Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are faced with a decision that could further deepen tensions within the British royal family.
It’s still unclear whether the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will travel across the pond in May for King Charles’ coronation. But no matter what the couple ultimately decides, several royal experts agreed it’s a “lose-lose” situation.
“It’s really lose-lose for the Sussexes unless the rest of the family suddenly decides to do an about-face and embrace them,” Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” told Fox News Digital. “I don’t see that happening. There is too much bitterness there. Too many bridges have been burned.”
“So, if Harry and Meghan attend the coronation, they will almost certainly be sidelined and visibly shunned,” he shared. “If they don’t go, it will look as if Harry is turning his back on his birthright, the royal family, and the institution of the monarchy itself.”
“It’s really tragic that both sides have allowed things to go so far south,” Andersen added.
Royal public relations expert Edward Coram-James recently told GB News the couple may be faced with “a cold shoulder” from several senior royals. If the couple were to attend the coronation at London’s Westminster Abbey, it would be the first meeting between the king and his younger son following the publication of Harry’s bestselling memoir “Spare.”
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“In a universe in which the damage already caused by the rift is still recoverable from, at least in part, a no-show would be the fatal, irreversible blow, both in the public perception as well, potentially, as within the family itself,” warned Coram-James. “It risks drawing out the conflict over the long term.”
On March 5, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed that Harry received “email correspondence” from the king’s office about the coronation. Buckingham Palace didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
“An immediate decision on whether the duke and duchess will attend will not be disclosed by us at this time,” the couple’s office said in a statement.
Speculation about whether the Sussexes would be invited to the coronation has raged since the release of Harry’s tell-all, which contained damning allegations of intrigue behind the palace walls.
The disclosures, including details of private conversations with his father and brother, Prince William, fanned tensions between Harry and his family that became public when he and his wife moved to North America in 2020.
Kinsey Schofield, the host of the “To Di For Daily” podcast, told Fox News Digital that she wouldn’t be surprised if the Sussexes put on a brave face in the U.K. for the historic ceremony.
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“I’m confident that Harry and Meghan are savvy enough to know that their connection to the royal family is their brand’s strongest selling point, so they have got to suck it up and nurture that element no matter how bruised their egos are,” Schofield explained.
“I initially wondered if Meghan would stay at home in California,” she shared. “But then we saw clearly orchestrated paparazzi photos throughout Los Angeles that let us know Meghan was ready to be front and center again after taking a backseat for Harry’s ‘Spare’ spree.”
“If Harry and Meghan were not to attend the coronation – a long shot – there would undoubtedly be relief felt by senior members of the royal family,” Schofield continued. “Harry’s family does not trust the couple and is visibly uncomfortable when they are near. It would be Harry and Meghan’s brand that would take the biggest hit… not their relationship with their family.”
Schofield noted that the pair wouldn’t be the only ones keeping things civil in the public eye.
“I’ve recently heard that if they attend, the king would seat them near someone he loves, like Prince Edward,” said Schofield. “They would likely not make much contact with the Prince and Princess of Wales… Time heals all wounds, but Prince William might need another decade or two.”
Royal commentator Duncan Larcombe pointed out to Fox News Digital that by being candid in his memoir, Harry has opened himself up to facing more scrutiny from the press.
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“Relations are so bad and emotions are running so high on both sides,” Larcombe claimed. “This is why every little detail of this coronation takes on extra significance because people will want to keep knowing what’s happening with Harry and Meghan behind closed doors of the palace… They’ve added intrigue. All the current situation does is add to the intrigue of what’s actually going on. Has there been any improvements? Have things gotten even worse? Harry inadvertently started his own kind of soap opera.”
Harry’s book included allegations that members of the royal family regularly feed the press unflattering information about other members of the House of Windsor in exchange for positive coverage of themselves.
The prince, 38, singled out Camilla, the queen consort, accusing her of leaking private conversations to the media as she sought to rehabilitate her image after marrying Charles, 74. Camilla was once reviled for her long-term affair with the king, which contributed to the breakdown of his marriage to the late Prince Diana, Harry and William’s mother.
The acrimony between Harry and his family once again spilled into public view when the Sussexes recently acknowledged they were asked to vacate their home in Britain.
Frogmore Cottage, on the grounds of Windsor Castle west of London, was the couple’s main residence before they gave up royal duties and moved to Montecito, a wealthy enclave in Southern California.
Like Andersen, royal expert Hilary Fordwich also told Fox News Digital that the dilemma the Sussexes face is a “lose-lose situation.”
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“On the one hand, if they do accept their invitation, the likelihood of being booed by the British public… is highly likely,” Fordwich explained, adding that recent polls “have shown how disgruntled and perhaps disgusted the public is with them.”
Fordwich also said it’s likely the couple will be met with a “frosty” reception “from hard-working senior royals and the extended royal family.”
“On the other hand, if they don’t accept and use the plausible ‘out’ of the coronation falling on the same day as their son Prince Archie’s 4th birthday, then they are losing their relevance and money-making potential,” she claimed. “So, the likelihood [Harry] will attend the coronation, the most important day in his father’s life, is high.”
Last week, Harry made a surprise appearance at London’s High Court for a four-day hearing in a case against Associated Newspapers.
The company, which produces British publications like the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, is accused of invading the privacy of notable figures like the prince, as well as Elizabeth Hurley, Sadie Frost and Elton John, among others.
Fordwich said Harry may have been “testing the waters” with his recent visit, which would help the couple make a final decision.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams is adamant that the Sussexes won’t miss out on attending the coronation.
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“The event will be huge and a superb spectacle,” he told Fox News Digital. “The [couple’s] activities will indeed be much publicized before the coronation. As it happened during the queen’s Platinum Jubilee, they will largely be a sideshow during the ceremony and the celebrations following it.”
Fitzwilliams pointed out that Harry is expected to make another court appearance for his lawsuit against the Daily Mirror newspaper on May 9.
While recently taking part in a live-streamed conversation with Dr. Gabor Maté, Harry said he urged other members of the royal family to seek therapy. He also said criticism of “Spare” won’t make him silent because speaking out has helped him deal with the trauma in his life.
“The more they criticize, the more they comment, the more I feel the need to share,” Harry said. “I found a way to be able to look around, and firstly ignore, the criticisms and the abuse.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.