The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are reported to have been excluded from the wedding of the Duke of Westminster next summer.
Hugh Grosvenor, 32, has invited the King and Queen and the Prince and Princess of Wales when he marries Olivia Henson, 30, at Chester Cathedral on June 7, which will be the society wedding of the year.
The Duke, who is a lifelong friend of Prince Harry and is the godfather to the Sussexes’ son, Prince Archie, is reported by The Sunday Times to have taken the decision to avoid a family clash.
A friend of Prince William and Prince Harry’s said: “It’s incredibly sad it has come to this. Hugh is one of very few close friends of William and Harry’s who has maintained strong bonds and a line of communication with both.
“He wishes they could put their heads together and patch things up, but realises it’s unlikely to happen before the wedding. He wanted to avoid anything overshadowing the day, especially for Olivia and doesn’t want any awkwardness.”
On Saturday night, a spokesman for the Duke of Westminster said: “We are not in a position to comment on the guest list.”
Buckingham Palace also declined to comment.
The reports come as the former head of royal protection claimed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are “chipping away” at the foundations of the monarchy through their role in accusations of racism against the King and the Princess of Wales.
Dai Davies, a former divisional commander in the Metropolitan Police who worked closely with Queen Elizabeth and senior royals, said the “false narrative” being created about alleged comments made by the King and the Princess of Wales could prove damaging to the institution.
Prince Harry and Meghan have remained silent following the naming of his father and sister-in-law as the royals alleged to have made remarks about the colour of their unborn child’s skin.
Their identities first emerged in the Dutch translation of the book Endgame by Omid Scobie, which were then reported by news organisations around the world.
Mr Davies, was responsible for royal protection until his retirement, told The Telegraph: “Prince Harry and Meghan and those who purport to talk for them are slowly damaging the status of the Royal family.
“There is a false narrative that is being peddled about Palace racism. It’s not at all unusual to ask what a baby will look like.”
He added: “What the Duke and Duchess are doing is giving succour to those who would want to replace the monarchy and get rid of it. They are chipping away at the foundations of the institution.
“Unless there is respect for the King and what he stands for, everything else around him crumbles away.”
There is now growing pressure on the Sussexes to distance themselves publicly from Mr Scobie’s book in order to limit any potential damage to the monarchy.
Ingrid Seward, royal biographer and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, said: “It is interesting that they haven’t come out and denied the allegations in the book and the allegations of them being involved in its writing.
“Most people would want to say, ‘It’s got nothing to do with us’ in order to distance themselves from the book.
“I would advise them to make a personal statement saying they had nothing to do with this book and the unpleasant rumour and innuendo it contains.”
Dickie Arbiter, the former press spokesman for Queen Elizabeth, said: “It’s a bit rich the Sussexes staying silent now. They were at pains previously to say the alleged names were not going to be revealed.
“You would have thought they would say something now they have been, to distance themselves from this mess, even though it’s probably too late for that now.”
Sources close to the Sussexes have previously maintained that the Duke and Duchess did not say that either the comments, or those who made them, were “racist”.
But commentators suggest the Duke and Duchess may also be causing damage to their own brand as they come to be seen as associated with constant sniping at the Royal family.
Ms Seward said: “It’s looking dire for the Sussexes. Their popularity is plummeting by the day.”
She added that the Palace was right not to respond to the claims in Mr Scobie’s book, saying: “The monarch doesn’t say anything and it’s worked. I can’t see Charles or the Palace commenting on this as it would simply keep things stirred up.”
The exact nature of the comments allegedly made by the Royals about Prince Archie is still unknown. The claims were originally made by the Duke and Duchess themselves in an Oprah Winfrey interview in 2021.
Meghan told Winfrey that the Duke had been privy to “concerns and conversations” about how dark their first child’s skin might be.
She did not name the member of the household, saying at the time: “I think that would be very damaging to them.”
In “Endgame”, Mr Scobie writes that “several conversations” were had in the family, away from herself [Meghan] and Harry, that featured ‘concerns’ over what colour their unborn son Archie’s skin might be and ‘what that would mean or look like’.”
Mr Scobie told James O’Brien podcast on Saturday that the use of the word “concerns” suggested that the conversation went beyond simple curiosity about whose characteristics Archie would inherit.
The Dutch translation of the book named the King and, in a separate chapter, the Princess of Wales as those involved in the conversation.
The names did not appear in the English edition of the book when it was released on Tuesday, with Mr Scobie including a paragraph in which he said he could not name them under UK law.
The King is understood to be treating the situation “very seriously” and is said to be likely to consult senior advisers next week on the Royal family’s next step, with “all options” including legal action set to be considered.
Sources close to the Duchess of Sussex, who allegedly wrote down the names of the two family members in letters to King Charles, have insisted that she “never intended for them to be publicly identified” and deny that their contents were leaked to Mr Scobie by anyone in her camp.
The Dutch translators who worked on the volume maintain that the manuscript they were given featured both names.
Saskia Peeters told MailOnline last week: “I did not add them. I just did what I was paid to do and that was translate the book from English into Dutch.”