Harry and Meghan’s absence would ‘cast a shadow’ over King Charles’ coronation, royal expert says

If the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were to decide not to attend King Charles III and the Queen Consort’s coronation this spring, it would “cast a shadow” over the celebrations, a royal commentator has predicted.

Speculation over whether or not Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will fly to the UK to attend the ceremony has increased after it emerged that they were asked to “vacate” their UK residence, Frogmore Cottage.

It is not known if the Sussexes will receive an invitation to the coronation, although this is expected. However, the King’s decision to request that they move out of Frogmore Cottage and offer the keys to the Duke York instead has reportedly “stunned” the couple.

A representative for the Sussexes confirmed on Wednesday night that they were “requested to vacate their residence” at the property in Windsor.

Royal commentator and celebrity manager Mayah Riaz told The Independent that the King’s decision suggests there is “clearly a rift” between him and the Sussexes.

“This shows that King Charles is making a clear break from Harry and Meghan and sends a loud message to everyone of their position,” she said.

Asked if the couple are likely to attend the coronation, Riaz believed they should be invited, as this would be a signal from the King that “there is no rift” and the move to give Frogmore Cottage to Prince Andrew instead is a “cost-saving exercise for the firm”.

However, she added: “[If they do not receive] an invite, it will be seen as a huge snub and [will be] likely to dominate the headlines and cast a shadow over the coronation.”

Another royal commentator, RS Locked, said that it is “impossible to believe that [the eviction] isn’t King Charles’ reaction to Spare, the controversial memoir released by Harry in January.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been asked to vacate Frogmore Cottage (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been asked to vacate Frogmore Cottage (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

She pointed to reports that claimed the couple received the request to vacate Frogmore Cottage “within days” of the book’s release.

“Evicting the Sussex family from Frogmore Cottage was transparently punitive and King Charles wanted the couple and the public to know it,” Locke added.

It was previously reported that Harry was seeking an “apology” from the King and the Prince of Wales before making any commitment to attend the coronation in May.

He said that “the ball is in their court” but the “door is always open” for reconciliation. However, a source said that while the couple are expected to receive an invitation to the coronation, it is not likely to be “wrapped in an apologetic bow”.

“It will be, ‘Here is an invitation. Let us know if you are coming’,” the source said.

The duke laid bare his grievances with the royal family and the tabloid press in his memoir, as well as in his and Meghan’s Netflix docuseries, which was released in December.

They accused Buckingham Palace of “leaking” and “planting” negative stories about Meghan to distract the media from less favourable coverage about other royals.

The Independent has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.