Harry and Meghan stay out of sight at Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee

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Harry and Meghan stay out of sight at Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee

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LONDON – Would they show up or not? The biggest suspense ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations on Thursday was whether runaway royals Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex would make an appearance.

Buckingham Palace had indicated there would only be “elderly working royals” and some of their children for the big balcony moment with the Queen. That would rule out Harry and Meghan, who gave up royal duties in 2020 and moved to California, shaking the family institution to its foundations. Still, rumors circulated up to the last moment that the Queen might make an exception.

In the end, it was a no — at least for Thursday’s big event, the “Trooping the Color” military parade. Harry and Meghan weren’t out on the balcony with the Queen in the sun to watch the dazzling overflight of the Royal Air Force.

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Still, keen observers spotted Meghan wearing a wide-brimmed white hat in a window above the parade route. Royal commentator and biographer Omid Scobie tweeted that Meghan and Harry were photographed speaking to the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, and chatting playfully with some of the Queen’s great-grandchildren.

They are expected to be more visible on Friday and attend a thanksgiving service with the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral in London as part of the ongoing celebrations.

British media have reported they may also manage to drag the Queen away from her beloved horse race on Saturday so she can attend a birthday celebration for her daughter, the Queen’s great-granddaughter Lilibet.

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Also notably absent on Thursday was Prince Andrew.

The Queen’s third child (and reportedly her favourite) was not among his siblings Charles and Anne as they took part in the pageantry and pageantry with around 1,400 guards on horseback on Thursday morning. Nor was he in the royal carriages, which included his younger brother Edward.

Andrew’s banishment from royal life comes on the front lines after he settled a sex abuse lawsuit earlier this year linked to his friendship with disgraced American financier and convicted abuser Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew was not supposed to be present on Thursday. But he also announced an apology at the last minute for the service on Friday. Buckingham Palace said it had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Following a routine test, the Duke has tested positive for Covid and will regretfully not be attending tomorrow’s service,” a palace spokesman said Thursday afternoon.

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Andrew attended the last Trooping the Color in June 2019 as a Colonel in the Grenadier Guards Regiment. It’s a volunteer job he accepted after his father, Prince Philip, retired from royal duties in 2017.

But the Queen stripped Andrew of his honorary military titles in January and is now Colonel of the Regiment himself, coming full circle. She was first called to that position in 1942 and rode in that role on her first Trooping the Color.

Mashup of Queen Elizabeth II on her balcony over the years (Video: The Washington Post)

Harry and Meghan don’t appear to be facing the same type of exile as Andrew. But they’ve ruffled royal feathers time and time again.

They gave TV presenter Oprah Winfrey a bombshell interview in 2021, in which they detailed their experiences of royal life, including allegations of racism in the family.

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Both have spoken publicly about the media scrutiny they faced in the UK, with Harry sometimes comparing the hounding to that of his late mother, Princess Diana.

Harry and Meghan have continued to get involved in global charity projects and commercial ventures. Meghan visited Uvalde, Texas last month to pay respects to the victims of the school shooting there. Harry was in the UK for his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral last year.

William Booth and Marisa Bellack contributed to this report.

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