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Prince Harry skipped the “society wedding of the year” when his longtime friend, Hugh Grosvenor, got married in England over the weekend. An expert says why he RSVP’d no wasn’t perhaps solely because Prince William was there, which would’ve made for an “awkward” encounter. The Duke of Sussex, 39, also likely didn’t want the spotlight to inevitably shift to him, had he attended. 

William’s usher role at Grosvenor’s wedding would’ve made it ‘awkward’ had Harry been there

Ahead of the June 7, 2024, ceremony at Chester, England’s namesake cathedral, royal expert and author Katie Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight that had Harry and his brother, the Prince of Wales, both been there to witness Grosvenor, 33, marry Olivia Henson, 31—now the Duke and Duchess of Westminster—it would’ve simply been too “awkward.” 

“Harry very diplomatically declined the invite, because he knew it would just be too awkward for him to be even in a venue as large as Chester Cathedral with his brother,” Nicholl said. (The cathedral is small compared to other royal wedding venues, with seating for approximately 500.)

Meanwhile, Grosvenor was likely “in a very difficult position when it came to invitations and, of course, seating plans and everything else.” 

A major contributing factor to Harry skipping Grosvenor’s wedding, she said, would’ve been William’s official role as usher. Meaning he’d escort some of the 400 guests to their seats, potentially even Harry and Meghan Markle, 42, had they shown up. 

“Part of that role will be to show other guests to their seats, so you can only imagine how awkward it would be if Harry and Meghan turned up, and it was William showing them to their seats,” Nicholl said. 

“But he won’t have to come into any awkward encounters. He’ll know many of the people there—William’s going to feel very much at home and will, I’m sure, consider it a great honor to be asked to be an usher. It is a privilege.” 

Grosvenor is godfather to not only William’s oldest child, Prince George, 10, but also the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, 5-year-old Prince Archie, with the former reportedly selected as a pageboy. 

Harry likely didn’t want to overshadow Olivia Henson and Hugh Grosvenor on their wedding day

Hugh Grosvenor and Olivia Henson at their June 2024 wedding, which Prince William attended and Prince Harry didn't, wave
Hugh Grosvenor and Olivia Henson | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Now for what also may have potentially played a role in Harry’s decision to skip his longtime friend’s wedding. 

According to Nicholl, had the father of two gone to the wedding, he would’ve known that the spotlight would’ve been on him—and how did or didn’t interact with William—rather than the bride and groom. 

That, she explained to the outlet, would’ve been something Harry nor Grosvenor would’ve wanted. 

“I think the thing with Harry turning up is, it’s always going to generate headlines, and therefore risk overshadowing whatever it is that he’s attending,” Nicholl said. “I suspect if you’re the groom and you’ve got this huge society wedding, that’s probably not what you want.”

So, Harry and the groom, as previously reported, came to an “understanding” that it’d be better, or at least less complicated if he didn’t attend the wedding. 

Harry’s relationship with Prince William and Kate Middleton is still ‘at an all-time low’

This may come as no surprise to royal watchers, but William and Harry’s relationship is in exactly the same place as it’s been for a while. The two are still at odds, not talking as they carry on with their lives in England and California, respectively. 

Meaning, no conversations as Kate Middleton, 42, continues preventative chemotherapy after announcing her cancer diagnosis in March, and no phone calls or texts about their father, King Charles III, who’s been back to public duties since late April after announcing his own cancer diagnosis. 

“Relations between the Sussexes and the Wales remains [sic] at an all-time low,” Nicholl said. “I’m told that William and Harry really are not even on speaking terms.”

The New Royals author noted Harry’s “relationship with his sister-in-law [Kate] also remains strained.” 

“I don’t believe that there has been much contact, if any at all,” between Harry and Kate as well as the brothers.