Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not fly back to UK for party to honour Princess Diana
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be flying into Britain to attend a party to honour Diana, Princess of Wales, The Telegraph can confirm.
The Sussexes and their children, Archie and Lili, will not be at the celebration, which will see 100 guests gather at Kensington Palace.
Friends of the late Princess, including Sir Elton John, are said to be attending the event with the Duke of Cambridge. It is intended to thank donors who helped fund the statue of Diana unveiled in the summer on what would have been her 60th birthday.
The guest list is expected to include Diana’s friends, former staff and relatives on the Spencer side of the family.
Events had to be drastically downscaled due to the Covid pandemic, with the party postponed and the statue unveiling taking place in front of a small number of her closest circle.
Then, Prince William and Prince Harry made a brief appearance together in front of the cameras in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, joined by the Princess’s siblings Earl Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.
A week on Tuesday, the original party will go ahead to thank donors who helped to fund the 60th birthday memorial. The donors include Sir Elton and David Furnish.
The Sun had reported that palace aides are “braced for Prince Harry to make a surprise return to the UK with Meghan” for the celebration, with Covid restrictions on travel from the United States being lifted.
A spokeswoman for the Sussexes confirmed on Saturday that the Duke would not be in attendance. It is not known whether the Duke and Duchess will travel back to Britain at all this year, as the couple focus on building their Archewell Foundation, Spotify podcast and Netflix documentaries in the US.
Prince Harry is unlikely to come to the UK for Remembrance Day as he is scheduled to spend Nov 10 in New York, presenting the inaugural “Intrepid Valor Awards” to veterans and military families “living with the invisible wounds of war”.
The Duchess was last in Britain for the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in March last year. It was the conclusion to the couple’s week-long “farewell tour” after they announced that they would be stepping down as working royals to pursue financial freedom overseas.
Archie Mountbatten-Windsor is not known to have been in the UK since the family of three left in the autumn of 2019, and his younger sister Lili has not yet been seen in public.
The Duke returned to his home country for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh and the unveiling of his mother’s statue in July, also making an appearance at the Wellchild Awards.
The statue, by artist Ian Rank-Broadley, shows the late Princess surrounded by children, representing “a period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes”.