Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may have hoped to join the royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony at least once during Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee last week, a royal expert has suggested.
Royal biographer Christopher Andersen discussed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s recent trip to the U.K. for the four-day celebration to mark the 96-year-old monarch’s 70-year reign.
“I’m sure that they expected to have a warmer welcome than what they received, and I think they would have expected to be included in at least one of the balcony appearances. One of the two — the second one,” the “Brothers and Wives: Inside the Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan” author told hosts Christine Ross and Christina Garibaldi on Us Weekly’s “Royally Us” podcast.
Prince Harry and Markle were excluded from the lineup of royals who appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Trooping the Colour parade on June 2 because they are no longer senior working members of the royal family.
Although extended members of the royal family usually gather on the palace balcony to watch a flypast, this year’s balcony appearance was limited to Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince William, Kate Middleton and their three children — Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4. The palace announced the change in tradition last month.
Prince Harry and the former “Suits” star instead joined extended members of the royal family in viewing the Horse Guards Parade from the Major General’s Office that day.
The Sussexes last participated in the royals’ Trooping the Colour carriage ride and balcony appearance in 2019, months before announcing their decision to step back as working royals, People reported.
The Queen made another surprise appearance on the palace balcony on June 5 during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, which closed out the four days of festivities. She was joined once more by Prince Charles, Duchess Camilla, Prince William, Duchess Kate and their three kids.
By the time the royal family made their second balcony appearance, Prince Harry and Markle were already on their way home to California with their two children, Archie and Lilibet, 1, according to reports.
Royal expert Neil Sean weighed in on the couple’s decision to leave England before the Platinum Jubilee wrapped up, suggesting that it was likely because they had no other event to participate in.
“I kind of think the bottom line was this — Harry and Meghan … they’d done their duty. They weren’t really wanting to go to anything else. There was nothing else left for them to … participate in,” Sean said on his YouTube channel.
“They could have attended the ‘Party in the Palace’ [concert] and the brilliant Pageant,” he continued. “But they couldn’t really sit in the royal box, which just seemed, in some cases, I think, a little bit of curt. But of course, that is royal protocol, so they decided, ‘Well, no more for us then, might as well return home.'”
An unnamed source told People that Prince Harry and Markle had always planned to keep a low profile during the Jubilee festivities as their trip was focused on the Queen.
“They aren’t part of the [working] royal family anymore, and that’s a decision they have taken — but maybe [the public] hasn’t quite accepted that yet,” the source said. “Yes, they were low-key. They paid their respects and went home.”
The insider added, “They were really here to see the Queen, and they did.”