Prince Harry and Prince William may never heal the “vast rift” which currently separates them, a royal expert has warned, as King Charles III”s Coronation looms less than three weeks away. The brothers are widely understood to be estranged as a result of the fallout from Harry’s decision to relocate to California with his wife Meghan Markle, and especially their controversial Netflix series and the publication of his explosive memoir, Spare, in January.
Earlier this month, Buckingham Palace confirmed the Duke of Sussex would attend the lavish event, scheduled for May 6 at Westminster Abbey on May 6 – but Meghan will remain in the United States.
The occasion falls on the fourth birthday of Prince Archie, Harry and Meghan’s son.
Given the ongoing tensions, UK businesswoman Hilary Fordwich, who is a regular on US television speaking on royal matters, was doubtful about whether reconciliation was on the cards, regardless of Harry’s decision.
Ms Fordwich referred to a picture which appears in the souvenir programme for the Coronation, which went on sale this week, showing the Sussexes, the King, Queen Camilla, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, all beaming for the camera.
She added: “If a picture tells a thousand words an outdated picture used in a current context might be seen as someone trying to say a thousand words they can’t due to the constraints of protocol.”
“Since Meghan Markle still appears in the official Coronation souvenir programme, albeit within a formerly united family portrait marking the King’s 70th birthday back in 2018, it could be said that it’s saying what the King wishes.
What it did not depict was reports of “a now fractious friendship between Meghan and Kate” confirmed by Harry in Spare, Ms Fordwich said.
She added: “Nor does it show Camilla, whose closest confidantes reveal now how ‘hurt’ she was in the aftermath of Harry referring to her as both ‘dangerous’ and a ‘villain’.
“It also doesn’t mention the major issue for Harry pertaining to the Coronation, that he would be relegated to the ‘cheap seats’.
“Last but certainly not least that photo doesn’t give any indication of the now rather vast rift between Prince Harry and Prince William, the once close brothers. Their relationship is reported to be ‘on ice’ at best.”
Ms Fordwich cited Deepak Chopra, an Indian-American mindfulness expert who appeared on Harry and Meghan’s podcast in 2020, who last week said the Sussexes were “struggling” amid the rift between themselves and the Royal Family.
She continued: “He didn’t specify what they are struggling over but given Harry didn’t speak to William but only to his father one might gather that is one issue he is struggling with.
“Such is the great gulf between the once-close brothers that I really don’t see their relationship being repaired any time soon.”
Earlier this week, The Daily Telegraph claimed Harry has held “peace talks” with his father ahead of the event in the form of “positive conversations” – although, significantly, not with his brother.
The report suggested Prince Harry had spent weeks agonising over the decision, with one insider saying: “It is about showing up, showing support and being there for his father.
“It was a very personal decision, not a PR one.”
He is expected to fly in specifically for the ceremony and is not expected to attend any other events, nor will he be permitted to appear on the royal balcony.