Harry and Meghan stay out of sight at Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee

Harry and Meghan stay out of sight at Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee

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LONDON ― Would they show themselves or not? The biggest suspense ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations on Thursday was whether runaway royals Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex would appear.

Buckingham Palace had said it would only be “working royals” and some of their children for the big moment on the balcony with the Queen. That would rule out Harry and Meghan, who stepped down from their royal responsibilities in 2020 and moved to California, shaking the foundations of the family institution. But still, rumors swirled until the last moment that the queen might make an exception.

In the end, it was a no – at least for Thursday’s big event, the “Trooping the Colour” military parade. Harry and Meghan weren’t on the balcony in the sun with the Queen to watch the dazzling Royal Air Force flyby.

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Nevertheless, keen observers spotted Meghan, wearing a wide-brimmed white hat, in a window above the parade route. Royal commentator and biographer Omid Scobie tweeted that Meghan and Harry were pictured talking with the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, and having a playful chat with some of the Queen’s great-grandchildren.

They are expected to be more visible on Friday and attend a service of thanksgiving with the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, as part of the ongoing celebrations.

British media have reported that they may also manage to get the Queen away from her beloved horse races on Saturday, so she can join a birthday party for their daughter, the great-granddaughter of the queen, Lilibet.

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Prince Andrew was also conspicuously absent on Thursday.

The Queen’s third child (and reportedly her favourite) was not among her siblings Charles and Anne as they took part in the pomp and pageantry on horseback on Thursday morning with some 1,400 guards. Nor was he in the royal carriages, which included his younger brother Edward.

Andrew’s banishment from frontline royal life comes after he settled a sex abuse lawsuit this year, linked to his friendship with disgraced US financier and convicted abuser Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew wasn’t supposed to be here on Thursday. But he also announced a last-minute excuse for Friday’s church service. Buckingham Palace said he had tested positive for coronavirus.

“Following a routine test, the Duke has tested positive for covid and, with regret, will no longer attend tomorrow’s service,” a palace spokesperson said on Thursday afternoon.

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Andrew participated in the last Trooping the Color, in June 2019, as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards Regiment. It’s an honorary post he accepted after his father, Prince Philip, retired from royal duties in 2017.

But the Queen stripped Andrew of his honorary military titles in January and is now Colonel of the Regiment herself, bringing the title full circle. She was first appointed to this position in 1942, and she performed this role on her first Trooping the Colour.

Mashup of Queen Elizabeth II on her balcony over the years (Video: The Washington Post)

Harry and Meghan don’t seem to face the same type of exile as Andrew. But they repeatedly ruffled the royal feathers.

They gave an explosive interview to TV host Oprah Winfrey in 2021, detailing their experiences of royal life, including allegations of racism in the family.

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Both have spoken publicly about the media scrutiny they faced in Britain, with Harry sometimes comparing the stalking to that suffered by his late mother, Princess Diana.

Harry and Meghan have continued to be involved in global charities and business ventures. Meghan traveled to Uvalde, Texas last month to pay tribute to the victims of the school shooting. Harry was in Britain last year for the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip.

William Booth and Marisa Bellack contributed to this report.

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