The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not attend a party to thank donors who helped fund the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, that was unveiled on what would have been her 60th birthday.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s absence from the event at Kensington Palace was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Sussexes.
The party, which was initially set to take place on 1 July and is now being held on 19 October, will see about 100 of Diana’s friends, former staff and Spencer relatives joining the Duke of Cambridge in celebrating the memorial statue.
Harry flew to England from his home in California to unveil the statue of his mother alongside Prince William in July while Meghan, who had given birth to the couple’s daughter four weeks prior, stayed behind.
The unveiling of the statue was an intimate affair due to the pandemic, with only William and Harry uncovering the monument in front of their mother’s siblings, Earl Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.
The date marked what would have been the 60th birthday of the Princess of Wales, who died at the age of 36 in August 1997.
Despite reports of a “strained” relationship between William and Harry, the brothers were photographed standing next to one another and laughing with each other. Harry flew home the following day.
The memorial party will be attended by Sir Elton John, among other friends of Diana.
It is not known why the Sussexes will not be attending the event, or whether they will return to Britain in the future. Meghan was last in the UK in March 2020, when she attended a Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey.
The couple’s son, Archie Mountbatten Windsor, has not been back in the UK since the end of 2019, and their daughter Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor has yet to meet any of the other members of the royal family in person.
Harry is also not expected to travel to Britain for Remembrance Sunday on 14 November, as he is scheduled to be in New York on 10 November to present the inaugural Intrepid Valor Awards to veterans and military families there.