Harry and Meghan back for Jubilee but Queen omits them from balcony at Trooping

The couple are bringing their children Archie and Lili to the UK for the monarch’s historic commemorations.

The royal family (Victoria Jones/PA)
The royal family (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their children are to attend the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations but have been omitted from the Trooping the Colour balcony appearance by the Queen.

Harry and Meghan confirmed on Friday, also their son Archie’s third birthday, that they were “excited and honoured” to attend the commemorations for the monarch’s milestone in June with their eldest child and his sister Lilibet.

But the Queen has limited the Trooping the Colour balcony appearance to working members of her family, with the Duke of York and Harry and Meghan missing out.

It is not known which elements of the four-day Jubilee weekend Harry and Meghan could make an appearance at.

Young Leaders Awards Ceremony
The Sussexes with the Queen (John Stillwell/PA)

A spokeswoman for the couple said: “Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are excited and honoured to attend The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this June with their children.”

It will be the first time Harry and Meghan have brought their family to the UK since leaving for the US.

Lili’s first birthday falls during the Jubilee weekend on June 4 and she is yet to meet the Queen, the Prince of Wales and other members of the family.

The monarch’s decision to only include royals carrying out official public duties was taken “after careful consideration”, Buckingham Palace said.

The symbolic move by the Queen has been interpreted as a snub to Harry and Meghan, who quit the monarchy for a new life in the US two years ago, and to Andrew, who was cast out of the institution over his civil sexual assault case.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with the Duchess of Cambridge make their way along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade ahead of the Trooping the Colour ceremony in 2019
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with the Duchess of Cambridge make their way along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade ahead of the Trooping the Colour ceremony in 2019 (PA)

On June 2, Trooping the Colour, the sovereign’s official birthday parade, will kick start the four days of Jubilee festivities, with 18 members of the royal family set to gather on the famous frontage, with the Queen “looking forward” to the weekend of celebrations.

A Palace spokesman said: “After careful consideration, the Queen has decided this year’s traditional Trooping the Colour balcony appearance on Thursday June 2 will be limited to Her Majesty and those members of the royal family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of the Queen.”

Joining the Queen on the balcony for Trooping will be the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.

Also set to appear for the historic occasion will be Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis and the Wessexes’ children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

The head of state has made an exception for Anne’s husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim, who is not a working royal, and her two youngest grandchildren Lady Louise and James, and her Cambridge great-grandchildren George, Charlotte and Louis.

The Palace spokesman added: “In addition the Cambridge and Wessex children are also expected to appear as is Sir Tim Laurence, who the Queen is happy to attend as a frequent attendee and support for the Princess Royal on official engagements.”

Harry and Meghan issued their statement just minutes after the Palace confirmed they would not appear on the balcony for Trooping.

They quit as senior working royals amid the Megxit saga, but there had been speculation they might return to the UK to attend the Jubilee celebrations.

Wider members of the family are expected to join the Queen at the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday June 3, but other options could include the Party at the Palace pop concert on the Saturday or taking youngsters Archie and Lili to see the colourful Jubilee Pageant on Sunday June 5, the carnival finale to the celebrations.

The duke was absent when the royal family gathered in remembrance of the Duke of Edinburgh in March, but travelled with Meghan to see his grandmother the Queen for the first time in two years last month on his way to the Invictus Games in The Hague.

Oprah Winfrey interviews Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Harry and Meghan during their Oprah interview (ITV Hub/Harpo Productions/CBS/PA)

He appeared to issue a veiled warning to those closest to the Queen during a interview with a US network, saying he wanted to make sure his grandmother was “protected” and had “the right people around her”.

Harry and Meghan left for a new life in North America just before the pandemic struck, but sparked a royal crisis with their controversial Oprah Winfrey interview.

They accused an unnamed member of the royal family, not the Queen nor Philip, of racism and painted the monarchy as an uncaring institution.

The duke has commented in the past about his rift with Charles and how he and William are on “different paths” and have good and bad days in their relationship.

Harry is bringing a claim against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the same degree of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.

Trooping the Colour parade
The Duke of York next to his mother on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in 2013 (Archive/PA)

A legal representative said previously that the duke wanted to bring his children to visit, but he and his family were “unable to return to his home” because it is too dangerous.

Andrew stepped down from public duties in 2019 and just weeks ago paid millions out of court to settle a civil sexual assault case.

He was stripped of his honorary military titles and forced to no longer use his HRH style, but he played a key role in March when he escorted his mother to Philip’s thanksgiving service.

A Palace source said: “Other family members will be invited to events.

“We’ve always made that clear and they are likely to be public events.”

The Palace refused to be drawn on whether there would be a second balcony appearance as a finale after the Pageant.

A source reiterated past remarks about Harry and Meghan: “They are much loved members of the family and they would be invited to family events.”

The Queen took part in the 1949 Trooping of the Colour as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards when she was Princess Elizabeth in celebration of her father's official 53rd birthday
The Queen took part in the 1949 Trooping the Colour as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards when she was Princess Elizabeth in celebration of her father’s official 53rd birthday (PA)

With less than a month to go, the Palace released further details, including how Jubilee arrangements have been tailored for the Queen’s comfort.

There will be no ceremonial journey to the service of thanksgiving on the Friday, and the 96-year-old monarch, who is facing mobility issues, will use a different entrance rather than scaling the steep steps.

The 18th century Gold State Coach will appear on the streets of London for the first time in 20 years when it leads the Pageant procession on Sunday June 5.

Archive film footage of Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day will be shown on the remodelled windows to evoke the image of the young monarch travelling in the coach.

The Queen riding in the Gold State Coach from Buckingham Palace to St Paul’s Cathedral in 2002
The Queen riding in the Gold State Coach from Buckingham Palace to St Paul’s Cathedral in 2002 (PA)

With the Queen expected to appear on the balcony for Trooping, attend the church service and the Epsom Derby, decisions on her appearances across the weekend are not likely to be confirmed until the day.

A Palace spokesman said: “The Queen is looking forward to the weekend and will be taking part in the celebrations but her presence will not be confirmed until much nearer the time or even on the day itself.”

It will be the first time in three years that the Windsors have appeared on the balcony since the start of the pandemic, with the last time being the Queen’s official birthday parade in 2019.

Mini versions of Trooping were staged in the confines of Windsor Castle during lockdown.

Much has changed since 10 years ago when, during the Diamond Jubilee, just six members of the royal family, the Queen, Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and Harry, appeared on the Palace balcony as part of a new slimmed down monarchy with Edward, Sophie, Anne and Andrew missing out.

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