The Daily Beast understands that Prince William had no desire for his brother to attend Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, having feared his presence, which was finally confirmed Friday, could overshadow the celebrations and damage the dignity of the proceedings.
“Harry’s presence on British soil is not welcomed by his brother,” one source said before the announcement was made that Harry will attend. “Last time Harry came to the U.K., William managed to be in the Alps. These things don’t happen by accident. William is sick of the sight and sound of his kid brother. He doesn’t want him there.”
The second in line to the throne now has little choice but to bear his discomfort, as news broke Friday that Harry, Meghan, and their young children will attend Jubilee festivities in the U.K.—although the fact they were not invited to make an appearance on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with the “working” royals may help keep the peace.
“Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are excited and honoured to attend The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this June with their children,” a Sussex spokesperson said.
It will be the first opportunity for the monarch to meet her namesake infant great-granddaughter, Lillibet.
There was speculation earlier this week that Harry wouldn’t make an appearance after he was announced as member of a newly formed polo team with his friend Nacho Figueras; the team said it intended to play a series of matches this summer, one of which falls on the Jubilee weekend of June.
Of course, every polo team has backup and reserve players, and Omid Scobie, the reporter who penned the pro-Sussex biography Finding Freedom, cautioned on Twitter against reading too much into the scheduling of games. That now looks prescient.
The queen is understood to have personally wished that her California-based grandson would attend, and is thought to have been keen to facilitate him to do so.
Harry and Meghan’s attendance does not of course answer all the uncertainties around the events four weeks from now. No one knows exactly what events they will attend and there is also significant doubt over whether the queen will be there herself.
The palace has been quietly letting it be known that her attendance is by no means guaranteed, and this week there came a new bombshell: Her Majesty will not be attending four pre-Jubilee garden parties scheduled to take place this month in London and Scotland.
A source at Buckingham Palace told The Daily Beast that “the format of the parties in terms of length of time they last and the traditional amount of time standing” were “key factors in other family members attending on her behalf.”
All sources The Daily Beast spoke to this week agreed that if Harry, however angry he is with his family—and despite the historic low watermark that his relations with his brother have hit—were to attend the Jubilee, it would be largely out of respect for his grandmother.
In his Today show interview with Hoda Kotb, he suggested he was “trying” to do just that, and also wanted to introduce his youngest child to Her Majesty, but said various logistical and “security issues” needed to be sorted out first.
It was notable that in the interview, Harry, when asked if he missed his brother (or father), declined to answer the question. It is clear that the relationship between Harry and William is as bad as it has ever been, not helped by nervousness on William’s part around the convention-shattering decision of Harry to write an “entirely honest” memoir, due to be published later this year, which William fears may seek to damage the monarchy.
Adding to the animus is that William and his family were deeply dismayed by Harry going on American TV just days after meeting his grandmother and suggesting that she was not being properly looked after and that it was up to him to make sure she was “protected” and had “the right people around her.”
It damaged what little trust was left after several years of feuding between Harry and William, including Harry’s allegation to Oprah Winfrey that William was “trapped” in the royal family and that Kate made Meghan cry in the run-up to her wedding, and that the palace then failed to correct newspaper reports saying that the opposite happened.
Emily Andrews, a former royal editor for the Sun and the Mail on Sunday, told The Daily Beast: “William has played his cards very close to his chest throughout the whole thing and said nothing about it to anyone, so you can be sure he would not be actively agitating for Harry not to come.”
The royal author and YouTuber Lady Colin Campbell told The Daily Beast, before the announcement was made: “William does not want Harry to be there. He thinks the Sussex drama will turn the whole thing into a dog and pony show.”
Note: This article was updated after it was confirmed that Prince Harry and his family will be in the U.K for the Platinum Jubilee.