Royally snubbed? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s return to the U.K. for Queen Elizabeth II‘s Platinum Jubilee may not have gone how they hoped, according to royal expert Christopher Andersen.
The royal festivities kicked off on Thursday, June 2, with the Trooping the Colour parade in London and “went off without a hitch,” Andersen exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, June 7, calling the weekend “a glorious celebration of the queen as a person and of the monarchy.”
However, the Brothers and Wives: Inside the Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan author claimed that any attempts made by the Sussexes to “mend fences” with other members of the royal family following their step down from senior duties were unsuccessful. Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, had not attended an official royal event together since the Commonwealth Day Service in March 2020.
From Andersen’s point of view, palace officials “sidelined” the former military pilot and the Suits alum during the 96-year-old monarch’s birthday parade. Instead of watching the procession from the Buckingham Palace balcony along with Harry’s grandmother, the twosome viewed the event from the Major General’s Office. A spokesperson told Us in May that the balcony was reserved for “those members of the Royal Family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of the Queen,” such as Prince William and Duchess Kate.
Harry and Meghan went on to celebrate the queen during her Service of Thanksgiving on Friday, June 3, which the royal matriarch herself did not attend due to “discomfort.” Inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Archewell cofounders did not sit beside William, 39, and Kate, 40.
“Senior members of the royal family were seated in the front row and non-senior members in the second row,” a source later told Us of the seating arrangement, which was decided upon by the palace in order “to avoid any unwanted attention” on the two couples.
Before traveling across the pond, Andersen told Us Harry and Meghan likely felt “hopeful” about making strides in their relationships with other royal family members. “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.”
Tensions have been high between Harry, Meghan and other senior royals following the duo’s choice to leave their positions within the palace. In March 2021, the duke and duchess detailed the reasons for their step back, claiming during a CBS tell-all interview that racism and a lack of support contributed to the decision. Harry continued to open up about his upbringing during a handful of podcast appearances, hinting that he wanted to raise son Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 12, differently than Prince Charles raised him and William.
Though the rift may not have been fully healed during the Jubilee, the Bench author and her husband were happy to have one-on-one time with the queen, who finally met great-granddaughter Lilibet on her 1st birthday. The family time “added some light” to the weekend, a source told Us, adding “[Elizabeth] thinks they’re adorable and gave Lili and Archie gifts.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi