Harry and Meghan's attendance at King's Coronation is in doubt - here's why

Prince Harry - Phil Harris/Getty Images
Prince Harry - Phil Harris/Getty Images

The question on everyone's lips as the nation prepares for King Charles's Coronation is: Will Meghan and Harry attend?

While the Duke and Duchess have received a save-the-date email from Buckingham Palace for the May 6 ceremony, the couple are believed to be undecided about whether to attend.

A spokesman for the Sussexes confirmed that they had been in "email correspondence" with the King's office over the event, but The Telegraph understands the Duke is in a "predicament" over his attendance.

Both Harry and Meghan have no idea how their appearance would be received by the British public or even other members of the Royal family.

The most likely scenario is that Harry attends alone, with Meghan remaining in the US to celebrate Archie's birthday, which coincides with the same date as the Coronation ceremony.

Harry told ITV in January: "There's a lot that can happen between now and then, but you know, the door is always open, the ball is in their court.

"There is a lot to be discussed and I really hope they are willing to sit down and talk about it."

He insisted that any conversations with his father would have to be based on trust, amid concern they could be leaked to the media.

Here, we detail everything we know about whether the couple are likely to attend and what role, if any, they could play.

Will Harry and Meghan attend the Coronation?

The simple answer is: we do not yet know.

Both the Duke and Duchess have received save-the-date emails for the ceremony and are expected to receive formal invitations.

But the couple are undecided about what to do and are weighing up the logistics of any potential travel, which will partly involve their security arrangements, The Telegraph understands.

Prince Harry has been in contact with the King's representatives concerning his and Meghan's attendance.

A Sussex spokesperson said: "I can confirm The Duke has recently received email correspondence from His Majesty's office regarding the coronation.

"An immediate decision on whether The Duke and Duchess will attend will not be disclosed by us at this time."

If either of them does attend, it is understood the visit will be brief. It is not thought that either Archie or his sister, one-year-old Lilibet, will travel to London for the ceremony.

Buckingham Palace is nevertheless preparing for the Duke and Duchess to attend, it has emerged.

Staff in charge of logistics are working on the basis that the couple will fly over from California for the ceremony and, as such, are including them in their plans.

A royal source told The Telegraph that it was "always easier" to make provision for guests who then do not turn up, rather than insert them into the programme further down the line.

One palace source revealed that officials working for the Master of the Household’s Department and Lord Chamberlain’s Office had been instructed to assume the couple were coming.

They told the Daily Mail: "Harry and Meghan are being factored into all of the planning … the cars, the seating plans, dining arrangements, everything.

"No one knows for certain whether this means they have definitely accepted - it could, of course, be just in case they do - but it’s clearly not a 'no'.

"The staff are certainly working on the expectation they are coming. These kind of arrangements have to be made well in advance."

A second source "with knowledge of Harry and Meghan’s thoughts on the issue", added: "The indication is that they are, although there is a lot that needs to be worked through first."

What role would they play in the ceremony?

If the Duke does attend, he is not expected to play any official role in the ceremony. He would likely watch the investiture alongside other members of his family in the Royal Gallery.

The King is believed to have scrapped the tradition of royal Dukes kneeling and "paying homage" to the monarch. That role will now be performed only by the Prince of Wales.

Buckingham Palace has not yet revealed who will be in the procession to and from Westminster Abbey, or who will appear on the palace balcony for the RAF flypast.

That honour is likely to be reserved solely for working members of the Royal family, as was the case during Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee celebrations last June.

Separately, the Regency Act was amended in December last year to add Princess Anne and Prince Edward as Counsellors of State, allowing them to deputise on behalf of the King.

The move was designed to ensure Prince Harry and Prince Andrew would never be called upon to act as official stand-ins, in a sign of the Duke's dwindling role within the family.

Will the couple attend other events?

It is possible that the Duke and Duchess will also be invited to the Coronation concert, which is set to take place at Windsor Castle on Sunday, May 7, the day after the ceremony.

But given the low profile they kept at the Platinum Jubilee - when they only made one public appearance at the service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral - they may opt out.

Where would Harry and Meghan stay during their visit?

If the couple do attend, it is likely that they will stay at Frogmore Cottage, their former British residence in Windsor.

However, it could be one of the final times that they do so. The King has asked the Duke and Duchess to move out of Frogmore Cottage to allow Prince Andrew to move in, The Telegraph understands.

Talks between Buckingham Palace and the couple are understood to have been going on for some time, but have picked up pace recently.

A friend of the Sussex's suggested the decision to move them out of Frogmore has not been welcomed by the couple, noting that "they made that place their home".

They are understood to view the cottage as "the only place left that's safe" for them and their children in the UK, not least given the ongoing row between Prince Harry and the Home Office over its decision to withdraw his security detail.

Would Harry be allowed to wear his military uniform?

We don't know for certain, but it is thought unlikely.

Harry was unable to wear military uniform to Queen Elizabeth's funeral in September last year, after losing his military titles when he gave up life as a working royal.

The Duke returned the titles of Captain General Royal Marines, Honoary Air Commandant, RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Navy Command to Queen in February 2021.

"Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service," the Palace said at the time.

"The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by the Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of the Royal family."

However, Harry was permitted to wear military uniform for the vigil of Queen Elizabeth in Westminster Hall.

Prince Andrew was also permitted to wear uniform for the event, despite being stripped of his military titles in January 2022, two years after he was accused of sexual assault.

If they don't attend, how will they mark the event?

The day of the Coronation coincides with the fourth birthday of the Duke and Duchess's son, Archie, so they may opt to celebrate that privately.

Separately, they may attend an event in the US to mark the occasion.

The couple previously visited a cemetery in Los Angeles after missing the Remembrance Sunday commemoration at the Cenotaph in London.

The couple laid flowers picked from their garden at the gravesites of two Commonwealth soldiers.