Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kept a low profile during their recept trip to the U.K. to avoid stealing the limelight from Queen Elizabeth and her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, according to a royal expert.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex kept their public appearances minimal when they were in the U.K. last week with their son Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 1, for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams noted on Us Weekly’s “Royally Us” podcast that Prince Harry and Markle “weren’t visible” and that there was “nothing for the media to get their teeth into” regarding the couple during the four days of festivities.
Asked by host Christina Garibaldi if that was intentional on the Sussexes’ part “to make it so that they were not the headline,” Fitzwilliams suggested that Prince Harry and Markle may have worked with the royal family to avoid letting their return to the U.K. overshadow the Platinum Jubilee.
“I think all this had been worked out beforehand. This was about the Queen and a unique moment in history,” the royal expert said, before referring to Prince Harry and Markle as “royal outsiders.”
“No one wanted any trouble. They wanted the minimum amount of publicity. They wanted the publicity and the focus to be on the Queen and on the expertise of the various events and the rather extraordinary mix of things, from the parades to the big lunches. That’s what it was, and that was very, very well-handled,” he added.
Fitzwilliams noted that Prince Harry and Markle waited until the end of the Jubilee before releasing a rare photo of their daughter Lilibet, who turned 1 on June 4. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released the birthday snap only after returning to California.
“They did not and were never going to overshadow [the Platinum Jubilee], but there was so much written about them in the weeks which were leading up to it. But behind the scenes, it was made absolutely certain. They made certain that essentially they appear relatively fleetingly,” the royal commentator said.
Asked if there is truth to reports that the Sussexes met Prince Charles while in England, Fitzwilliams said that it was only assumed that they visited the Prince of Wales at his home but did not meet the Cambridges. He pointed out that a lot of planning had gone into the recent Jubilee, and “we really don’t know” which royals had met or video-called.
Prince Harry and Markle attended just two Jubilee events. They watched Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s annual birthday parade, from the Major General’s Office on June 2 and attended the Service of Thanksgiving in honor of the monarch at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where they were greeted with a mix of cheers and boos.
Royal biographer Christopher Andersen recently claimed in an interview with Us Weekly that Prince Harry and Markle attempted to “mend fences” with the royal family while in the U.K. but were unsuccessful.
“They went there hoping to mend fences and ran into a brick wall,” he claimed, adding that he “was personally surprised” that the pair were “excluded” from the balcony during Trooping the Colour. “I thought that there would be an opportunity for [Harry] to show up there to show the solidarity [and] the future of the monarchy. … I’m sure they expected to have a warmer welcome than what they received.”
It was reported that Prince Harry and Markle had extended an olive branch to Prince William and Kate Middleton, inviting them to their daughter Lilibet’s first birthday party, but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who had a royal engagement that day, declined their invitation.
“Things are still fraught — William is still wary of spending any time alone with Harry as you never quite know what may be reported back afterward,” an unnamed U.K.-based source told Page Six.