The King has reportedly asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to broker a deal to allow Prince Harry to attend his Coronation.
The monarch is said to hope Justin Welby can come to an agreement with his two sons that would allow the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to attend the Coronation at Westminster Abbey in May.
Mr Welby officiated Harry and Meghan’s wedding and royal sources told The Telegraph that the Archbishop is “very close” to Harry and Meghan and speaks to them regularly by phone. He is also understood to be “very supportive of their plight”.
Amid the fallout over the revelations and accusations made in their Netflix documentary series and in Harry’s memoir, Spare, it is unclear whether the Sussexes will attend the ceremony.
The King is said to believe that the couple’s absence would be a bigger distraction than if they attend and is prepared to make some concessions to allow them to be there.
William thought to be worried Harry ‘stunt’ could overshadow affair
However, the Prince of Wales is believed to be worried that his brother could cause a “stunt” that would overshadow the ceremony and wants any visit by Prince Harry to be highly scripted.
Sources told the Mail on Sunday that the Duke could be given a high-profile seating position in the Abbey or an informal assurance that he could keep his titles.
One source told the newspaper: “The issue of substance is whether they attend the Coronation, and if they do, under what terms and conditions.
“The family is split, and all the indications are that Harry is being advised to agree to nothing at this stage and “play it long” right up to the last minute, which is making negotiations with him very difficult.
“Harry’s camp made clear that the idea that he would just attend the Coronation and behave himself but then be stripped of his titles was a total non-starter. While he might decide at some point to discard his titles of his own volition, he objects to the idea of being forcibly stripped of them. He resents being lumped together with Andrew in the public mind as the two “problem princes”, when he considers the circumstances to be totally different.”
Lambeth Palace and Buckingham Palace did not comment but Mr Welby, who will officiate at the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, was first asked to act as an intermediary between the brothers shortly after the Queen’s death in September.
The Duchess of Sussex has previously claimed that he had secretly married them before their official wedding at Windsor in 2018 but the Archbishop clarified that the ceremony broadcast on TV was the legal marriage. The archbishop also baptised the couple’s son Archie in July 2019.
The King has not commented on Harry’s memoirs but is believed to be angry about his son’s attacks on the Queen Consort.
A survey last week found that 60 per cent of the public think Harry should be invited to the coronation. However 30 per cent disagree and think he should stay away after the highly personal and potentially damaging revelations in his book.
Mr Welby has previously said hoped for a reconciliation between Harry and the rest of the family.
“There’s always a way forward, but it has to be at the right time,” he said.The Archbishop will be the first to crown a monarch since Geoffrey Fisher in 1953 and has admitted he is having sleepless nights about the ceremony going wrong.
He said: “I think two nights ago I dreamt we had got to the point [of placing the crown on the King’s head] and I had left the crown at Lambeth Palace. Now, how did I get the crown to Lambeth Palace since it’s guarded by half the Army? I’ve no idea. But I was looking around and the King was looking at me. A nightmare. It’s obviously weighing on me quite a lot.
“It’s just an enormous honour and privilege… and the Coronation weekend is going to be a time of bringing the country together… to be part of that, of course it’s pressure, but it’s a huge honour.”
The Cabinet Office is establishing a ‘Coronation committee’ of civil servants, royal officials and Church of England representatives for the ceremony on Saturday, May 6.