Eight months after his reign began, King Charles III was officially coronated Saturday at Westminster Abbey in London, amid all the pomp, pageantry and miserable gray weather we’ve come to expect of the Brits.
As with all things royal, the day was tinged — though not entirely overshadowed — by ongoing Windsor family drama. Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, showed up at the coronation, making the first public appearance with his family since the release of the hit Netflix series “Harry & Meghan” and his bestselling memoir, “Spare.” The tell-all projects, released shortly after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, included dozens of bombshell allegations about backstabbing behavior by members of “The Firm” and painted a highly critical picture of the royal family’s relationship with the British press.
Despite Harry’s well-publicized estrangement from his family, the prince — currently fifth in line for the throne — attended without incident, which is more than can be said for his nephew, 5-year-old Prince Louis, who has established a reputation for adorably upstaging his older relatives at every turn.
Currently fourth in line for the throne, the youngest child of William and Catherine, the Prince and Princess of Wales, was seen yawning and staring up at the Abbey’s soaring ceiling during the ceremony and generally stole the show from the adults around him playing what must have seemed like an elaborate game of dress-up.
At one point, Louis was reportedly whisked away for a few minutes by a nanny, in a kid-wrangling contingency plan that surely involved many hours of planning, but returned in time to sing “God Save the King.” Later, Louis could be seen shouting and waving from inside a royal carriage as he rode with his family to Buckingham Palace. While Saturday was technically his grandfather’s big day, Louis became the undisputed king of social media, sparking a slew of tweets about his deeply relatable behavior in the middle of a rarefied — and, let’s be honest, rather slow-moving — celebration.
Last month, Buckingham Palace ended months of speculation by confirming that Harry would attend the coronation while Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, would remain in California.
On Saturday, Harry comported himself gracefully and gave the British tabloids, forever in search of more outrage fuel, little to complain about. While his brother William — the one who allegedly threw Harry into a dog bowl — and sister-in-law, Kate — the one who allegedly doesn’t like sharing her lip gloss — were seated front and center and wore elaborate robes, Harry had to settle for a perch in the third row and a relatively simple suit festooned with a half-dozen or so medals.
Harry entered the Abbey with his cousin, Princess Eugenie — who is close to Harry and earns repeated mentions in “Spare” — and was seated next to her husband, Jack Brooksbank, during the ceremony.
Though it was fleetingly possible to see Harry exchange pleasantries with other guests, those of us keeping a watchful eye on on his face, trying to discern what he might be thinking as Camilla — the archnemesis of his late mother, Princess Diana, and the ultimate wicked stepmother as portrayed in his memoir — was formally crowned queen, were out of luck: Harry’s visage was mostly blocked by the red feather on a hat worn by his aunt, Anne, the Princess Royal.
Whether or not this was intentional, we may never know. But it‘s worth noting that Anne was given the ceremonial role of “Gold Stick in Waiting,” meaning she was charged with protecting the monarch from harm — specifically physical harm, though in this case she may have been protecting him from damaging memes.
As she did at the Queen’s funeral in September, Anne wore military regalia and looked ready to compete in the Triwizard Tournament in a long, green velvet cape. She later rode on horseback behind Charles’ carriage, leading a procession of 6,000 military personnel to Buckingham Palace, proving once again that while she may not be the most famous or glamorous royal, she’s certainly the coolest.
Harry had no formal role in the ceremony. Neither did his uncle, Prince Andrew, who settled a lawsuit just last year with a woman who accused him of sexually abusing her as a teenager and arrived at the event in a black Rolls Royce. (He was reportedly booed by the crowds.)
Anyone hoping for a more permanent reconciliation between Harry and the rest of the Windsor clan are out of luck: According to the BBC, Harry left alone in a car shortly after the two-plus-hours-long ceremony concluded, and was not invited to appear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace.
It’s unclear when Harry will return to California, though it’s expected his visit to London will be brief: His son, Prince Archie, celebrates his 4th birthday this weekend with what has been billed a “low-key party at home.” And, hey, someone needs to get back to Montecito to help Meghan stuff the “Bluey” piñata. If there’s one thing Louis taught us on Saturday, it’s that you don’t want to bore a preschooler.