Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (aka Meghan Markle), attended their first official royal event in more than two years on Friday: a National Service of Remembrance in honor of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Although Harry has returned to the UK for two official royal events in 2021 (his grandfather’s funeral and the unveiling of a statue of his mother), this is the first time Meghan has attended a public event with other members of the royal family since the couple left their life as working members in 2020 and moved to the United States.
The couple have since sparked controversy due to their hit interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which Meghan claimed the harassment she faced in her life as a royal led to anxiety and suicidal thoughts. She also said a high-ranking member of the Royal Family wondered what color she and Harry’s child would be.
Harry and Meghan’s content creation deals with Spotify and Netflix have also raised eyebrows among royals watchers. Harry revealed even more about his royal life and Meghan’s suffering in the 2021 documentary series The me you can’t see accusing his relatives of “total negligence” and alleging that the palace and the media were working together to smear him and his wife.
Their presence on Friday, however, was not as significant as a very significant absence – the Queen. Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday evening that the 96-year-old monarch would not attend the service after feeling “some discomfort” watching Trooping the Color and a ceremonial military parade from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
“Given the travel and activity required to participate in tomorrow’s national service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Her Majesty has concluded with great reluctance that she will not attend,” said Thursday the Palace in a press release.