Royal insiders say they are still ‘none the wiser’ as to whether Harry and Meghan plan to come to the Coronation, despite the deadline for RSVPs closing on Monday.
Sources have said that the April 3 cut-off date has now passed and staff have still not been told whether the King’s estranged son and his wife are accepting his invitation to attend, even though the event is now just a month away.
The issue is said to be causing a ‘headache’ for organisers, who are trying to finalise details such as seating arrangements, cars, and security for VIPs attending the historic ceremony on May 6.
And even if they did decide to attend, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would not be allowed to stand on the Buckingham Palace balcony next to the King and Queen because they are no longer working royals.
The monarch will be joined by a select few who show the ‘heartbeat and future of his family’ and who have dedicated their lives to public service. Charles and Camilla will arrive at Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey in a Gold State coach, followed by the ‘final group of 15’ which would not make room for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Royal insiders say they are still ‘none the wiser’ as to whether Harry and Meghan plan to come to the Coronation, despite the deadline for RSVPs closing on Monday (Prince Harry, the Duchess of Sussex, King Charles and Queen Camilla are pictured in September 2022)
Sources have said that the April 3 cut-off date has now passed and staff have still not been told whether the King’s estranged son and his wife are accepting his invitation to attend, even though the event is now just a month away (Meghan and Harry pictured in New York in December 2022)
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on Harry and Meghan’s non-RSVP, although an aide said it was unlikely there would be such a strict cut-off date for family members as there would be other guests.
But one source said: ‘Everything is still up in the air and there’s only a month to go.
‘All people have been told is that ‘it should hopefully be resolved soon’. But in the meantime the teams are trying to finalise plans for 2,000 guests, many of whom are international heads of state and VIPs. It’s a headache.’
The Daily Mail first revealed last year that Charles would be inviting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to his coronation, despite the many brickbats they have thrown at the King, his wife and his wider family.
The Sussexes later confirmed they had received an invitation by email. Relations are so bad that the King and Prince William have not spoken to the California-based couple for several months.
One newspaper sympathetic to the Sussexes reported yesterday that they had been in ’email correspondence’ with the palace recently but said Harry was in a ‘predicament’ about whether to attend.
The prince has previously demanded that his family apologise to him and Meghan over how they were allegedly treated, and said he would need to sit down and talk to his father and brother if they were to consider coming.
The Mail subsequently revealed, however, that the King and his eldest son are in no mood to ‘pander’ to his demands.
Despite the awkwardness that would ensue if either Harry or Meghan were come, the King is understood to be determined to do the right thing and invite his younger son.
And a game of transatlantic ‘ping pong’ has apparently been going on for weeks now about arrangements should the Sussexes attend.
In the meantime Buckingham Palace staff have been ordered to plan as if they were coming, suggesting it wasn’t a definite and immediate ‘no’.
But this is causing problems for staff, who say: ‘Switching things like seating arrangements are fairly easy. But the thing that is causing more of a headache, is the security, cars and other logistical matters.
‘Any plans that mesh with the rest of the family are more important and problematic.
The issue is causing a ‘headache’ for organisers, who are trying to finalise issues such as seating arrangements, cars, and security for the Coronation on May 6 (pictured in June 2022)
Buckingham Palace declined to comment, although an aide said it was unlikely there would be such a strict cut-off date for family members as there would be other guests (King Charles and Queen Camilla are pictured marking the Coronation next month)
‘There’s clearly a lot going on behind the scenes in terms of talks between members of the family and their offices. But at this stage in proceedings people could just do with some clarity.
‘There are now two plans, one for if they do come and another if they don’t. It’s another layer of responsibility that staff could do without.’
Another family friend said it seemed deeply ‘unfair’ to the King and Queen Consort to have uncertainty over the Sussexes hanging over their heads when they just wanted to get on and plan ‘such a wonderful and historic day of celebration’.
‘Regardless of everything that’s happened, a simple yes or no would be polite and suffice,’ they added.
Flowers for our Queen: Camilla is given a bouquet by adorable little boy and samples banana bread on visit to a food market after King Charles confirmed her new title
By Laurence Dollimore, Rebecca English Royal Editor for the Daily Mail and Stewart Carr
The Queen was greeted with a bouquet of flowers as she stepped out today in a visit to a food market after her husband confirmed her new title.
The visit to Talbot Yard Food Court in the North Yorkshire town of Malton marked King Charles’ and Queen Camilla’s first engagement since the official invitation to their coronation was revealed last night.
In the invitation, King Charles sent a clear message to his wife’s detractors – including Prince Harry – that she is at the top in the order of royal precedence by confirming her new title as Queen Camilla, royal experts said.
In Malton, Charles and Camilla were pictured sampling banana bread as they met owners from six artisan food producers housed in Talbot Yard Food Court, including a butcher, baker, gelataria, coffee roastery, distillery and a macaroon maker.
Throngs of excited locals lined up in the market town – which is known as a foodie resort – to greet the royal couple, cheering as their vehicle passed.
Talbot Yard was originally a collection of Grade II Listed buildings constructed in the early 19th Century as coaching accommodation to the nearby Talbot Hotel.
Flowers for Queen Camilla: Thomas, three, hands a bouquet to Camilla during royal visit to Talbot Yard Food Court in Yorkshire
Camilla stepped out today in a visit to a food market in North Yorkshire after the King firmly cemented her place in the royal pecking order
The visit to Talbot Yard Food Court in the picture postcard town of Malton marks King Charles’ and Queen Camilla’s first engagement since the official invitation to their coronation was revealed last night
King Charles III and Queen Camilla arrive by car at Talbot Yard Food Court in Malton, Yorkshire
Now known as Talbot Yard Food Court, the disused buildings were converted into a food hub by the owners, the Fitzwilliam Estate, so that visitors can taste, explore and see how produce in Yorkshire is made.
Last night, officials shared an image of the Coronation invitation that will be sent out later this month, which read: ‘The Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla.’
Royal commentators said the title, which will take hold after the ceremony on May 6, marked the ‘end of a remarkable journey’ for Camilla, who was once depicted as the most hated woman in Britain in the wake of Princess Diana’s death in 1997.
It comes after the Duke of Sussex, 38, branded his stepmother ‘dangerous’ and a ‘villain’ during a publicity blitz for his bombshell memoir Spare earlier this year, accusing her of ‘trading information’ with the press in exchange for positive coverage of herself.
Royal author Phil Dampier told MailOnline: ‘It certainly sends out a message to Harry and everyone else that Camilla is firmly there at the top of the pecking order.’
Fittingly dressed in royal blue, the King and Queen pose for a new official portrait
King Charles gave a shot of local gin a smell during a visit to Rare Bird Distillery
The visit to Talbot Yard Food Court in the North Yorkshire town of Malton marks King Charles’ and Queen Camilla’s first engagement since the official invitation to their coronation was revealed last night
King Charles pictured meeting Ann Ruddick and her guide dog Millie in Talbot Yard
King Charles visits Talbot Yard Food Court in Yorkshire. The disused buildings were converted into a food hub by the owners, the Fitzwilliam Estate, so that visitors can taste, explore and see how produce in Yorkshire is made
The Monarch inspected a tray of cookies while visiting Bluebird Bakery
Queen Camilla tucking into a locally produced macaroon from master patissier Florian Poirot
King Charles also visited a variety of local charitable organisations during his visit to Talbot Yard
In Malton, Charles and Camilla are meeting owners and staff from six artisan food producers housed in Talbot Yard Food Court, including a butcher, baker, gelataria, coffee roastery, distillery and a macaroon maker
King Charles has sent a message to his wife’s detractors – including Prince Harry – that she is firmly at the top of the pecking order after confirming her new title as Queen Camilla, royal experts said today
He added: ‘The late Queen Elizabeth made it clear that she wanted Camilla to become Queen and that made it a lot easier for Charles.
‘After just a few months we are dropping the consort and just calling her Queen, which is how it should be, as every previous Queen has been known by that title.
‘So far Camilla hasn’t put a foot wrong but now she faces a gruelling series of overseas tours and major public events at an age when most of us are putting our feet up. It’s going to be quite a test but hopefully she is up to the task.’
Meanwhile, royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline today that Camilla’s new title marks ‘the end of a remarkable journey.’
He said: ‘Since she married Charles, then Prince of Wales, in 2005, she has worked tirelessly to support him and carry out her duties in an exemplary way.
‘She never defended herself or attacked her critics.
‘The ferocity with which she was once reviled and her handling of what must have been a devastating period after Diana’s tragic death are vivid memories to those who followed royal matters at the time.
‘There was also a worldwide fascination with what had gone so wrong in Charles’s marriage.’
He added: ‘Camilla was ”non-negotiable” for Charles and the photograph released by the Palace of them in the Blue Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace shows how happy they are together.
‘The King will have undoubtedly been outraged by Harry’s recent attack on her in an interview to promote his memoir Spare, saying she was ”dangerous”, citing ”the need to rehabilitate her image” as the reason.
‘However it is the Sussexes whose image may need rehabilitating because of their arrogance – as polls are now showing.’
Asked about the title – when the accompanying press release itself still referred to Camilla as the Queen Consort – a senior royal aide told the Mail: ‘It made sense to refer to her Majesty as The Queen Consort in the early months of His Majesty’s reign, to distinguish from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
‘Queen Camilla is the appropriate title to set against King Charles on the invitation. The Coronation is an appropriate time to start using ‘Queen Camilla’ in an official capacity. All former Queen Consorts have been known as Queen plus their first name.’
The Daily Mail was the first to reveal back in December that the Palace planned to drop the word Consort from Camilla’s title ‘organically’ this year
Charles and Camilla at the Service of Prayer and Dedication blessing their marriage at Windsor Castle on April 9, 2005
Seen here for the first time, King Charles’ official Coronation invitation is a riot of flora and fauna centred around an ancient folklore symbol, the Green Man
Charles and Camilla leaving The Ritz hotel in London after attending a 50th birthday party for Camilla’s sister in their first official outing together in 1999
Diana and Camilla at Ludlow Races in 1980
It is understood that Buckingham Palace will amend its website to reflect the change next month.
The Daily Mail was the first to reveal back in December that the Palace planned to drop the word Consort from Camilla’s title ‘organically’ this year.
This was confirmed by The Mail on Sunday in February, when it reported that she would be referred to as Queen after the Coronation.
The change, once unthinkable, sets the seal on a remarkable transformation for Camilla in the nation’s affections.
When she married the then Prince of Wales in 2005 in a civil ceremony – which Queen Elizabeth declined to attend – it was announced that Camilla ‘intended’ to be known as Princess Consort when her husband acceded to the throne.
The use of the word ‘intended’ was designed to give royal aides room for manoeuvre, but at the time many still blamed her for the breakdown of Charles’s marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales.
Since then, however, Camilla, 75, has won many over with her warmth, sense of humour, lack of complaining and work championing the victims of domestic violence, as well as the promotion of literacy.
One royal insider said last night: ‘His Majesty has always seen it as a matter of honour. He is King so, therefore, it follows that his wife should be Queen.
‘It’s rather like telling someone they can’t be known as Mrs So-and-So.
‘It’s entirely up to them whether to chose to be called that, but it’s still fundamentally their right to do so.’
Tomorrow will mark a month to the Coronation but invitations to the historic event, the first of its kind for 70 years, will not be sent out until around two weeks in advance.
They are set to be collector’s items, featuring an exquisitely designed border of flora and fauna cantering around a Green Man, an ancient traditional symbol of spring and rebirth, to represent the new reign.
The change, once unthinkable, sets the seal on a remarkable transformation for Camilla in the nation’s affections
Charles chats to Camilla at a polo match in 1972
Queen Elizabeth II poses with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on June 2, 1953, before her coronation
Buckingham Palace has also confirmed the King and Queen Consort’s Pages of Honour – led by Charles’s grandson Prince George, who will take part in the two-hour ceremony aged nine.
The then Princess Elizabeth was 11 when she watched her own father being crowned in 1937 but she did not have an official role. Neither did her son, Prince Charles, who was only four, at her own coronation in 1953.
Prince George will not merely watch but has been asked to carry his 74-year-old grandfather’s robe along with three other pages, Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, 13, Master Nicholas Barclay, 13, and Master Ralph Tollemache, 12.
The Queen Consort’s Pages of Honour will be Her Majesty’s grandsons, Master Gus and Master Louis Lopes, both 13, and Master Freddy Parker Bowles, 13. The fourth is Camilla’s great-nephew, Master Arthur Elliot, 10.
The new portrait of Their Majesties released last night was taken last month in the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace by Hugo Burnand, who will also take their official Coronation photographs.
Camilla is wearing a favourite Fiona Clare dress with a diamond clasp pearl necklace and pearl earrings.
King Charles’ Pages of Honour revealed: Monarch gives Lord Oliver Cholmondeley’s teenager, his godchild and Queen’s grandchildren key Coronation roles
By Jessica Green
Prince George is the most notable page of of honour chosen by the King and Queen Consort for the Coronation – but who are the other boys joining him?
All those picked to carry the royal couple’s robes into Westminster Abbey demonstrate Charles and Camilla’s determination to put loyal family and friends at the heart of this historic occasion.
As well as the monarch’s grandson Prince George, nine, they include Nicholas Barclay, Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, both 13, and Ralph Tollemache, 12.
The Queen Consort’s pages of honour all come from Her Majesty’s family. They include her grandsons Gus and Louis Lopes, 13, and Freddy Parker Bowles, 13. Her great-nephew, Arthur Elliot, 10, will be her fourth page.
Here, FEMAIL takes a look at the youngsters picked to be a page of honour, which is a historic ceremonial position, now only employed on state occasions.
The King’s Pages of Honour
Prince George (pictured in June, 2022) will be a page of honour for his grandfather at the historic occasion at Westminster Abbey on May 6
Prince George will be a page of honour for his grandfather at the historic occasion at Westminster Abbey on May 6.
While the Prince and Princess of Wales were touched that the King wanted his grandson to play such a significant role, they wanted to ensure that nine-year-old George felt up to the public scrutiny.
After discussions with their eldest son and future monarch, they felt happy he would rise to the occasion.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said last night: ‘We’re all very excited about Prince George’s role in the Coronation, it will be an incredibly special moment.’
Meanwhile, Nicholas Barclay, 13, is the grandson of Sarah Troughton (pictured with Camilla), who is one of the Queen’s six companions (a role which replaced the former lady-in-waiting position) and oldest friends
Meanwhile, Nicholas Barclay, 13, is the grandson of Sarah Troughton, who is one of the Queen’s six companions (a role which replaced the former lady-in-waiting position) and oldest friends.
Sarah, the Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, is a second cousin of King Charles via her maternal grandfather, who was a brother of the Queen Mother, reported Tatler.
She served as a lady-in-waiting to the Duchess of Kent from 1990-2000 and was made a Commander of the Order of St John by the Queen in 2013, before being raised to Dame of the order in 2021.
Nicholas is the only son of Sarah’s daughter Rose (nee Troughton) and solicitor Piers Barclay. Rose is also one of the King’s goddaughters.
Nicholas is one of Rose and Peter’s three children, along with Beatrice and Aurelia.
Lord Oliver Cholmondeley
Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, 13, son of David, the Marquess of Cholmondeley (pictured), and his former model wife, Rose, will also be a page of honour
Lord Oliver Cholmondeley, 13, son of David, the Marquess of Cholmondeley, and his former model wife, Rose, will also be a page of honour.
Oliver’s father was recently appointed to be the King’s Lord-in-Waiting – a significant royal role in which he will be invited to attend important state and royal occasions.
In 1974, the Marquess of Cholmondeley, as Earl of Rocksavage, was page of honour to the late Queen, before becoming Lord Great Chamberlain from 1990 to 2022.
Meanwhile, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley’s maternal grandmother, the late Lady Elizabeth Lambart, was one of the late Queen’s bridesmaids at her 1947 wedding.
The family – which also includes Lord Oliver’s twin brother, Alexander, Earl of Rocksavage, and his younger sister, Lady Iris – live at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, which is just four miles from Anmer Hall, their friends’, the Prince and Princess of Wales’s, country retreat.
The fourth page is Ralph Tollemache, 12, son of British banker and aristocrat The Honourable Edward Tollemache and Sophie Tollemache (pictured together in 2009)
The fourth page is Ralph Tollemache, 12, son of British banker and aristocrat The Honourable Edward Tollemache and Sophie Tollemache.
Edward, the heir apparent of the 5th Baron Tollemache, is a godson of the King and was a page of Honour to Queen Elizabeth.
Ralph has a brother, Theo James Tollemache, and a sister, Stella Isabel Dinah Tollemache. The family live at Helmingham Hall in Suffolk, which has belonged to the family for 500 years.
Edward and Sophie wed on 3 February 2007 at St Columba’s Church in Knightsbridge. The then Prince of Wales was one of the guests.
Queen Camilla’s Pages of Honour
Gus and Louis Lopes
Children of the Queen Consort, Laura Lopes (centre) and Tom Parker Bowles arrive with their family at Westminster Abbey ahead of The State funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19, 2022 in London
The Queen Consort’s pages of honour all come from Her Majesty’s family. They include her grandsons Gus and Louis Lopes, both 13.
It’s a significant decision given the fact Camilla’s grandchildren have been largely shielded from the spotlight over the years.
But sources previously told The Times that the King and Queen Consort are keen to get her grandchildren involved to acknowledge how close they are to the teenagers, and to reflect the reality of their life as a blended family.
Royal commentator Katie Nicholl previously detailed how Camilla loves being a grandmother.
She said the Queen Consort has long made an effort to ‘remind’ her husband not to miss out on cherished moments with his family.
Gus and Louis are the twin sons of the Queen Consort’s only daughter, art curator, Laura, and her husband Harry Lopes.
The siblings have an older sister Eliza, 15, who was a flower girl at Prince William and Kate’s wedding in April 2011. She was famously pictured on Buckingham Palace balcony with Charles.
Freddy Parker Bowles
Freddy Parker Bowles stands in front with twins Gus & Louis Lopes behind
Freddy Parker Bowles will also be a page of honour. The 13-year-old is Camilla’s other grandson from food writer and author Tom Parker Bowles’ relationship with his former wife Sarah.
The couple also have an older daughter, Lola, who is 15. They are based in London.
Mary-Clare Winwood and Ben Elliot attend the launch of Treehouse Hotel on November 13, 2019 in London
Camilla’s great-nephew, Arthur Elliot, 10 – whose father is former Tory Party chairman Ben Elliot – will be her fourth page.
Ben, whose wife is Mary-Clare Winwood, is the son of Camilla’s sister, Annabel, who is an interior designer.