Why Prince William and Kate Middleton Were Late to King Charles' Coronation, More Bombshells: Book

Kate Middleton and Prince William.
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King Charles III’s historic coronation featured many behind-the-scenes moments that weren’t broadcast on TV — including the reason Prince William and Princess Kate Middleton were late.

Charles, 75, was sworn in as the king of England in May 2023, eight months after assuming the throne following his mother Queen Elizabeth II’s death at the age of 96. He arrived at London’s Westminster Abbey alongside his wife, Queen Camilla, in a gilded carriage, which was supposed to follow his son William, 41.

According to Robert Hardman’s new biography The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy, Charles and Camilla, 76, were early for their coronation and had no idea that William and Kate, 42, were running behind schedule. The Prince and Princess of Wales were slated to arrive at the cathedral alongside their youngest children, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, eight minutes before Charles and Camilla.

Certain palace insiders suggested to Hardman that William and Kate ran late after deciding to make a Coronation Day video, which added “precious seconds” to their schedule. Others, meanwhile, suggested that the king was early and thus William and Kate’s car was stuck behind his procession. There was reportedly an “awkward” scene outside, unbeknownst to coronation attendees, about whether Charles and Camilla should enter Westminster or wait for William and Kate.

A last-minute “frantic rewiring” of the procession meant that Charles and Camilla would enter first with William, Kate, Charlotte and Louis following behind. (William and Kate’s eldest son, 10-year-old Prince George, was a page for Charles, who was tasked with holding onto his grandfather’s robe during his entrance and the rest of the ceremony.)

Once the coronation proceedings began, Hardman further reported that William was particularly moved by the pomp and circumstance.

“He was very, very struck by what he called the ‘solemnity’ of the anointing. That really brought home the uniqueness of this,” Hardman wrote, referring to the part of the service that was shielded from public view. “It was the fact that he couldn’t actually see that moment and nor could anyone else except the Archbishop. He will want to preserve that.”

Why Prince William and Kate Middleton Were Late to King Charles' Coronation, More Bombshells: Book
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According to Hardman, William was insistent that his in-laws — Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, and her siblings, James and Pippa Middleton— receive invitations. It was apparently a “direct request” from William.

William’s brother, Prince Harry, also attended Charles’ big day despite being estranged from his immediate family. Harry, 39, attended solo as his wife, Meghan Markle, remained in California with their two kids. He sat in the third row next to cousins Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, and directly behind his aunt Princess Anne. Anne, 73, wore a red-plumed bicorn hat throughout the ceremony, leading social media users to speculate that it was an intentional snub at Harry and his family drama.

Why Prince William and Kate Middleton Were Late to King Charles' Coronation, More Bombshells: Book
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According to Hardman, Anne asked if she should remain wearing her “decedent sized-hat” for the entire service and was instructed to leave it on for the duration. She stressed that it was not her decision.

The coronation concluded with the senior royals, and all three Wales children, waving to the public from the balcony at Buckingham Palace. Once the public duties were done, they enjoyed an intimate afterparty.

Related: See the Royal Family’s Photos at King Charles’ Coronation

A family affair! King Charles III received an outpouring of support from his royal relatives — including all three of his siblings — during his coronation on Saturday, May 6. Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, all made their arrivals at Westminster Abbey ahead of the king on Saturday. While Anne, 74, and Edward, 59, […]

“We went into the vestry [at St Edward’s Chapel] and then it became a bit of a party,” Camilla’s sister Annabel Elliot told Hardman in the biography. ‘We were there for about fifteen minutes, and it did feel like a wedding. Everyone felt so happy.”

The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy is available now.