Despite Prince Harry going to King Charles’ coronation on May 6, his appearance will do little to ease the tension with his brother, an insider tells PEOPLE exclusively
The relationship between brothers Prince Harry and Prince William remains tense as the two are set to reunite at the coronation of King Charles.
Although Buckingham Palace announced last week that the Duke of Sussex will attend his father’s crowning ceremony on May 6, the rift between him and the rest of the royal family remains — evidenced by Prince Harry not seeing King Charles or Prince William during his surprise visit to London last month.
“Things are strained,” a palace insider tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s cover story.
There has been no communication between Prince Harry, 38, and Prince William, 40, in the lead-up to their father’s coronation, and an insider says Harry’s participation in the historic event will do little to ease tensions.
“I don’t think the coronation and a big conversation can be conflated,” says an insider.
Related:Why Prince Harry Is Going to the Coronation Without Meghan Markle: ‘It’s Become So Personal’
In his memoir Spare, released early this year, Prince Harry revealed some of the reasons that drove him and Prince William apart. Harry claimed that a 2019 confrontation over his relationship with Meghan Markle turned physically violent.
Harry said the disagreement started when William called Meghan “difficult,” “rude” and “abrasive,” to which Harry replied that his brother was simply “parrot[ing of] the press narrative” about his wife.
“He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor. I landed on the dog’s bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out,” Prince Harry wrote.
In an interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby surrounding the book’s release in January, Prince Harry said that he hoped to talk through the issues with his family before the coronation.
“There’s a lot that can happen between now and then. But the door is always open. The ball is in their court,” he said. “There’s a lot to be discussed, and I really hope that they’re willing to sit down and talk about it.”
Related:King Charles’ Coronation Program Includes a Family Photo Featuring Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex received an email about the royal event from King Charles’ office, it became clear that the “sit-down” Harry sought wasn’t going to happen, a close friend tells PEOPLE.
“They didn’t hear from Charles. Harry wanted to hear from his father directly — it’s always through somebody,” the friend says.
However, the estranged father and son ultimately connected — although not in person — and had “positive conversations,” a source says.
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“Despite the wounds, it’s his son, and I can’t imagine he wouldn’t want him to be there regardless of the hurtful things that have been said,” royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith adds.
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