Meghan Markle and Harry’s absence is ‘telling’ says expert
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Her Majesty’s updated header photo on Twitter shows her standing on the Buckingham Palace balcony on the final day of Platinum Jubilee celebrations, surrounded by Prince Charles and Camilla as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their three children.
There’s no image of Prince Andrew nor the Sussexes, which could be viewed as a message to the public of what the future of the British monarchy is to look like.
Prince Harry and Meghan, who left the United Kingdom two years ago as they gave up their roles as senior working royals for a life away from the spotlight in the United States, last Friday attended their first royal engagement since then.
The couple’s arrival at St Paul’s Cathedral for the Platinum Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving was highly anticipated by observers eager to witness them finally again in action.
But their appearance doesn’t mean all is back to how it used to be before they left. The Queen wasn’t in attendance after suffering ‘mild discomfort’ on the first day of the Jubilee after a short balcony appearance.
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At the cathedral, Harry and Meghan sat on the opposite side of the aisle to the Cambridges, an arrangement that served as yet another reminder that their roles within the Firm differ greatly.
The Sussexes arrived minutes before Prince William and Kate.
Charles and Camilla followed but, once seated, they too stayed separate from the Sussexes.
Meghan and Harry, who stayed at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor with their two young children, sat alongside Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank, also non-working royals, on one side.
The pair visited the US-based royals in California back in February.
On the other side was Lady Sarah Chatto – the daughter of Princess Margaret and the Queen’s niece.
While in the UK, the duke and the duchess kept a low profile. Yet, as Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, climbed the steps of the cathedral while smiling and waving at onlookers, the crowds cheered and booed.
It was an unsurprisingly mixed reaction from the public, though it does raise the question of just how well-received the two are in Britain.
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The couple was not present at the balcony on Sunday, and neither was the Duke of York, who tested positive for coronavirus a day before the Jubilee started.
This was an arrangement shared ahead of celebrations, with Buckingham Palace saying the Queen had decided appearances on the balcony would be limited to “members of the Royal Family who are currently undertaking official public duties” and their children – which effectively ruled out Harry, Meghan and Andrew.
Though the decision, followed by tough years of scandals, is thought not to have been an easy one for the monarch, she seemed anything but concerned during the appearances she was able to make.
In a message released by Buckingham Palace on Saturday evening, she said she had been “humbled and deeply touched” by all the people who had come together both at events in London and elsewhere across the country to mark her 70 years on the throne.
The message read: “When it comes to how to mark seventy years as your Queen, there is no guidebook to follow. It really is a first. But I have been humbled and deeply touched that so many people have taken to the streets to celebrate my Platinum Jubilee.
“While I may not have attended every event in person, my heart has been with you all; and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family.”
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