King Charles appeared in great spirits as he attended a church service in Norfolk today – after it was revealed he has asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to broker a deal to allow Prince Harry to attend his Coronation.
His Majesty, 74, was accompanied by his sister, the Princess Royal, as the pair made their way towards St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham.
Wearing a brown overcoat, the King was snapped holding an umbrella as he strode to the service. Meanwhile, his sister, Princess Anne, wore a coordinated outfit, also donning a brown coat, which she paired with brown slacks and boots.
The outing follows revelations published by the Mail On Sunday that Charles wants Justin Welby to strike an agreement with his warring sons that would allow Harry and his wife Meghan to attend the Westminster Abbey ceremony in May, according to senior sources close to Lambeth Palace.
King Charles and the Princess Royal arrive to attend a church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham
Speculation has been rife about whether the Sussexes would attend the high-profile event since they stepped away from Royal duties – and especially since the publication of Harry’s tell-all memoirs, Spare, earlier this month, that contained a string of wounding attacks on senior members of the Royal Family.
The King is said to believe that Harry and Meghan’s absence at the coronation would be a greater distraction than their presence, so is prepared to make concessions to persuade them to attend.
But William is understood to be concerned that his brother will use the event to stage a ‘stunt’ that would overshadow the event.
Sources say Harry could be guaranteed a high-profile seating position in the Abbey or an informal assurance that he will be able to keep his titles as an inducement to attend.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pictured together in October 2018
Good spirits: At one point King Charles appeared to be smiling broadly as he walked alongside his sister in Sandringham today
The king’s outing today, accompanied by his sister Princess Anne, follows reports that the monarch is keen for his son Prince Harry to attend his Coronation
The King is said to believe that Harry and Meghan’s absence at the coronation would be a greater distraction than their presence
However, William fears that unless Harry’s visit is tightly scripted, he could steal the limelight by, for example, going on a walkabout in a deprived London borough with Meghan.
One source said: ‘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 the King is said to want Harry to attend the Coronation, reports say Prince William has concerns over the idea
Lady Susan Hussey arrives to attend a church service with King Charles and the Princess Royal at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham
Lady Susan Hussey leaves after attending a church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham
‘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.’
Last night, both Lambeth Palace and Buckingham Palace declined to comment, while a source close to Prince William said they were not aware of any such negotiations over the Coronation.
Mr Welby, who will officiate at the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, was first asked to act as an intermediary between William and Harry shortly after the Queen’s death in September.
The King has asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to broker a deal to allow Harry to attend his Coronation
Charles, William and Harry at a 2017 military memorial event
He has previously been dragged into the soap opera surrounding the Sussexes when Meghan claimed in a TV interview that he had secretly married them before their official wedding in 2018 – forcing him to clarify that the ceremony broadcast to the world was the legal marriage.
He was also forced to pull out of the Church’s General Synod in July 2019 in order to baptise the couple’s son, Archie.
Speculation over Harry and Meghan’s attendance at the coronation comes after the release of the couple’s Netflix docuseries and the Duke of Sussex’s tell-all memoir, Spare.
Despite the King’s dignified silence about the allegations aired in Spare, Royal insiders say he was ‘livid’ about his son’s attacks on the Queen Consort Camilla, calling her ‘dangerous’ and a ‘villain’ in TV interviews to promote his book.