At long last, Prince Harry has confirmed that he will be attending his father King Charles III’s upcoming coronation, but that hasn’t stopped royal experts from buzzing with speculation about how a Sussex reunion with the royal family might play out. Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell recently appeared on GB News and revealed that the seating chart for the coronation has Harry sitting 10 rows back from his brother Prince William and the rest of the working royals, a choice that some will undoubtedly read as a sign of a chilly reception towards their visitor from Montecito.
Burrell certainly seems to feel that Harry’s seating is evidence of what he believes to be true of the relationship between Charles, William, and the somewhat-estranged Harry, whose memoir Spare and bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 revealed a number of unflattering experiences growing up in the royal family and reportedly caused tension with his relatives back in the U.K.
“There is no chance of a reconciliation anytime soon, I’m afraid—I think he will get a very icy reception from the Windsors,” Burrell told GB News, per The Sun.
So, why all the fuss about Harry attending in the first place?
“He is coming to put his foot in the door and he is coming because his father wants him to be there,” Burrell believes. “His father will be delighted that both his sons will be there to witness this incredible day in his life.”
Burrell also claimed that it’s expected that Harry will leave shortly after the ceremony, and that Harry “doesn’t want to spend much time around them,” adding: “Harry is not going to hang around…he is coming to show face.”
Harry’s assigned seating previously stirred up controversy in the media after Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, when Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, were seated in the second row. Not having Harry and Meghan sit in the front row was perceived as a snub by some royal commentators, and many have wondered what the royals had planned in the event of the couple attending Charles’s coronation.
Other reports claim that the front row of the coronation will be reserved for working royals, a role from which Harry and Meghan formally resigned in 2020: from that perspective, it does make sense that Harry wouldn’t be sitting alongside his other family members. It may be that Harry was specifically assigned a further-back row at the coronation so that he wouldn’t draw attention from the other royals, but of course, anywhere they sit him will inevitably stir up conversation of its own. We’ll see if Burrell’s prediction bears out, though we agree with him on one point of speculation: Charles must be pleased to have both his sons there on one of the biggest days of his life, no matter what their current rapport may be, and no matter where in Westminster Abbey they might be sitting.