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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry did not interact with Prince William and Kate Middleton during their brief time together across the pond. And there is a reason.
“It was supposed to be all about the Queen, and it didn’t give people the chance to speculate about their relationship,” a royal insider told People magazine in this week’s issue.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their first family trip to the UK since stepping down as senior members of the British Royal Family and moving to the US in 2020. The couple returned for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, which marked her 70 years on the throne.
Last Friday, the royal family attended a service of thanksgiving in honor of the reigning monarch, 96, at St Paul’s Cathedral. Harry, 37, and Markle, 40, came ahead of William, 39, and Middleton, 40. It was the first time they had appeared together in public in over two years.
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Royal watchers noted that when William and Middleton made their way to their front row seats, there was no eye contact between the couple. Even Prince Charles was seen looking away as he walked past the row where Harry and Markle were seated. The couples were also seated separately from each other.
While many members of the royal family made their way to the reception in the Guildhall after the service, Markle and Harry did not attend lunch. On Saturday, they also skipped the ‘Platinum Party At the Palace’ and opted to quietly celebrate their daughter Lilibet’s first birthday at Frogmore Cottage instead.
Shortly after, Harry and Markle, along with their two children, quickly returned home to California.
On June 2, the couple saw the Trooping the Color from the Major General’s office. As they are no longer members of the royal family, they were not invited to appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with William and Middleton. Nor did they participate in a carriage procession.
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Markle, a former American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married the British prince in May 2018 at Windsor Castle. The couple welcomed a son named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in 2019.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departures from royal duties began with what they described as British media’s intrusions and racist attitudes towards the former ‘Suits’ star. The family now lives in the coastal town of Montecito, California.
After stepping down from royal duties, they gave an explosive TV interview to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, in which the couple described an unidentified royal’s painful comments about how dark Archie’s skin was before he was born. The Duchess spoke of the intense isolation she felt within the royal family which led her to consider suicide. At one point, Harry said his father Charles, 73, had stopped taking his calls.
Buckingham Palace said the couple’s allegations of racism were “worrying” and would be dealt with privately.
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In June of that year, the couple welcomed their second child, a daughter named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.
The name pays homage to both Harry’s grandmother, the Queen whose surname is Lilibet, and his late mother, Princess Diana.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.