Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s invitation to King Charles’s Coronation didn’t arrive in the way Harry had hoped, and the Prince “didn’t hear” about his invitation “directly” from his father, but “through somebody” else. When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex received an email about the historic event from Charles’s office, it became apparant that the “sit-down” talk the Prince desperately sought to work through their issues following the release of his memoir Spare wasn’t going to happen.
“They didn’t hear from Charles. Harry wanted to hear from his father directly – it’s always through somebody,” a close friend has told PEOPLE Magazine.
It comes as Prince Harry confirmed last week that he would be attending King Charles’s Coronation alone, while Meghan will remain in California with their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.
In the run-up to the Coronation, and with a big question mark initally hanging over the attendance of both Harry and Meghan at the historic ceremony, the estranged father and son ultimately connected and had “positive conservations”.
A source says that although Harry and Charles did not converse in person, they did have “positive” talks leading up to Harry’s decision to attend the festivities in London.
King Charles was deeply saddened by the accusations that Prince Harry made against members of the Royal Family in his explosive memoir Spare, which released in January.
In an interview with Tom Bradby on ITV surrounding the book’s release, Prince Harry said: “There’s a lot that can happen between now and then.
“But the door is always open. The ball is in their court. There’s a lot to be discussed, and I really hope that they’re willing to sit down and talk about it.”
Meanwhile, royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith says of Harry’s attendance at the Coronation: “Despite the wounds, it’s his son, and I can’t imagine he wouldn’t want him to be there regardless of the hurtful things that have been said.”
For Prince Harry, his solo appearance at the Coronation has everything to do with his desire to have a “family, not an institution”, as he has stated in the past.
Speaking to PEOPLE Magazine, the close friend added: “This is about a son showing up for his father rather than the optics of the institution.”
And while Harry has confirmed his attendance at the historic event, it is likely to be a bittersweet affair for the prince.
In addition to attending without his beloved wife or children, Harry likely has no official role and is not expected to participate in any of the other planned events, including a Buckingham Palace balcony appearance and the processions to and from Westminster Abbey.
In fact, Harry will be making a fleeting visit to the UK to support his father at the crowning ceremony, before rushing back to the US to belatedly celebrate Prince Archie’s fourth birthday, which falls on the same day as King Charles’s Coronation.
As for Meghan however, experts claim Archie’s birthday gave the Duchess “an out” not to attend the Coronation alongside Harry.
“It’s an elegant solution,” says biographer Sally Bedell Smith, adding that Archie’s celebrations “gave them a reasonable out for Meghan not to come.”
However, those closest to the couple know that the media backlash Meghan faced in the UK during Queen Elizabeth’s funeral last year – and in the months since – have played a significant role in her decision not to attend.
A close friend said: “Meghan wants to be there to support her father-in-law, but at the same time, the scrutiny she receives outweighs the support.
“There’s always going to be that other side challenging their reasoning and who wants to put themselves in that position?”