Buckingham Palace confirmed on Wednesday, April 12 that the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry will be at the crowning ceremony of his father, King Charles III, and Queen Camilla at London’s Westminster Abbey on May 6 — but Meghan Markle will not be by his side.
“Buckingham Palace is pleased to confirm that The Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on 6th May. The Duchess of Sussex will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet,” they said in the statement.
Prince Harry, 38, wanted to be at the service to support his father at this important moment in his life, a friend tells PEOPLE. Although there are three days of events surrounding the coronation, including a concert at Windsor Castle and a volunteer day, Harry is not expected to attend other outings aside from the crowning ceremony.
The palace had no comment or guidance on whether Prince Harry will join King Charles, Queen Camilla and other members of the royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony following the coronation at this stage.
Meghan, 41, is staying in California with the couple’s two children. May 6 is also Prince Archie’s fourth birthday, and she will spend the weekend celebrating with him and his sister, 22-month-old Princess Lilibet. Prince Harry and Meghan, who relocated to California after stepping back as senior royals in 2020, were most recently with the rest of the royal family in the U.K. at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September.
Harry also made a surprise visit to the U.K. last month, attending London’s High Court for a legal case in which he and other prominent figures including Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley and Jude Law’s ex-wife Sadie Frost are suing Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), publisher of the Daily Mail, for illegal information gathering.
On March 5, The Sunday Times reported that Prince Harry and Meghan received an invitation to the coronation, though their decision on attending was not disclosed. In a statement, a spokesperson for the couple told the paper, “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.”
Commenting on the coronation in a January interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby on his memoir Spare, Harry said, “There’s a lot that can happen between now and then. But, you know, the door is always open. The ball is in their court. There’s a lot to be discussed, and I really hope that they are willing to sit down and talk about it.”
Following the fanfare around Prince Harry’s book, King Charles was said to be eager for the situation “calm down” in time for his coronation.
A source close to the royal household told PEOPLE: “It is such a momentous occasion for Charles, and he would want his son to be at the coronation to witness it. He would like to have Harry back in the family. If they don’t sort it out, it will always be part of the King’s reign and how he has left his family disjointed. He has had a reputation as a distant parent, and it would be awful for him for that to continue.”
The confirmation of the couple’s attendance at the historic event follows news that their daughter Princess Lilibet was recently christened in California. The statement was significant, as it marked the first time Prince Harry and Meghan referred to their children’s royal titles. Their son is now similarly styled as Prince Archie of Sussex.
While confirming the news of Lilibet’s christening, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told PEOPLE on March 8: “I can confirm that Princess Lilibet was christened on Friday, March 3 by the bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the Rev John Taylor.”
Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth in September, Prince Harry’s father became King Charles — and as grandchildren of the monarch, Archie and Lili were afforded the titles of prince and princess. The titles will be used in formal settings and not in everyday use.
“The children’s titles have been a birthright since their grandfather became monarch,” a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told PEOPLE. “This matter has been settled for some time in alignment with Buckingham Palace.”
In March, a spokesperson for the couple’s Archewell Foundation confirmed to PEOPLE that they have been asked to leave their U.K. home. “We can confirm The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been requested to vacate their residence at Frogmore Cottage,” the spokesperson said.
Royal historian Robert Lacey pointed out that despite tensions, the family has been able to unite before.
“There have been some very grave disagreements between them,” Lacey recently told PEOPLE. “But the Platinum Jubilee and the funerals of the Queen and Prince Philip did demonstrate that they could put personal enmity aside for the sake of the bigger cause. And that is what the coronation will be all about.”
Added royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith, “The monarchy is bigger than a family argument.”