King Charles III, Harry, Meghan to Meet Leaders Before Funeral
Another olive branch extended. King Charles III has invited senior royals to meet with world leaders one day before Queen Elizabeth II‘s funeral — with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle joining the bunch.
The 73-year-old king will host diplomats and international heads of state during a reception at Buckingham Palace on Sunday, September 18, according to royal reporter Omid Scobie. Along with other senior royal family members — likely including Prince William and Princess Kate — Harry, 38, and the Suits alum, 41, will greet those visiting from outside the U.K.
Among the invited guests are Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan and ambassadors from Iran, North Korea and more, Scobie reports.
Harry and Meghan have been highly involved in the events leading up to the queen’s funeral on Monday, September 19, despite stepping down from their senior royal duties in 2020. The Sussexes joined William and Kate, both 40, to view tributes and welcome mourners at Windsor Castle on Saturday, September 10, shortly after Charles expressed his “love” for the couple in his first address to the U.K. as king.
“I think the king has made it very clear that he wants to heal the rift,” royal expert Gareth Russell told Us Weekly exclusively of Charles’ speech. “Family dynamics, of course, are always complicated, but I think we can all see that there’s a great deal of pain.”
The former Prince of Wales sent his best to Harry and Meghan “as they continue to build their lives overseas” in California with son Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 15 months. Russell noted that Charles’ message made it clear he wants to work toward “a better relationship” with his youngest son, adding, “Let’s hope that the olive branch is something that works.”
In the days following Elizabeth’s death on September 8, the Archewell cofounders were on hand to receive her coffin at Buckingham Palace with William, Kate and more royal family members. Harry later marched beside his older brother during the procession to Westminster Hall on Wednesday, September 14, sharing a sweet moment with Meghan inside the chapel after the 20-minute service.
Though they’ve participated in several of the mourning traditions, the duke and the “Archetypes” podcast host remain cautious around the royal family due to their drama over the past few years. “Harry and and Meghan still are uneasy,” royal expert Christopher Anderson told Us, predicting that “it’ll take an awful lot” for the couple to “get back to where they were” with Harry’s relatives before their exit.
As the family continues to grieve, however, much of the drama has seemingly been cast aside. “This is such an intensely difficult time for [William and Harry],” a source exclusively told Us before the funeral. “They both adored their grandma and it will take some time to process the reality of her passing. … There’s still this horrendous sense of loss and emptiness thinking that she’ll no longer be around.”