prince harry and Meghan Markle were relegated to “second row royals” during their one and only public Platinum Jubilee appearance, one royal expert says.
It’s this reality of their new lives as non-working royals she believes will keep them away from the UK for some time.
Katie Nicholl tells 9Honey the less-than-warm welcome back for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will impact the future.
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“I can’t imagine that this is the welcome home they wanted,” Nicholl says.
“We have seen them very much been presented as non-working royals and with that title they have lost their place in the hierarchy.”
She says that was evident in the seating order at the Service of Thanksgiving.
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“We didn’t see Prince Harry at all at Trooping [the Colour]he wasn’t in his military ceremonial dress … and if you think back to 2019, which was the last time Prince Harry was at Trooping the Colour, he was very much present, as was Meghan,” Nicholl says.
“This must have been for them a real wake-up call in terms of the reality of their situation now.”
Their attendance at the Service of Thanksgiving on day two of the four-day celebrations earlier this month marked the couple’s first public appearance together in the UK since leaving as senior working members of the royal family in March 2020.
Nicholl, who contributed to the official Platinum Jubilee Commemorative Albumsays their placement away from Harry’s immediate family for the highly anticipated event, was a “very deliberate move by the palace to keep the Sussexes in the background”.
“It was absolutely essential that no-one and nothing, from the Sussexes to Prince Andrew, could upstage the Queen or overshadow the celebrations and you’ve seen some very careful and deliberate planning going into all of this,” Nicholl tells 9Honey.
“The Sussexes played ball,” she noted.
However, the author says the fact Harry and Meghan weren’t in the royal box for the Platinum Party at the Palace concert on the Saturday and left for Los Angeles before the People’s Pageant on Sunday, showed tensions are rife in the family.
“I think it just shows you that there is still a division at the heart of the family, and it’s been put to one side for the sake of the Queen for a very special and important celebration, but to me as an observer, it’s still apparent , it’s still there.”
While it’s not known for certain if it was a case of the Sussexes opting not to go to these events or them not being invited, the author says it’s hard to believe they weren’t on the guest list.
“I find it hard to believe that given all of the extended family members, royal cousins, grandchildren, great-grandchildren that were there, [and] I think given the Queen’s generosity and her capacity for forgiveness, I find it very hard to imagine that they weren’t invited,” she says.
Despite the Sussexes leaving earlywith their two children Archie and LilibetNicholl says who came to the UK with the best of intentions.
“They’re still members of royal family, don’t forget,” she says.
“Harry’s still the Queen’s grandson and they’re still the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and of course, they would want to be part of those celebration.”
However, Nicholl does note the situation it puts them in commercially on their return to the US.
“As we know, their Netflix deals and their commercial deals depend on them being members of the royal family,” she says.
“Will those deals still be as lucrative as they were when they were key members of the royal family?
“There’s a big question mark over that”
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All the photos of the Sussexes at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee