LONDON – At the fairytale end of ancient pomp in which King Charles III. When he was crowned monarch, he got into a gilded horse-drawn carriage with his queen and drove off to his palace.
Close behind was Prince William, his eldest son and heir, along with his family, including 9-year-old Prince George, who is second in line to the throne.
The king’s youngest son was nowhere to be seen. On his father’s biggest day, Prince Harry arrived at Westminster Abbey alone and he left alone. The disgruntled Duke of Sussex was ordered to sit two rows behind his brother.
His isolation was likely the result of abandoning his royal duties and thus no longer being considered a senior member of the family – as well as alienating himself from his father and brother by venturing out grievances and recounting palace secrets in his explosive best-selling memoir. “Spare part.”
If anyone was hoping the coronation would help break the ice between Harry and his brother, who were once so close, they were certainly disappointed. The siblings were not seen speaking or acknowledging one another during the ceremony.
After months of speculation about whether he would attend, it was announced about three weeks ago that Harry would come alone, leaving his wife Meghan and their two young children at their home in Southern California.
Harry and Meghan, who is multiracial, left royal life and moved to the US in 2020 after complaining about intense scrutiny and racist attitudes from the British press.
In a six-part Netflix series, they lobbed others at criticism of the royal family and alleging racial prejudice. In January, Harry dropped his bombastic book, in which he dished out family smut along with intimate details about losing his virginity behind a pub at 17, using drugs and killing enemies in Afghanistan.
The book was particularly unflattering to his stepmother, Camilla, who was once accused of ruining his father’s marriage to his mother, the late Princess Diana. He accused Camilla of leaking private conversations to the media to rehabilitate her own image after marrying Charles.
Buckingham Palace had announced ahead of the coronation that Harry and the King’s brother Prince Andrew would not be playing any part in the service.
Andrew, the Duke of York, has stepped down from royal duties following revelations about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. He was later stripped of his honorary military titles and patronage, and settled a dispute with a woman who said she was forced to have sex with him when she was a teenager.
William played a prominent role, kneeling at his father’s feet, pledging his loyalty and then kissing him on the cheek. George served as page boy and helped carry the train of his grandfather’s robes.
Harry entered the cavernous church in a black three-piece Dior suit with tails. A cross of honor hung around his neck and military medals were pinned to the left side of his chest. He nodded, waved, and spoke a few words to clergymen and several guests already seated.
He succeeded his cousin Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank, who succeeded their father Andrew. They all sat in the same row.
During the two-hour spectacle, the media and royal watchers drew a lot of attention to Harry. He appeared to join the congregation in one of the many choruses of “God save the King” during the pompous and music-filled ceremony.
Some British tabloids even consulted professional lipreaders to interpret what Harry was saying.
The Daily Mirror revealed he appeared to say “hello”, “morning” and “nice to see you” as he entered the church.
Harry has vowed to make media reform part of his life’s work. He has filed several lawsuits against editors of British tabloids over a phone hacking scandal that dates back more than a decade.
His trial against the publisher of the Mirror begins Wednesday in the High Court. Harry is expected to testify in June.
After the carriages left the church, Harry was seen waiting for a car. He was later seen at Heathrow Airport. His son Archie turned 4 on Saturday and was said to be returning for his birthday.
A short time later, King Charles III. and Queen Camilla onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace to wave to the crowd gathered below. They were joined by William, his wife Kate, three children and other senior royals.
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.
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