(LONDON) — King Charles III and his wife Camilla, the queen consort, will be the center of attention at their coronation on May 6.
Also undoubtedly in the spotlight at Westminster Abbey will be members of Charles and Camilla’s blended family, a first in British history.
“This is the first time that a divorced man and divorced woman have been crowned alongside each other in Britain,” said ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy. “So this is a first for two families coming together in this way for this ceremony.”
Charles and Camilla had two children each when they entered their marriage in 2005.
Charles is the father of Princes William and Harry, his children with the late Princess Diana.
Camilla is the mother of Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes, her children with ex-husband Andrew Parker Bowles.
All four of their children will attend the coronation, along with many of their combined 10 grandchildren, some of whom will take part in the service.
William’s eldest son Prince George will serve as a Page of Honor for Charles at the coronation.
Tom Parker Bowles’ son, Master Freddy Parker Bowles will join his cousins, Master Gus Lopes and Master Louis Lopes, the twin sons of Lopes, as Pages of Honor for Camilla.
“Camilla’s family are very much front and center at this event, and that is interesting as this is a state occasion and they are usually totally private,” said Murphy. “Camilla’s family being so involved and visible does send, I think, a message about just how important she is to Charles’ reign and very much reminds us that this is their coronation, not just his.”
Though the families of Charles and Camilla will be a united front on coronation day, they are not “especially close,” according to Murphy.
“Apart from at each other’s weddings, we have pretty much never seen them together in public and we are not aware, for example, that Camilla’s children have ever socialized with William and Harry,” she said. “However, Camilla’s granddaughter Eliza Lopes was a bridesmaid at William and Kate’s wedding, so that does signify an understanding of the significance of each other’s families, if not a specific closeness.”
Murphy noted that Camilla kept her own property after marrying Charles, and it is there that she often spends time alone with her children and grandchildren.
“I do think in some ways they keep things quite separate,” Murphy said. “As a couple, Charles and Camilla actually do enjoy time apart as well as together, and that’s one of the things that people have often cited as being what makes their relationship work.”
In recent years, Charles has faced a divide within his own family, one that spilled into public view in 2020 when Harry and his wife Meghan, the duchess of Sussex, stepped down from their senior working royal roles.
The coronation will be Harry’s first public interaction with William and Charles since the January release of his memoir Spare, in which he shared details of his ongoing tensions with his brother and father.
Murphy said the coronation will be an unlikely place for “meaningful family discussions,” even behind the scenes.
“I think that Charles will be very focused on the public-facing aspects of the role,” Murphy said. “However, I think it will mean a lot to him that both his sons are there and I’m sure there will be exchanges if not long conversations.”
Noting how far apart Harry and William appear to still be, Murphy added, “This will be a public show of unity between Harry and the family, but I think it’s clear that the brothers remain deeply divided.”
Neither Buckingham Palace nor Kensington Palace have commented on the claims made in Spare.
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