Meghan Markle was noticeably absent as her father-in-law was crowned king across the pond.
One royal expert told Fox News Digital that the Duchess of Sussex, who was a no-show at King Charles’ coronation, likely watched the televised ceremony from her home in California.
Her husband Prince Harry, who has publicly sparred with his family, arrived to the festivities alone. The former American actress and their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, remained in the coastal city of Montecito. The couple has lived in California since they stepped back as senior members of the British royal family in 2020.
It is understood that the Duke of Sussex, 38, kept his visit to his country brief, and headed swiftly back home to the duchess and their children. According to reports, the prince was invited to have lunch with his family following the ceremony but allegedly declined.
“How lovely of the royal family yet again to have extended the olive branch,” British royals expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News Digital.
Charles and his wife, Queen Camilla were crowned on Saturday at London’s Westminster Abbey. Harry was spotted sitting several rows behind his elder brother Prince William. The siblings have had a strained relationship.
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As the king, 74, and the key royals joined a magnificent military procession after the ceremony, Harry stood waiting outside the abbey until a car arrived to drive him away.
“As if Harry needed more of a reminder of what he has given up, the sight of the Apache helicopters flying over the Buckingham Palace balcony would have brought it all home,” royal expert Duncan Larcombe told Fox News Digital. “The royal was absent from the balcony as the king was cheered by thousands down below. The very same gunships that Harry flew in Afghanistan were used to mark a fly-by in honor of the coronation.”
Approximately 2,800 guests attended the coronation.
“Harry took a backseat, but it was his loss,” said Larcombe. “He was there and that is to his credit, but no Meghan has shown how detached they have now become from the royal family.”
On April 12, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Harry would attend his father’s coronation, ending months of speculation about whether the prince would be welcomed. The palace also revealed that Markle would remain in California with their children. The May 6 date of the coronation coincides with their son’s fourth birthday.
“Meghan has turned herself into a British pariah,” psychotherapist and human behaviorist Robi Ludwig told Fox News Digital. “Meghan won’t put herself in a place where she is disliked and will get boos. It’s safer to be in her home, away from the cameras and with her children. She has gotten everything she needs from the royals at this point. She has a title, some status in the States… And Harry has always wanted his own family. So, yes, he is putting his own family first.”
“Archie is young,” she noted. “These events for young kids are probably tough. He is missing out on a historical moment. What Archie is missing out on is having a relationship with his extended family. His grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncle’s family, and that’s sad and unfortunate.”
Ludwig pointed out that during the ceremony, Harry was seated next to his cousins Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
“I do think it helped and was thoughtful of the royal family to position Harry near the members he feels closest to, Eugenie, Beatrice and their husbands,” said Ludwig. “Smart optics on the royal family’s part.”
Ludwig noticed that Harry visibly appeared wary at the abbey as cameras zeroed in on him before his father was crowned.
“Harry appears to have prepared himself mentally for his brief royal reentry,” she explained. “He knows this is the life he has left behind. Harry also looks like he has some degree of reprieve. He knows he’s staying for a short period. His stance communicates, whatever happens, he’ll be home before he knows it. He’s in and he’s out.”
Ludwig pointed out that the coronation was not meant to be a day of reconciliation between Harry and his family.
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“It is a day for Harry to show up, pay his respects, leave and go back to his chosen home, California to be with his family,” she said. “I also get the sense Harry knows this is not his life anymore and is a man pleased with his choice to live in a different lane. The lane he’s forged out for himself. It’s also a day to feel the reality of the family rift, which is probably bittersweet. But I get the sense he is focused on doing his duty, recognizing his father’s historic day, and then going home to his Hollywood/celebrity life.”
Markle, a former American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married the British prince in 2018. At the time, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were celebrated as the new, youthful face of the monarchy. The former “Suits” star also brought a touch of Hollywood glamour to the royal family. Many observers hoped that the 41-year-old would help the Windsors connect with younger people in an increasingly multicultural nation.
However, those dreams quickly crumbled when the couple made their royal exit in 2020. At the time, they alleged that palace officials were insensitive to Markle’s mental health struggles as she attempted to navigate royal life.
The couple also claimed that the duchess faced racist attitudes from the U.K. press, which contributed to their decision to leave the country.
Since moving to North America, the couple has repeatedly aired their grievances. They gave a televised interview to Oprah Winfrey in 2021 that was viewed by nearly 50 million people globally. After a six-part Netflix docuseries titled “Harry & Meghan” was launched in December 2022, which further detailed their struggles, Harry’s explosive memoir “Spare” was published in January of this year.
The acrimony between Harry and his family once again spilled into public view in April. At the time, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed that they had been asked to vacate Frogmore Cottage, their home in the U.K.
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The Sun reported that the eviction process began a day after “Spare” was published.
A source previously told People magazine that on the day of the coronation, Markle would be focusing on her son’s birthday. According to the outlet, the family was going to have “a low-key part at home.” Close friends will be in attendance, as well as Markle’s mother Doria Ragland.
“Meghan will definitely have support that weekend,” the insider told the outlet.
“Meghan wants to be there to support her father-in-law, but at the same time, the scrutiny she receives outweighs the support,” a close friend told the outlet. “There’s always going to be that other side challenging their reasoning and who wants to put themselves in that position?”
A palace source also told the outlet that while the king was “pleased” Harry was in attendance for his big day, “things are strained” within the royal family.
Ludwig speculated that while Harry will head home quickly, the day still won’t be easy for him.
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“He is seeing the life he not only left behind but blew up the bridge behind him,” said Ludwig. “He is among people who he has attacked, offended and don’t really want to be around him or trust him anymore. Harry is now an official outsider.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.