How King Charles has still included Meghan in the coronation - despite the Duchess turning down ceremony invite

Meghan Markle will not be attending the King's coronation...

Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation)

Despite Meghan Markle turning down her invite to King Charles' upcoming coronation ceremony, her father-in-law has still incorporated the Duchess into the celebrations - albeit in a small way.

After much speculation, Prince Harry has accepted the invitation to attend his father's coronation, which will be held at Westminster Abbey on May 6, 2023. But the day will be bittersweet for the estranged Prince as he will attend alone, leaving his wife Meghan Markle, and two children, Archie and Lilibet, at home in California.

While Meghan will not be at the historic ceremony King Charles has still made an effort to include her in the Coronation.

In what is widely considered an 'olive branch' gesture, a family portrait has been included in the event's souvenir program featuring Meghan alongside the rest of the family.

The Royal Family

(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The portrait featured in the official Buckingham Palace souvenir program was taken by royal photographer Chris Jackson to mark King Charles III's 70th birthday in 2018. The photo, as many royal watchers have pointed out, was taken prior to not just the release of Harry's controversial tell-all memoir Spare, but also Harry and Meghan's explosive Oprah interview and the couple's scathing Netflix documentary series.

The picture, taken in the stunning gardens at Clarence House during the summer months, shows the family relaxed and laughing as a united front. Prince George is seen sitting on Charles' knee, while the Queen Consort sits with her arm around Princess Charlotte and Kate lovingly holds Prince Louis.

Despite the fractured relations we now know were plaguing the couple at the time of this picture, Meghan and Harry can both be seen smiling and laughing along with the rest of the family. Behind the scenes, at the time the photograph was taken, Meghan and Kate were struggling through a disagreement over Princess Charlotte's bridesmaid's dress and Harry is also said to have been privately arguing with his family over their alleged lack of support concerning his marriage to Meghan, which had taken place just a few months earlier.

The Royal Family

(Image credit: Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

The image is just one of many featured in the King's coronation souvenir program and was one of a few pictures which were released following the first dress rehearsal for the upcoming event. 

In the early hours of Tuesday morning (April 18), horse-drawn carriages were seen running through the coronation's parade route, which begins at Buckingham Palace and follows down The Mall. The impressive cavalry could also be spotted practicing their formations as they replicated the route soon to be taken alongside the King.

The souvenir program is just one of many gifts, souvenirs, and pieces of memorabilia commemorating the big day. As well as Buckingham Palace's own official merchandise, many businesses have created items to mark the special occasion. From hand-decorated mugs made by small businesses and sold on Etsy, to delicious baked goods delivered in commemorative tins, there is a whole host of memorabilia available, but don't worry, we rounded up the best King Charles coronation memorabilia so you don't get overwhelmed. 

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Freelance news writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with Good To, BBC Good Food and The Independent.