Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not attend event honoring Princess Diana

Other family and friend, including Sir Elton John, are expected to attend.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not travel overseas for an upcoming event celebrating the life of Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana.

In July, a statue of Diana was unveiled on what would have been the Princess of Wales’ 60th birthday; Harry’s older brother Prince William will attend an Oct. 19 private reception for donors who funded it. PEOPLE confirmed that neither Harry and Meghan, who moved their family to California last year after stepping down as senior members of the royal family, will be returning to the United Kingdom for the Kensington Palace event this month.

“Due to COVID-19 restrictions, July’s statue unveiling was a scaled-down affair attended only by close family members of Princess Diana (including her brother, Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, and her sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Jane Fellowes, Baroness Fellowes), statue committee members, the statue’s sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and Pip Morrison, the designer of the Sunken Garden,” reported the publication.

Although Harry returned to London for the statue’s debut, Markle, who gave birth to their daughter Lilibet Diana in June, was not able to accompany him on that trip or to his grandfather Prince Philip‘s funeral in April. 

Prince Harry Meghan Markle
(Credit: Getty Images)

“Today, on what would have been our Mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character — qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better,” read a joint statement issued by the two princes at the time.

Meghan Harry Netflix deal royals
Meghan and Harry at the Endeavor Fund Awards in February 2020. (Photo by Paul Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The statement continued, “Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy.”

Despite not being able to attend this most recent celebration in person, Harry privately reached out to donors to thank them.

While his relationship with his family may be strained at the moment, Harry is using his newfound freedom as an opportunity to write what his publisher is calling an “intimate and heartfelt memoir.”

Random House expects to release the still-untitled book in late 2022.

“I’m writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become,” the Duke of Sussex said in a statement in July. “I’ve worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story — the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned — I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think. I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.”

Prince Harry will donate proceeds from the book to charity, according to Random House.

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