The British royal family is said to be taking a collective sigh of relief over Meghan Markle being a no-show for King Charles’ big day.
On April 12, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Prince Harry will attend his father’s coronation, ending months of speculation about whether the Duke of Sussex would be welcome after writing his explosive memoir "Spare." His wife will remain at the couple’s California home with their two young children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.
"I think there is a quiet relief that Meghan isn’t coming because it avoids so many situations," True Royalty TV co-founder Nick Bullen told Fox News Digital. "It avoids all cameras being trained on Meghan when it’s the king’s day. People would be waiting to see what their reactions are. Do people give side eye to each other in the front row? I think the fact that she isn’t coming is a good thing. The fact that [Prince Harry] is coming is a good thing."
Bullen is an award-winning documentarian who has been producing programs about the British royal family for 20 years. He has also worked closely with the king for about a decade.
On April 21, the streaming platform will premiere "His Majesty’s Coronation: Behind the Throne," a special featuring a panel of royal experts and insiders who will dig deep into the traditions associated with the coronation. The king will be crowned on May 6 at London’s Westminster Abbey.
According to Bullen, sources told him that "everyone is really pleased that Harry’s coming to the coronation."
"He had to come," Bullen explained. "This is his father’s biggest moment. It’s what his father waited his whole life for. It would’ve been just rude not to turn up, let alone lacking in dignity and style… The royal family, the household, the nation – [everyone] is really pleased he’s coming. He had to be a part of it."
The date of the coronation coincides with Archie’s birthday, giving the former American actress an excuse to stay behind in the States. Bullen said that following the six-part Netflix docuseries detailing the couple’s decision to quit royal duties, the 41-year-old made the right decision to skip the celebrations.
Harry and the former "Suits" star, who is biracial, have alleged she faced racist attitudes from both the palace and the U.K. press. The treatment contributed to their decision to leave the country.
The revelations in "Spare″ include details of private conversations between Harry and his father, as well as with his brother Prince William. The bestselling book fanned tensions between Harry and his family that became public when he and his wife moved to North America in 2020.
The book also included allegations that members of the royal family regularly feed the press unflattering information about other members of the House of Windsor in exchange for positive coverage of themselves.
Following the publication of "Spare," the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed that they were asked to vacate their home in Britain. Frogmore Cottage, a royal residence on the grounds of Windsor Castle, was the couple’s main residence before they gave up royal duties and moved to the wealthy, coastal city of Montecito.
Bullen said Markle’s appearance would have only fueled the ongoing royal soap opera.
"It’s definitely better that Harry’s flying solo because it avoids any awkward moments with family members," Bullen explained. "It’s going to be tough enough. I don’t think [Prince] William and Harry will have any meaningful conversations. Harry’s made it pretty clear he intends to fly in and fly out and wants to be back that day for Archie’s birthday. So the opportunities for them to speak to each other will be very minimal. I don’t think Harry’s part of the procession. He’s unlikely to be on the balcony, so there’s going to be very little interaction. They’ll travel in different vehicles. So there are not many moments where they need to come together."
"But I think Meghan not coming makes it easier for everybody because it doesn’t become ‘The Meghan Show,’" Bullen continued. "And even if Meghan didn’t want it to be ‘The Meghan Show,’ she’s bright enough to realize that if she turns up, cameras will be trained on her to see how she’s reacting. Cameras will be trained on Kate [Middleton] to see how she’s looking at Meghan. How does Queen [Camilla] look at Meghan? Do the king and Meghan have any conversations? It all becomes about what happened with Meghan. So I think it’s a good thing she’s not coming."
Bullen said he isn’t surprised that Markle decided not to join her husband. He said that if "Meghan had been in the room, it would’ve been more difficult for everybody."
Still, he said, there’s a sense of "sadness" that the Duchess of Sussex won’t be there to support her father-in-law. It was Charles, he pointed out, who walked Markle down the aisle on her wedding day in 2018 when her father, former Hollywood lighting director Thomas Markle, couldn’t attend.
"If you look back to Harry and Meghan’s wedding, there was so much goodwill for them," said Bullen. "There was so much that they could have done for the monarchy. This would’ve been another moment that allowed us to see how good they could have been. I think it’s sad for everybody – for them, for the family, for the nation, for the Commonwealth. It’s sad that opportunity has been lost, and it will never be regained."
"I think there will be a sadness on everybody’s part, but at the same time, there’ll be relief that the story isn’t about her," Bullen continued. "… Lots of people hold her, and Harry, responsible for this family breakdown. They’ve taken a position that has been very difficult for them to come back from. And it’s been very difficult for the Windsors to step into. I know for a fact that the king and Harry have spoken. And I know for a fact that the king has done whatever he can to try and facilitate the rebuilding of a relationship. But the Sussexes have made their bed, and they’re lying in it very clearly."
Bullen continues to be hopeful that in time, Harry will mend his relationship with the king. Sources told him that the 74-year-old and his younger son, 38, have had positive conversations. And while the king was said to be deeply hurt by Harry’s claims in his memoir, he’s "pleased" that the prince will attend the coronation, even if the visit is brief.
And Markle, suspecting the kind of backlash she may receive by the British press for her appearance, thought better of it.
There is plenty of hurt to go around, said Bullen. However, the ongoing saga won’t end when the king is crowned.
"For years, we’ve been obsessed with big, powerful families," Bullen explained. "Whether it’s ‘Dallas,’ ‘Dynasty,’ ‘Succession,’ ‘Yellowstone’ – all those great shows have successful, powerful families at the heart of them. And this is what this is… And it’s real life. It’s better than anything you’re going to get in fiction."