The missing guests at Harry's Invictus service in London

Competitors past and present will be at St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday, but there are notable absences from the RSVP list, ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reports

It will be a very lonely Prince Harry who will arrive at St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday to mark the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games tournament that he founded a decade ago.

It’s a stark contrast to 2014 when, accompanied by his father and step-mother - now King Charles and Queen Camilla - and his brother Prince William, Harry launched the very first Invictus for injured and sick military personnel and veterans.

Since then, the tournament has been held in cities across the world from Sydney to Toronto to Düsseldorf and grown in size to include hundreds more competitors from many more countries.

It’s been an undoubted success and I’ve witnessed first-hand how it’s turned around the lives of many military veterans who carry both physical and mental scars from the combat operations they’ve been in.

Some have even shared with us how they might no be here today if it had not been for Invictus.

Competitors past and present will be at St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday, along with the actor Damien Lewis.

But this event will be just as notable for who isn’t here, rather than simply who is.

Firstly, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

She has decided to steer clear of the UK and will not attend the service of thanksgiving at all.

It’s not that she is reluctant to travel as a mum of two young children because she is joining Harry for a joint visit to Nigeria later this week.

In fact, she may well have to pass through the UK to meet up with Harry and start the Nigeria trip together.

But given everything that she and Harry have said about his family - on Netflix, to Oprah Winfrey and in his book Spare – she has decided not to make any public appearances in the UK.

The last time Harry and Meghan were together at St Paul’s, in 2022 for the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, they were both cheered and booed when they arrived.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebrations at St Paul's Cathedral. Credit: PA

But in a few days’ time, in Nigeria, the Duke and Duchess will land in the Nigerian capital Abuja after having been invited by the government.

Meghan recently revealed she has Nigerian ancestry.

In fact, she said on one of her podcasts that a test she took showed she was 43% Nigerian.

So, later this week, both Harry and Meghan are likely to be given a huge welcome in Nigeria -a Commonwealth country that even the King has been unable to visit since he became Monarch.

The other significant absentees at St Paul’s on Wednesday are members of Harry’s family.

Ten years ago, at the very first Invictus Games, the Royal Family attended the events and helped Harry to launch his project that was still in its infancy.

Prince William, Camilla, Prince Charles and Prince Harry at the 2014 opening ceremony of the Invictus Games. Credit: PA

But the non-attendance of any Royals isn’t really a surprise given everything that has happened in the last few years.

What was more of a surprise this week, was the statement from Harry’s office telling the world that his father is too busy to meet him.

The carefully worded statement stated that Harry is “understanding of his father’s diary of commitments” but it simultaneously revealed that, even at a time when the King is being treated for cancer, he and Harry can’t see each other during his short stay in the UK.

Buckingham Palace has refused to engage with any questions about Harry’s statement.

Nor will Harry see his brother, Prince William, and sister-in-law, Kate, even though she revealed her own cancer diagnosis before Easter.

Not for the first time, a visit by the Duke of Sussex to his country of birth, is laying bare the depth of the rift between him and his family.

This is the Royal Rota - our weekly podcast about the royal family, with ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship and Producer Lizzie Robinson.