Prince Harry shared a joke with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as he walked into Westminster Abbey yesterday for the coronation of his father, King Charles III.
Expert lip reader Jacqui Press told MailOnline today she believes Harry said “good luck” as he walked past the archbishop, who then replied, “Thank you.”
Their light-hearted exchange came after Charles reportedly asked Mr Welby to make a deal to allow Harry to attend – but was met with resistance from Prince William.
Mr Welby has emerged as a key figure in easing tensions between the Sussexes and the Royal Family, having served as a trusted confidant to both sides.
However, there are also claims that Mr Welby was upset after Meghan told Oprah Winfrey in 2021 that he had secretly married them in their ‘back yard’ a few days before the wedding – something that was not true and would be illegal been.
Yesterday, Harry’s appearance at the coronation was his first public appearance away from the royals since he denounced his family in his controversial memoir Spare.
Harry also chatted to Jack Brooksbank and his wife Princess Eugenie – to whom he is very close, unlike many other members of the royal family – as they entered.
Harry could be seen saying “great, look, the bump” and using his hands to point at Eugenie’s baby bump. Mr Brooksbank then said ‘I know’ as he walked off.
Prince Harry spoke with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the Abbey yesterday
Harry shares a joke with the Archbishop of Canterbury as he walks past him yesterday
Justin Welby laughs as Harry walks past Westminster Abbey on his arrival yesterday
The reverse angle of Harry speaking to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby yesterday
He sat in the third row in the Abbey for the coronation of Charles and the Duke’s stepmother, the Queen, and was placed two rows behind his brother William.
How Justin Welby’s relationship with Harry and Meghan has grown
Justin Welby’s relationship with the Sussexes has deepened through a series of encounters since his first meeting with Meghan leading up to the wedding.
The world watched the Archbishop of Canterbury attend their wedding at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday, May 19, 2018.
The couple later revealed that he had also presided over a previous ceremony in which they claimed they had secretly “married.”
Meghan told Oprah Winfrey in her sensational 2021 interview, “We got married three days before our wedding. Nobody knows that, but we called the archbishop and we just said, ‘This thing, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us’.
“So the vows we made in our room are the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury.”
But the archbishop later clarified the claims, saying: ‘I had a number of private and pastoral meetings with the Duke and Duchess before the wedding. The legal wedding was on Saturday.’
In 2019, the Archbishop baptized the couple’s first child, Archie, in Windsor Castle’s private chapel. Two years later it emerged that Mr. Welby had withdrawn from attending the General Synod of the Church in York in order to act.
He has praised Meghan saying, “She is a person with a deep humanity and a deep concern for people, who tries to perform her role with every ounce of her being – and I think she is a remarkable person.”
In 2021, he expressed his condolences to Harry, telling the Financial Times that being part of the royal family was ‘life without parole’ and that the public expected them to be ‘superhuman’.
Last December Mr Welby was asked on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg if the Sussexes could ever reconcile with the royal family.
“I can’t really comment on it because I’m married to them and there’s a kind of pastoral intimacy,” he said. But he said reconciliation was possible, adding: “There is always a way forward, but it has to be at the right time.”
Harry chatted with his cousin Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi as he entered the church in the drizzling London rain yesterday.
He then walked past the Archbishop and shared a few words with him, before nodding and smiling at other guests as he followed Beatrice and Edoardo and walked alone through the nave of the abbey.
It is clear that Harry wore what he was asked to wear, which consisted of a dark morning suit and tie, his Afghanistan and Jubilee medals pinned to his suit jacket, and a Royal Victorian Order star and neck decoration.
During the service, as the congregation paid homage to the king, Harry, along with the other members of the royal family around him, were seen uttering the words: ‘God save King Charles. Long live King Charles. May the king live forever.’
But he returned to California after catching a British Airways flight from London Heathrow Airport within hours of the coronation ending.
His abrupt return to the US meant he did not appear on Buckingham Palace’s balcony for the day’s final, with Buckingham Palace previously confirming he had no formal role in the event.
Harry arrived at Los Angeles International Airport around 6:30 p.m. local time to reunite with his son on his birthday.
Archie turned four yesterday and spent the day with his mother, the Duchess of Sussex, at their home in the US.
British Airways flight attendants confirmed that Harry was on the flight, but said they were not allowed to discuss the details of his journey.
It follows reports in The Mail On Sunday on January 29 that senior sources close to Lambeth Palace quoted Charles as wanting Mr Welby to negotiate an agreement with his feuding sons that would allow Harry and Meghan to attend the ceremony in May.
There had been much speculation over whether the Sussexes would attend the high-profile event since they stepped down from royal duties – and especially since the publication of Harry’s tell-all memoir, Spare, which featured a series of wounding attacks on senior members of the royal family. Family.
The king is said to have believed the couple’s absence would be a greater distraction than their presence, so he was willing to make concessions to persuade them to attend.
But William would have been concerned that his brother would use the event to stage a “stunt” that would overshadow the event.
On April 12, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Harry would attend the coronation, but that Meghan would remain in California with the couple’s children, Archie and Lilibet.
Sources then indicated to the Daily Mail a day later that Harry had put off waiting for the invite because he was busy playing ‘transatlantic ping pong’ and was ‘preoccupied’ with where he should sit.
Harry also chatted with Jack Brooksbank and his wife Princess Eugenie as they entered
Harry was spotted outside Westminster Abbey yesterday with Justin Welby and Prince Andrew
The Duke of Sussex arrives at Westminster Abbey for the coronation yesterday
(From left) Princess Eugenie, Jack Brooksbank and Prince Harry at the coronation yesterday
Harry (centre, far right) stands at the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey yesterday
It was said to be one of the reasons he was so late in confirming his decision to attend.
Multiple sources confirmed to the Mail that there were “extensive discussions” between London and California over the matter.
Mr Welby was first asked to act as an intermediary between William and Harry shortly after the Queen’s death in September.
He was previously swept up in the queue around the Sussexes when Meghan claimed in a TV interview that he secretly married them before their official nuptials in 2018.
This forced Mr. Welby to clarify that the ceremony broadcast to the world was the legal marriage.
2018 – Prince Harry and Meghan Markle hold hands in front of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby during their wedding at St George’s Chapel, Windsor
2019 – Harry attends a mental health workshop at Lambeth Palace hosted by Justin Welby
2014 – Prince Harry with Kate Middleton and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at a ceremony in Belgium to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War
He was also forced to withdraw from the Church’s General Synod in July 2019 to baptize the couple’s son, Archie.
Despite the king’s silence on the allegations aired in Spare, royal insiders say he was “furious” about his son’s attacks on Queen Camilla, calling her “dangerous” and a “bad guy” in TV interviews to to promote his book.
The duke said, “She was the villain, a third person in the marriage, she had to restore her image.”
Harry also accused William of physically assaulting him and claimed that the palace planted negative stories about Meghan in the media.
Harry has called for a reconciliation with his family, but only if they apologize to him.