Robert Jobson: Sussex a ‘hindrance’ for Archie and Lilibet
Since details surrounding the Coronation of King Charles III began to emerge, whether or not Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, would attend, was the subject of widespread speculation. With the release of their six-part Netflix series and the publication of Spare, it was unclear whether the couple would accept the invitation. It wasn’t until last week that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed their plans for the historic weekend. While Harry will return to see his father crowned, Meghan will stay at their home in Montecito, California, with their two children: Prince Archie, who will turn four on May 6 — the day of the Coronation — and Princess Lilibet, who will celebrate her second birthday the following month.
However, it has now been claimed that Harry decided to attend his father’s Coronation a month ago but chose to delay announcing it publicly due to some demands he had for his children.
According to a former equerry, who shares close relationships with both Harry and his older brother Prince William, the Duke of Sussex made his plans known at the beginning of last month.
But Harry supposedly delayed confirming his decision because he wanted some recognition from the Royal Family for his children Archie and Lilibet.
As Archie is celebrating his fourth birthday on the day of the Coronation, prior reports suggested the Sussexes wanted his milestone to be recognised.
King Charles III was reportedly happy to honour his grandson and raise a glass to him during the post-Coronation lunch.
However, it is unknown whether Harry intends to attend the sit-down meal, with some claiming he will return to California immediately after the ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
The source told the Mail on Sunday: “The King considered a toast to Archie. But with no member of the Sussex family now due at the lunch, it is highly unlikely he would do in their absence.”
Harry, who reportedly missed Archie’s birthday last year as he was playing polo, may want to travel back home after the ceremony to spend time with his son.
Royal commentator Kristen Meinzer argued the Sussexes have made the right decision regarding the Coronation, describing it as a “brilliant” way to fulfil familial and royal responsibilities.
Speaking to Insider, she said: “I think the decision for Harry to go, and for Meghan to stay home with the children on Archie’s birthday is a brilliant way to split the difference.
“As I’ve said in the past, the primary benefit of attending is the optics; of looking as though they’re continuing to do their best on their end — even if the royal family isn’t always doing their best on their end.
“But I’ve always maintained that the Sussexes must also do what’s best for their own little family and their own mental health. It sounds like that’s what they’ll be doing.”
By contrast, royal journalist Emily Nash argued Harry and Meghan will “regret” not bringing their children to the event.
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Speaking on an episode of Hello! Magazine’s A Right Royal Podcast last month, co-host Emmy Griffiths said: “Of course, Archie and Lilibet are officially prince and princess now so it’s sort of their birthright to be there.”
Emily Nash, royal editor at the publication, added: “It’s one of those things that as a parent, you would look back on and regret if you didn’t bring your child.”
Meanwhile, Majesty magazine’s editor-in-chief Ingrid Seward argued Archie is the “real loser” of his parents’ decision.
She told the Mirror: “How exciting it would have been to see soldiers, carriages and horses of his grandfather’s armies. What a shame Archie was denied the opportunity however hard for his parents.
She added: “How pathetic, when you have a team of helpers, Meghan can still use the excuse of Archie’s fourth birthday to avoid crossing the Atlantic to be ridiculed, by both the Royal Family and the Brits.”
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