After years of family tensions, Prince Harry attended his father’s coronation alone. Harry’s wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is staying at home in California with the couple’s children, Prince Archie, who turns 4 on Saturday, and 1-year-old Princess Lilibet. Relegated to the equivalent of the table at the far end of the room at a wedding reception, Harry was seated in the third row of the abbey, next to Jack Brooksbank, the husband of his cousin, Princess Eugenie.
Seated in the front row were Prince William, Charles’s heir, and his wife, Catherine, the Princess of Wales, wearing ornate formal robes to reflect their rank in the royal family. The king’s sister, Princess Anne, was similarly clad. Harry wore a regular gray morning suit, adorned with his military service medals. Prince Andrew, the disgraced second son of Queen Elizabeth II, wore ceremonial robes despite no longer being a working member of the royal family.
Presidents, international monarchs, British politicians and celebrities were also among the approximately 2,300 people in attendance at the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey. Among them were the American first lady, Jill Biden, and Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, and former prime ministers Boris Johnson, Theresa May and Tony Blair. The current British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, gave a reading from the first chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians.
The singers Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the actors Judi Dench and Emma Thompson were present. The guest list spoke to Charles’s efforts to embrace a modern, multicultural Britain, but also to the monarchy’s dynastic identity.