Duchess of Sussex ‘uninvited’ to reception at Buckingham

The couple received an invitation to the grand event for world leaders and foreign royals earlier this week but are thought unlikely to attend after palace officials insisted it was for working members of the Royal family only.

The confusion over the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s attendance follows similarly mixed messaging over Prince Harry’s right to wear military uniform this week.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex appear to have been uninvited to a state reception hosted by the King and Queen at Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening.

It remained unclear on Friday night why they had received an invitation for an occasion that Royal aides insisted they were not expected to attend.

Sources close to them appeared baffled, while palace aides continued to insist that they were not invited and were not expected to show up.

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Joe Biden, the US president, and Emmanuel Macron, the French president, will be among hundreds of heads of state who will be welcomed to London on the eve of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

Presidents and prime ministers from across the globe will arrive in the capital throughout the weekend alongside foreign royals, governors-general and ambassadors.

As dusk falls on Sunday, they will be driven into the gates of Buckingham Palace before rubbing shoulders in the picture gallery and state apartments.

Despite the grandeur of their surroundings, the reception will be a muted affair, with guests asked to wear lounge suits or morning dress, with no hats or decorations.

Guests will be greeted by Royals including the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Drinks and canapes will be served.

Invitees include ambassadors from North Korea and Iran as well as Empress Masako of Japan, who will accompany Emperor Naruhito, despite largely retreating from public view two decades ago.

It hints at a lack of communication between the London and California-based branches of the family as well as a lack of certainty over how exactly to deal with Harry and Meghan as grieving members of the Queen’s family.

It emerged on Friday that the King had given his personal permission for the Duke to wear uniform when he mounts a vigil at his grandmother’s coffin on Saturday evening.

Prince Harry will form a guard of honour in Westminster Hall alongside all seven of his cousins, from the eldest, Peter Phillips, 43, to the youngest, James, Viscount Severn, 14.

The Prince of Wales will stand at the head of the coffin and his brother at the foot.

“At the King’s request, they will both be in uniform,” a palace source said.

The other grandchildren will be in morning coats and dark formal dresses with decorations.

Prince William, 40, will be flanked by Zara Tindall, 41, and her brother Mr Phillips.

Prince Harry, 38, will be flanked by Princess Beatrice, 34, and Princess Eugenie, 32, with Lady Louise Windsor, 18, and her brother the Viscount at the middle of the coffin.

“The grandchildren, at the King’s invitation, are very keen to pay their respects – just as their parents are doing the evening before,” the source added.

The various spouses, including the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Sussex, will not attend.

It was announced earlier this week that Prince Harry, who served for ten years in the Army and did two tours of Afghanistan, would be denied the right to wear uniform at all ceremonial events during the mourning period.

His spokesman said he would “wear a morning suit throughout events honouring his grandmother”, insisting that his decade of military service “was not determined by the uniform he wears”.

The U-turn is said to have been made after questions were raised about the special dispensation given to Prince Andrew, who was permitted to wear the military dress uniform of a Vice Admiral of the Navy, the only military rank which he still holds, at a vigil mounted alongside his siblings on Friday night.

Palace officials also intervened on his behalf.

A source close to Prince Harry said the decision was made without his intervention and that he was prepared to wear whatever his grandmother had made plans for.

One Royal source has been quoted as saying: “Common sense has prevailed.

“It was a ludicrous situation given the Duke of Sussex has served his country and is a highly respected member of the armed forces with everything he has done for veterans.

“It is important that the Queen’s grandchildren are all made to feel welcome and comfortable as they grieve their beloved grandmother together.”

At the state funeral on Monday, both Prince Andrew and Prince Harry will be in morning dress.

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