Keeping it in the family. Meghan Markle is getting ready for son Archie‘s birthday next month, but she wants to keep the festivities simple.
“Meghan is planning something really low-key to celebrate Archie’s birthday,” an insider exclusively tells Us Weekly of the Duchess of Sussex, 41, who shares Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 22 months, with Prince Harry. “Since Harry won’t be able to attend, she just wants to do something intimate with family and a few very close friends.”
The Duke of Sussex, 38, is planning to travel to the United Kingdom for the coronation of his father, King Charles III, which takes place on Saturday, May 6 — the same day Archie turns 4. The former actress, meanwhile, will be staying home in California with the children.
While the Invictus Games founder won’t be present at his son’s festivities, the source notes that Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, will be in attendance. The Bench author, for her part, couldn’t be more excited for Archie’s big day.
“She can’t believe he’s turning 4 already,” the insider says of Meghan, adding that she’s not planning anything “over the top” for the party. “It feels like the years have flown by. She loves being a mom and can’t wait to celebrate her little boy’s special day.”
Earlier this month, Buckingham Palace announced that Harry would be in attendance as his father, 74, is officially crowned as king but noted that his wife would not be joining him. “Buckingham Palace is pleased to confirm that The Duke of Sussex will attend the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on May 6th,” read an April 12 statement from the palace. “The Duchess of Sussex will remain in California with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.”
An insider later told Us that Meghan was skipping the ceremony so she could celebrate with Archie. “As much as Meghan appreciates the invite to the coronation, she wouldn’t miss her son’s birthday for the world. Despite being the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan is a mom first,” the source explained. “She feels very grateful to be included in such a special occasion by the royal family and is glad that Harry can go and show support on behalf of their family. But being the same day as Archie’s birthday, unfortunately, she’s just going to have to miss out on this one.”
The king, meanwhile, is “sad” that his daughter-in-law won’t be present for the event. “Charles was hoping the coronation would be a chance to better connect and maintain healing between them,” a source told Us earlier this month.
Tensions between the Sussexes and the monarch have been high since the couple stepped down as senior working royals in 2020. The duo have since returned to the U.K. on a few occasions, but their relationship with the royal family has been complicated since the December 2022 premiere of their Netflix documentary, Harry & Meghan, and the January release of Harry’s memoir, Spare.
“Charles is distraught. He’s angry and outraged that Harry’s aired so many embarrassing and damaging assertions,” an insider told Us in January after Spare‘s publication. “There are so many egregious comments and revelations from Harry that his father doesn’t know where to start. He has hope that in time the dust will settle and Harry will soften his heart toward his family, at least he hopes so. But he’s not going to push or apologize.”
Before the palace confirmed that Harry and Meghan were invited to the coronation, the former helicopter pilot hinted that he wasn’t sure he wanted to attend.
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“There’s a lot that can happen between now and then,” the BetterUp CIO said during a January ITV interview. “But, you know, the door is always open. The ball is in their court. There’s a lot to be discussed and I really hope that they are willing to sit down and talk about it.”