The Royal Family has endured one of its most damaging weeks in recent memory, following the publication of Prince Harry’s memoir Spare.
Among the Duke of Sussex’s revelations were claims about Queen Consort Camilla’s relationship with the press, as well as his side of a violent encounter with Prince William. Harry also accused his brother and sister-in-law Kate of encouraging him to wear his infamous Nazi uniform.
The disgruntled Prince also turned his fire on News UK CEO Rebekah Brooks and revealed some highly personal details about himself, including his military career and love life.
With only months to go until his father King Charles III has his coronation in Westminster Abbey, London, the whole saga has led many to question whether Harry and Meghan are still invited to the event. Indeed, there have been some suggestions Prime Minister Rishi Sunak may be forced to get involved to resolve the situation.
So, what is the ‘Winston Churchill precedent’ - and what’s the latest on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s coronation invites? Here’s what you need to know.
What is the Winston Churchill precedent?
According to a report in the Mail on Sunday, Rishi Sunak could be forced to read the riot act to Prince Harry in light of the publication of his memoir Spare.
With King Charles facing a tough choice between either barring his son from the coronation and further escalating tensions in the process, or allowing the Sussexes to attend the event and create a media circus, some have argued the decision should be taken out of his hands.
Royal watchers have pointed to the ‘Churchill precedent’ as a mechanism the King could use to avoid an awkward run-in with Harry and Meghan. It would see the King appoint Rishi Sunak to inform Harry he has been uninvited from this May’s coronation.
It is called the ‘Churchill precedent’ because former PM Winston Churchill had to intervene to stop the Duke of Windsor from attending Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. Edward VIII plunged the UK into a constitutional crisis by abdicating in 1936, and it was thought his presence would have been too much of a distraction at the event.
A Royal source quoted by the Mail said: “The coronation is a state event and funded by the state. So, in the same way that Winston Churchill advised the Duke of Windsor to stay away [from Elizabeth II’s Coronation], the decision of whether to invite Harry, who has no official Royal role and no state function at the ceremony, will be down to the government rather than just his father.”
However, a Whitehall source also told the newspaper: “Traditionally, the Royal Household provides us with the number of Royal guests, without giving their identity, and we construct the arrangements on that basis.” It suggests Sunak’s government does not want to be dragged into the ongoing Royal spat.
Are Harry and Meghan invited to King Charles’ coronation?
Despite the speculation, the Sussexes are understood to still be invited to the King’s coronation - although they had not yet received a formal invitation as of mid-December.
Harry and Meghan have remained tight-lipped about their plans for May - although this may in part be due to security threats against the Prince, which surfaced in January.