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 on the balcony in the sunshine with the queen to watch the dazzling Royal Air Force flyover.
Nevertheless, keen-eyed 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 had been photographed while speaking with the queen’s cousin the Duke of Kent and playfully chatting with some of the queen’s great-grandchildren.
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan were photographed at the Major General’s Office, Horse Guards Parade earlier. The couple were seen chatting with the Duke of Kent, and Meghan was spotted playing with Savannah Philips, Mia and Lena Tindall.
📷: Kelvin Bruce/Jim Bennett pic.twitter.com/MULet9QWpl
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) June 2, 2022
They are expected to be more visible Friday and to attend a thanksgiving service with the queen at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, as part of the ongoing celebrations.
British media have reported that they may also succeed in pulling the queen away from her beloved horse racing Saturday, so that she can join a birthday party for their daughter, the queen’s great-granddaughter, Lilibet.
Also notably absent Thursday was Prince Andrew.
The queen’s third child (and said to be her favourite) was not among his siblings Charles and Anne as they took part on horseback in the pomp and pageantry Thursday morning with some 1,400 guards. Nor was he in the royal carriages, which included his younger brother Edward.
Andrew’s banishment from front-line royal life comes after he settled a sexual-abuse lawsuit this year, linked to his friendship with disgraced American financier and convicted abuser, Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew wasn’t expected to attend on Thursday. But he announced a last-minute excuse for Friday’s church service, as well. Buckingham Palace said he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“After undertaking a routine test the duke has tested positive for covid and with regret will no longer be attending tomorrow’s service,” a palace spokesman said Thursday afternoon.
Andrew participated in the last Trooping the Color, in June 2019, as colonel of the Grenadier Guards regiment. That’s an honorary position 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 herself colonel of the regiment, which brings the title full circle. She was first appointed to the position in 1942, and she rode in that role at her first Trooping the Color.
Harry and Meghan don’t seem to face the same sort of exile as Andrew. But they have repeatedly ruffled royal feathers.
They gave a bombshell interview to television host Oprah Winfrey in 2021, detailing their experiences of royal life, including allegations of racism in the family.
Both have spoken publicly about the media scrutiny they faced in Britain, with Harry at times likening the hounding to that faced by his late mother, Princess Diana.
Harry and Meghan have continued to take part in global charity works and commercial projects. Meghan visited Uvalde, Tex., last month to pay respects to victims of the school shooting there. Harry was in Britain last year for the funeral of his grandfather Prince Philip.
William Booth and Marisa Bellack contributed to this report.