Prince Philip memorial: Expert discusses Harry absence
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were the only prominent members of the family to miss the thanksgiving service for the late Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday.
As many as 1,800 people gathered at the special congregation including the Queen, Prince Charles, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with George and Charlotte, even Prince Andrew attended, arriving with the Queen by car, despite recent controversies.
However, the Sussexes decided to miss the occasion because of safety concerns amid a row over security in the UK, and opted instead to stay at home in the US.
Royal expert Ingrid Seward told The Mirror she thinks the decision by the couple speaks volumes.
Ms Seward said: “What a missed opportunity it was not to bring Meghan and the children to join the extended royal family, European cousins and of course Archie’s contemporaries.
“The only explanation is that neither one of them wanted to go. There would have been no security problems. The whole Abbey was bristling with secret service men to guard the biggest gathering of royalty, politicians and top army brass since the London wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
“Harry must have known it would look petulant and rude. And if he did not Meghan would have.
She added: “If it was a pointed snub to the whole royal family and it went sour.
“He will not get another opportunity to pay his respects in public to the grandfather who always supported him.
“He has upset too many influential people too many times. It is something he will live to regret.”
She said the couple also opted out of releasing a statement or tribute to mark the day but the Queen “would have been told well in advance” of their decision not to attend as Harry keeps in “constant touch with his grandmother for many reasons”.
The royal expert said: “The wall of silence was as loud as if they had shouted from the abbey rafters. The normally verbose duke and duchess of Sussex said nothing.
“No spokesperson spewed out long sentences of undecipherable wordage. There were no flowers with the florists name proudly displayed.
“No comments from Archewell. Nothing. Not even a word from their supporters on various social media accounts.”
Prince Harry had, however, used his Archewell website to share a moving tribute to his grandfather after he died in April last year, describing him as “master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right “til the end”.
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Criticism of Harry and Meghan has been widespread over their absence from the service and the decision not to give a reason or explanation for not attending.
However, previously the prince has said he would not return home to the UK until the issues of security are resolved.
In January, Prince Harry’s team put out a statement that said: “While his role within the Institution has changed, his profile as a member of the royal family has not. Nor has the threat to him and his family.”
It went on to explain that Harry and his family are able to self-fund their own security – but are not able to do so in the UK, because of the Home Office’s ruling and “in absence of such protection” Prince Harry and his family “are unable to return home”.
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