King Charles' Photo Of Meghan Markle In Coronation Program Is Lowkey Shady

The upcoming coronation of King Charles III on May 6 is generating a big buzz, and one pressing question on everyone's mind is how the royal family will navigate their strained relationship with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In the months leading up to the coronation, it was unclear whether or not Prince Harry would attend. However, CNN reported on April 12 that the Duke of Sussex would be in attendance on May 6, although Markle would stay at their home in California with their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

The decision came as a result of it being Prince Archie's fourth birthday on May 6, with Prince Harry only attending the coronation ceremony and then hopping on a plane back to Montecito. A source told the Daily Mail, "Charles will be pleased. The rest of the family will be relieved that Meghan won't be there — it would have been particularly uncomfortable for Kate." While Prince Harry's presence at the coronation may be a step toward making amends with King Charles III and William, Prince of Wales, the chosen picture of Meghan Markle in the ceremony's program is a telling sign that there is still a huge rift in the royal family.

King Charles used a five-year-old photo of Meghan Markle before kids

In an effort to show solidarity within the family, King Charles III included a family portrait of him and Queen Camilla, the Prince and Princess of Wales, their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, along with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The photo depicts a happy, laughing family, and while King Charles III may have intended to include the snapshot as an olive branch, his choice reflected the deep rift within the family. The portrait was taken five years ago, in 2018, before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had their children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

As one observer pointed out on Twitter, "Prince Harry, Meghan, Archie and Lilibet were in the UK last year for the late Queen's jubilee. King Charles couldn't get a family picture with his sons and their children last year, so he is using a picture from 2018 in his coronation program. They didn't attend Lilibet BD party." Another tweeted, "The message is clear, Harry's children are not part of the Royal Family."

Low-key digs at Markle aside, King Charles III is reportedly upset that the former "Suits" star won't be attending the coronation. "It is sad, he is very disappointed that he won't see Meghan or his grandchildren but understands the situation," an insider told The Sun. While Prince Harry's presence may be a step toward reconciliation, Markle's absence during a historical event may have cemented her distance from the royal family even further.

Archie and Lilibet have the titles of prince and princess

In a 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle expressed her concern about the safety of her son, Archie, amid the rift in the royal family. "They didn't want him to be a prince or princess," she said (via Today). "Which would be different from protocol and that he wasn't going to receive security ... He needs to be safe, so we're not saying don't make him a prince or princess."

Meghan further claimed that when Archie was born, she wasn't in the loop when it came to deciding what his title would be since she and Prince Harry decided to step away from their royal family duties. "I heard a lot of it through Harry and parts of it through conversations with family members," she added. "It was a decision that they felt was appropriate. It's not their right to take it away."

Nonetheless, in March 2023, both Archie and Lilibet were given the titles of prince and princess. It was reported that after discussion, the family decided it was the children's "birthright" to have the titles despite the ongoing tension.

The royal family continues to extend an olive branch

Since Queen Elizabeth II's death, the members of the royal family have been trying to patch up the split between Prince William and Prince Harry. "We've seen the brothers out together, and we've seen them sitting near each other at occasions," Royal expert Myko Clelland told Us Weekly.

He added that they also most likely have conversations that the public doesn't know about. "I think now is the time grief brings families together, and we've seen this coming together," Clelland continued, indicating that the death of the queen could force some conversation between the two. "So, if it's going to happen, I think now is the best possible chance."

It's also clear that King Charles has been trying to extend an olive branch to Prince Harry and Meghan, especially after mentioning them in his inaugural speech. But True Royalty TV co-founder Nick Bullen told Fox News that King Charles wants to respect the Sussexes' decision to live a normal life as well. "As you know, Harry and Meghan have made it very clear that's not a role they want," he said. "So I think the olive branch is a family olive branch. It's not an olive branch to rejoin the working royals."