Prince Harry attends coronation ceremony but misses balcony flyover amid family tensions

ByLauren Said-Moorhouse, Christian Edwards and Max Foster, CNNWire
Saturday, May 6, 2023
King Charles III Coronation
King Charles III Coronation

Prince Harry attended the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday -- the first time he has been seen in public with his family since the release of his explosive memoir "Spare."

However, the Duke of Sussex did not appear with members of the royal family to greet the public from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Saturday afternoon -- a flagship part of royal events.

CNN understands that Prince Harry did not receive an invitation to join the family for this balcony moment, which featured a slimmed-down flyover by the Royal Air Force. Prince Andrew wasn't present either.

Earlier Saturday, Prince Harry was among the first group of royals to enter Westminster Abbey, arriving alongside his uncles, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew, and two of his cousins, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

Harry sat with Andrew in the third row of the service. Both are non-working royals and did not perform any duties during the ceremony.

Prince Harry
Prince Harry, center, speaks with Anne, the Princess Royal in Westminster Abbey, ahead of the coronation of King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, in London.
Richard Pohle /Pool via AP

The King's youngest son returned to London without his wife, Meghan, and their children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. They are back in California as it is also Archie's fourth birthday.

There was widespread speculation in the build-up to Saturday's celebrations over whether Harry would have a role in proceedings -- and if his return might suggest the family has moved on from the rift that saw the Sussexes step back from their role as senior members of the royal family.

Harry launched a series of incendiary accusations against members of his family in "Spare," in which he recalled a number of private confrontations between him and other senior royals and detailed his split from the family.

Among the most explosive claims in the autobiography, published January, was Harry's allegation that his older brother, Prince William, knocked him onto the floor during an argument over Meghan.

The coronation was the first time that Harry publicly met members of his family since the book was released.

The palace previously said it wouldn't comment on whether the duke would appear on Buckingham Palace's famous balcony following the ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

CNN royal historian Kate Williams previously described Harry's appearance at the coronation as a "flying visit."

"[Prince Harry] is coming for this major event of his father's coronation but it's not going to be a family reunion. We're not going to see lots of big family meet-ups. Certainly, there has been damage done," she explained.

Williams added that Harry's presence was a "show of unity" -- but the extent of that unity remains to be seen.

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