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Royals including Prince Harry and Meghan attend Platinum Jubilee thanksgiving service after Queen pulls out

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have been seen in public with the Royal family for the first time since they quit as working royals two years ago.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as Royal family members for a National Service of Thanksgiving held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Friday to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee .

However, the Queen was not on hand to attend the service, having pulled out of it on Thursday evening after experiencing “discomfort” during the day’s festivities which included a huge birthday parade through London and a fly-past from the Royal Air Force.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen “greatly enjoyed” Thursday’s parade but would not be attending Friday’s service “with great reluctance”.

Prince Charles, heir to the throne, represented his mother at Friday’s service while it is understood the Queen watched from her home at Windsor Castle.

It is the latest in a string of cancellations the Queen has been forced to make over what Buckingham Palace has described as “episodic mobility problems”.

The Queen canceled plans to attend the church service after citing discomfort following her brief appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony. (Reuters: Toby Melville)

During Thursday’s appearances on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the Queen walked unescorted but with the aid of a walking stick.

She also used the large walking stick on Thursday evening while lighting the principal jubilee beacon at Windsor Castle.

Prince Willian and his wife Catherine outside the cathedral.
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, attended the service of thanksgiving.(Reuters: Henry Nicholls)

Also absent from the service was Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, who had tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

It would have been the most public appearance for the duke since he settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit in the United States with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who had claimed the prince sexually abused her in 2001, when she was 17 years old.

The duke was potentially saved the indignation of being booed by the crowd outside St Paul’s, who were vocal in jeering under-fire British Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he arrived and walked up the stairs of the cathedral with his wife Carrie.

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But without Prince Andrew in attendance most of the focus of the media and royal watchers was on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, making only their second trip as a couple to the United Kingdom since an explosive tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in March last year.

During the two-hour television special they detailed the reasons why they had stepped away from royal duties and even said there were concerns in the palace over the darkness of the skin of their first son Archie.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who is wearing a large white hat, arrived at St Paul's Cathedral.
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, arrive for the National Service of Thanksgiving held at St Paul’s Cathedral.(Reuters: Toby Melville)

There were cheers and some jeers as they made their way into the cathedral.

Some media reported the Queen had met the couple’s daughter, Lilibet, for the first time on Thursday but that has yet to be confirmed by the palace or the Sussexes.

Inside, the couple were joined by former British prime ministers and other political figures from around the Commonwealth, with the service featuring prayers, Bible readings and hymns to express thanks for Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign.

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