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Meghan Markle Was ‘Damned’ Whether She Chose to Attend King Charles III’s Coronation or Not, Says Royal Expert (Exclusive)

A no-win situation. Meghan Markle’s decision not to attend King Charles III’s upcoming coronation left her open to scrutiny from the public — but she would’ve faced backlash either way.

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“She would’ve been damned if she did and damned if she didn’t,” Tessa Dunlop, author of Elizabeth & Philip: A Story of Young Love, Marriage and Monarchy, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, April 18.

Dunlop explained that Meghan, 41, was the “convenient” person for the public to “blame” amid the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s ongoing drama with the royal family. Prince Harry and his wife have been at odds with The Firm since stepping back as senior royals in 2020.

“There was this absolute kind of going for her. It [was] very unpleasant trolling and viciousness,” the author, 49, said of the cruel social media comments about Meghan, and at times, the British press’ controversial coverage of her. “I think what we’ve seen is at best — or at worst even — Meghan carried an ambivalence towards monarchy and really a total lack of understanding about what it was and how it worked.”

Meghan Markle Is Damned If She Did Damned If She Didnt With Coronation
Meghan Markle Shutterstock

The expert noted that the “narrative” that was created by Netflix’s 2022 Harry & Meghan docuseries and the prince’s memoir, Spare, was not entirely the Suits alum’s doing. In both projects, Harry, 38, spoke out against his family claiming they didn’t protect him and Meghan against public hate speech and racist remarks.

“Harry’s authored [their] history,” Dunlop claimed to Us, adding, “Meghan’s very much taken a backseat over the last few months. And Harry’s front footed [the narrative].”

She further alleged that Harry’s ups and downs with Charles, 74, and brother Prince William could have made it more likely for Meghan to pass on the upcoming coronation. (Buckingham Palace confirmed on Wednesday, April 12, that Harry would be in attendance for the king’s milestone event while Meghan would stay in the U.S. with their two children: Archie, 3, and Lili, 22 months.)

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“[Meghan’s] understandably, [like], ‘Harry, go on [with] this. It’s your family, it’s your stuff.’ And there’ll also be a bit of her that thinks, ‘Why the hell should I give that coronation my star quality?’” Dunlop told Us.

The Century Girls author added that the “Archetypes” podcast host and her husband are “greater” together then when they are apart, making her absence even more unfortunate.

“Together, they would’ve delivered a star power [that] we’re not gonna see. And that’s a loss,” Dunlop concluded. “That’s certainly a loss from our perspective as [royal watchers] who like talking about it.” She pointed out that the palace is a probably “a bit relieved.”

After news broke that Meghan was forgoing the royal event, which takes place on Saturday, May 6, she instantly received backlash from royal watchers and stars alike. Meghan McCain wrote in a Daily Mail op-ed published on Thursday, April 13, that the royal was “chickening out” and avoiding her in-laws.

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“This is a gallant effort at public-relations spin — invoking their child’s birthday party,” McCain, 38, wrote, referring to the coronation being held on Archie’s 4th birthday. The journalist claimed the duchess wouldn’t pass up a “chance to peacock in front of the world to blow up balloons and serve cake in the backyard.”

However, a source exclusively told Us at the time that the Archewell cofounder is “a mom first” and while she “appreciates the invite to the coronation, she wouldn’t miss her son’s birthday for the world.”

Charles, for his part, is “sad” that his daughter-in-law isn’t coming to the ceremony, an insider told Us on Thursday, but he’s “thrilled” to have his youngest child by his side.

Elizabeth & Philip: A Story of Young Love, Marriage and Monarchy is available for purchase now.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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