Harry and Meghan will fear ‘appearing an irrelevance’ if they do not attend King Charles’ Coronation later this year, royal experts say – as Charles is seen for the first time since their row over Frogmore Cottage.
Charles was seen smiling and appeared in good spirits wearing a brown long-line coat and an umbrella wrapped around his arm as he made his way to St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham.
He was greeted by Reverend Canon Paul Williams outside the church ahead of the Sunday service.
It is the first time the King has been seen following a whirlwind week in which he is understood to have invited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex his Coronation after serving notice for the couple to vacate Frogmore Cottage – a move that is thought to complicate any future visits to the UK.
Harry and Meghan are refusing to confirm whether or not they will attend the historic event in May, but Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams has said they would ‘dare not stay away’.
The monarch was seen greeting the local vicar in a long brown coat and an umbrella wrapped around his arm as he made his way from a Sunday service today
He told MailOnline: ‘It has always been clear that King Charles would invite Harry and Meghan to the Coronation. As a symbol of national unity, he believes this is important.
‘However their response is uncertain and raises an acute dilemma for them. On the one hand, they want discussions with senior royals and accountability for what they believe they went through when they were senior working royals.
‘They believe that, together with the press, the royal family sought to drive them into exile. They want an apology. They will not get it.
‘The Sussexes have contracts with Netflix, Spotify and Random House. They only have these because they are members of the Royal Family. If they did not attend this momentous event they will seem very out of touch. ‘
Mr Fitzwilliams added: ‘Also the courtiers are aware of their obsession with controlling the narrative and for getting publicity. They will be strictly controlled as they were during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Discussions with other royals will focus on the weather.
‘So the dilemma is theirs. They won’t be missed if they don’t come by much of the British public. However if they don’t they risk appearing an irrevelance and polls in America have shown a seismic drop in their support.
‘Since they have not decided on constructive careers and the endless interviews, the memoir and threats of more memoirs are recent proof of this, I suspect they dared not stay away. We shall see.’
Prince Harry, who along with his wife Meghan, has launched a series of extraordinary attacks against the Royal Family in recent months, has confirmed he received an email from his father about the event.
The coronation, which is set to be seen by millions of people in the UK and potentially billions around the world, will take place on May 6 – the same day as the fourth birthday of Archie, Harry’s son.
King Charles attending the morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham earlier today
It is the first time the King has been seen since it was revealed Prince Harry and Meghan are to be evicted from Frogmore Cottage
The King was seen smiling and appeared in good spirits as he made his way into the church service
Meanwhile, it was revealed the same night Harry spoke candidly about his use of illegal drugs during an intimate chat with ‘toxic trauma’ expert Dr Gabor Mate in an online livestream.
There has been much debate in recent months about whether King Charles would invite his youngest son to his coronation.
The relationship between the Sussexes and the rest of the Royal Family has become strained in recent years, with both Harry and Meghan publicly criticising the Firm.
As well as hitting out at the institution, Harry revealed intimate, personal conversations involving himself and other members of this family his memoir Spare, which was released earlier this year.
The publication saw explosive details of the fractious relationship between Harry and his older brother William laid bare, including the Duke retelling how they were involved in a physical altercation that left Harry visibly injured.
This was followed by Charles evicting Harry and Meghan from their grace-and-favour home, Frogmore Cottage, which lies on the grounds of the Windsor estate.
It has been suggested that the King will offer the Sussexes the chance to use Prince Andrew’s Buckingham Palace apartment as an olive branch to tempt them into returning to the UK for visits.
Despite this, a spokesperson for the Sussexes confirmed that the couple has now been invited to the event.
A Sussex spokesperson told The Times: ‘I can confirm The Duke has recently received email correspondence from His Majesty’s office regarding the coronation.
‘An immediate decision on whether The Duke and Duchess will attend will not be disclosed by us at this time.’
It comes after Harry admitted last night that marijuana had ‘really helped’ him but that cocaine and alcohol were more ‘social’ during a candid Q&A.
Trauma expert Dr Gabor Mate spoke of the way people used drugs to deal with problems in their lives before asking Harry’s about his reasons for using drugs including cocaine and cannabis.
‘The first one you mentioned, that didn’t do anything for me, it was more a social thing. It gave me a sense of belonging and probably also made me feel different to the way I was feeling,’ Harry said.
‘Marijuana is different, that actually did really help me.’
King Charles has invited his youngest son Prince Harry to his coronation on May 6, this year. Pictured: Harry speaks to his father as his wife Meghan Markle looks on during Trooping The Colour 2018
The Sussexes have not yet confirmed whether they will be attending the coronation. Pictured: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit the Andalusian Gardens in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, in 2019
The prince said alcohol was also ‘more of a social thing’ and complained about peer pressure around drinking.
He added that using psychedelics was like’ the cleaning of the windshield, removal of life’s filters’.
‘It removed it all for me and brought me a sense of relaxation, release, comfort, a lightness that I managed to hold onto for a period of time,’ he said.
‘For me I started doing it recreationally and then started to realise how good it was for me. I would say it is one of the fundamental parts of my life that changed me and helped me deal with the traumas and the pains of the past.’
During the livestream he also confirmed he encouraged his family to undergo therapy so they could ‘speak his language’, and claimed he had been diagnosed with PTSD triggered by the death of his mother Diana when he was 12.
He added that he doesn’t see himself as a ‘victim’, but that his wife Meghan had ‘saved him’.
He said: ‘I was stuck in this world, she was from a different world and helped draw me out of that.
‘My partner is an exceptional human being and I’m eternally grateful for the wisdom and the space she’s been able to give to me.’
Harry also lashed out at the British public for not being backing troops in Afghanistan, saying: ‘One of the reasons why certainly so many people in the United Kingdom were not supportive of our troops was because they assumed that everybody that was serving was for the war.
‘But no, once you sign up you do what you’re told to do, so there was a lot of us that didn’t necessarily agree or disagree, but you were doing what you were trained to do, you were doing what you were sent to do.’
His candid conversation came the same week it was confirmed Charles had asked him and Meghan to vacate Frogmore Cottage, the royal residence where they have stayed while in the UK in the past.
King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort, leave after a visit to Bolton Town Hall on January 20, 2023
Oils from the Mount of Olives mixed with essential oils and blessed in Jerusalem to become Chrism Oil, which will be used in the coronation
Harry had the Q&A on a livestream with trauma expert Gabor Mate (pictured here during the event)
Prince Andrew may be forced out of the Royal Lodge in Windsor and into Frogmore Cottage
It was revealed last week that Harry and Meghan have been told to vacate Frogmore Cottage (pictured), the residence where they have traditionally stayed while in the UK
A source close to the couple said while they were not spitting feathers about the decision, it would make future visits to the country ‘incredibly complicated’ if they are forced to stay outside the security perimeters of the royal estate.
The couple, who moved to California three years ago, are said to be concerned over how the move will impact Archie, three, and one-year-old Lilibet’s relationship with their grandfather.
Last week, journalist Omid Scobie claimed that some members of the Royal Family were ‘appalled’ by the decision to evict Harry and Meghan, with the couple also said to have felt ‘stunned’.
An insider allegedly told him: ‘It all feels very final and like a cruel punishment. It’s like [the family] want to cut them out of the picture for good.’
But the couple are not as ‘stunned’ about leaving as previous reports have suggested, believing that ‘if we need to move out, we will get ourselves out’, a source told The Times.
King Charles reportedly decided to evict Harry and Meghan from Frogmore Cottage due to the repeated broadsides at Queen Consort Camilla in his younger son’s memoir, Spare.
The decision was apparently a difficult one for the King, particularly as he was keen not to add fuel to the fire of the ongoing row with Harry.
But he is understood to have reached a point where he believed Harry had ‘crossed a line’ following claims made in their Netflix series and the prince’s bombshell memoir.