It had been over two years since their last official engagement after quitting the royal family back in January 2020. But last week, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were let back into the fold for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations – despite relations between them and some of the royals remaining strained.
However, it wasn’t exactly the warm welcome they had hoped for.
At the Trooping the Colour, they were not allowed to appear on the balcony, as the Queen decided only working royals would stand alongside her. So, they were pushed out as they had to watch from the sidelines, while Harry’s dad Prince Charles and brother Prince William and their families took centre stage. Meghan also faced criticism for wearing an off-the-shoulder dress, which some traditionalists thought was disrespectful, and for animatedly interacting with family children in view of the TV cameras.
The following day, they attended a service of remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral with many other family members, which the Queen sadly missed due to feeling unwell. And while Meghan, 40, looked thrilled to be in the spotlight again, some members of the crowd seemed to boo as she and Harry got out of their car, and they were later called out for what some saw as their “smug” behaviour.
They were also seated away from Charles, Camilla, William and Kate – humiliating given that Harry is sixth in line to the throne. They were given their own walk down the aisle, and while Meghan held onto Harry’s hand, onlookers were quick to point out that she appeared “smug”, even though she criticised the royal family in her TV interview with Oprah Winfrey last year.
“Meghan can’t wipe the grin off her face – this is all a game to her,” one commenter wrote, while another said, “They are both so fake. All they’ve done is slag the royal family off and now they are acting like nothing happened.” Another said, “This is all part of their plan to get themselves back in with the royals, as they’ve realised they’re nothing without them.” And finally, “Meghan should not be there and she looks so smug as she knows that.”
The pair also failed to attend a reception after the service, despite all the other royals going, and our insider says the Jubilee was their final chance – they had to be on their best behaviour if they wanted to be invited to future events. “Although they have angered many royals with the interviews and criticism, the Queen wanted them there, so everyone was determined to make them welcome,” we’re told.
“The sense is that they’re going to kill them with kindness, and then put the ball in their court and see what happens in the weeks and months that follow. The Queen was especially keen to see Harry and her great- grandchildren, and put an end to their differences, so that order must be obeyed throughout The Firm – even though there’s a lot of scepticism and dread surrounding their forthcoming Netflix content and Harry’s memoir, in particular.
“It puts the pressure squarely on him and Meghan, who now has to follow suit and make nice with everyone, instead of throwing this olive branch back in their faces.”
After Trooping the Colour, it is thought the Queen finally met Meghan and Harry’s one-year-old daughter Lilibet – who is named after the 96-year-old monarch – and also got to see three-year-old Archie again during a family lunch. None of the family had seen Archie since November 2019, and meeting up with his family – as well as seeing all the celebrations in the UK – has made Harry homesick.
“A number of his old friends had called him up and tried to arrange dinner parties and visits to his favourite old haunts, plus double dates, and even fun day trips with their respective families, since many of these guys have, like Harry, now got kids of their own,” we’re told.
“But Meghan didn’t bite and wanted them out of England as quickly as possible. She was happy to see Eugenie and a few selected acquaintances, but that’s as far as it goes. It’s tough on Harry, who had it in his head that they’d be reconnecting [with friends] once the Jubilee duties were out of the way.
“If he had his way, they would’ve extended the trip and stayed on for longer than planned, but Meghan didn’t want that.”
And although they had time with the Queen, relations between Harry, his brother and his dad are still not great and he felt they didn’t spend enough time in the UK to work on that.
“There are obviously still big issues between Harry, Charles and William, and it would’ve hurt him to see William accompanying his dad, while Harry and Meghan were on the sidelines,” our insider adds.
“Seeing Kate and William’s children in the carriage and on the balcony would have hurt, and part of him does regret how this has all panned out. He’s hoping they can have more trips over here, and work on things and rebuild their relationship. He’s assured Meghan he doesn’t want to move back to the UK, but wants more of a balance and for his kids to have a relationship with his family.”