends a very clear message: stuff your Coronation, your Royal Family and your tradition. Stuff you, King Charles, and everything you stand for.
If Harry and Meghan could have both come in the spirit of love and reconciliation, it would have been fantastic
There’s no way back from this. And maybe that’s what they both want. Meghan has made no secret of the fact that she sees her future and ‘focus’ in America.
Well she’s welcome to it – and they to her.
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