They were once so close. And so it was striking, and a little sad, to see how far Charles’s two sons — Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, and Prince William, the Prince of Wales — have drifted apart in the past few years. William had an official role in Saturday’s coronation, as the heir to the throne; Harry had none at all, except as a relative demoted to the third row of Westminster Abbey.
It’s unclear whether the two acknowledged each other at all as William processed in, long after Harry took his seat.
Dressed in a morning suit with a slew of medals on his chest, Harry smiled gamely as he entered the abbey. He sat not with his immediate family, but between Jack Brooksbank, the husband of his cousin Eugenie, and Princess Alexandra, 86, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II who is reportedly 56th in line for the throne.
William wore full military regalia and at one point dropped to his knee and pledged allegiance to Charles, a moment that was both shockingly anachronistic and strangely touching. After reciting the oath, he kissed his father on the cheek, and Charles leaned forward and tenderly murmured something in response.
Harry’s wife, Meghan, who has been — unfairly or not, depending on how you see these things — blamed for his rift with his father and brother, stayed back home in California with their two young children; William’s three children were in the abbey with their parents.
Speculation about Harry’s presence, or absence, dominated much of the tabloid gossip in the run-up to the coronation, and continued as the ceremony went on.
After the coronation, William, Catherine and their children got into an ornate carriage that transported them in a long and stately fashion to Buckingham Palace. There, they joined the newly crowned king and queen and other members of the family for the traditional wave-to-the-crowds moment on the palace balcony, heads raised to watch a military fly-past (truncated because of the rain).
Neither Harry nor his uncle Prince Andrew, who has been all but defenestrated from the family because of his ties to the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, was present on the balcony.
Nor was Harry seen interacting with William, at least not publicly. He reportedly headed to the airport to fly back to California right after the coronation, thus missing the scheduled post-coronation lunch and family portrait. (According to The Daily Telegraph, he was eager to return home in time to say good night to his son, Archie, whose fourth birthday is Saturday.)
“Sources on both sides indicate that the relationship between Prince Harry and Prince William, in particular, is at rock bottom, the paper reported. “The two brothers have not spoken for months.”