Queen Elizabeth’s son Prince Andrew, her grandson Harry and his wife Meghan will not join her on the Buckingham Palace balcony for this year’s Trooping the Colour, royal officials said on Friday.
Instead, the 96-year-old monarch has decided to limit numbers for the traditional set-piece appearance on her official birthday celebration to working royals only.
“Only those members of the royal family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of the queen” will join her on June 2, a spokesman said.
The decision was taken “after careful consideration”, he added.
Speculation had mounted that all three could be at the event, which kicks off four days of public celebrations for the queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Andrew, 62, in March made his first public appearence since settling a US civil claim for sexual assault, and after public outrage at his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The former Royal Navy helicopter pilot provided his mother, who has been in ill health and had difficulty walking and standing, with a steadying arm at a memorial service to her late husband, Prince Philip.
His prominent role at the televised Westminster Abbey event was seen as a sign that his mother believed he still has a part to play at family occasions.
But his appearance caused controversy — and dominated coverage of the memorial service — and Friday’s announcement may be seen as a sign the palace does not want a repeat.
Andrew has strenuously denied the assault claims and remains stripped of his honorary military titles and charities, giving him no official royal role.
– Senior royals – Speculation that Harry would return from his self-imposed exile in California has also increased after he visited his grandmother at her Windsor Castle home last month.
The 37-year-old former British Army captain is the second son of her eldest son and heir Prince Charles, and his first wife, Princess Diana.
He quit royal life in March last year, moving to the United States with his wife Meghan, where both have publicly complained about life in Britain’s most famous family.
The couple, who still use their official titles of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are now involved in charitable and philanthropic work.
Denying them a place on the balcony will likely be seen as the queen refusing to accept a “half-in, half-out” approach to royal duties.
There was no immediate word on whether all three would be involved in the other public events to mark the queen’s record-breaking 70 years on the throne.
But a spokeswoman for Harry and Meghan indicated they would be there with their children Archie, who turned three on Friday, and Lilibet, who was born in June last year and has yet to meet her great-grandmother.
The couple were “excited and honoured to attend the queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this June with their children”, she added.
The decision means the queen will be joined on the balcony for the end of the military pageant and ceremonial fly-past by senior royals led by Charles and his second wife, Camilla.
Harry’s older brother Prince William and his wife Kate will be there, with their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
The queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, will be accompanied by his wife, Sophie, and their children Louise and James.
Her only daughter, Princess Anne, will also be on the balcony. The queen has allowed her second husband, Tim Laurence, even though he is not a working royal.
The palace spokesman said the queen recognised him as a “frequent attendee and support for the Princess Royal (Anne) on official engagements”.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex and wife of Britain’s Prince Harry, is to produce an animated adventure series for Netflix about a 12-year-old girl who is inspired by historical female figures, her production company said Wednesday.
The couple signed a deal to produce content for the popular streaming platform after quitting their royal duties in Britain.
The animated series, the first to be announced by Archewell Productions, the company the couple formed together and which is named after their son Archie, is to be called “Pearl.”
“Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges,” Meghan said in a statement.
“I’m thrilled that Archewell Productions, partnered with the powerhouse platform of Netflix, and these incredible producers, will together bring you this new animated series, which celebrates extraordinary women throughout history.”
Last year, the couple announced the company would create a documentary series about the Invictus Games for wounded servicemen and women, which Prince Harry has long championed.
Meghan will be an executive producer for “Pearl,” alongside several others including Carolyn Soper, director of the animated movie “Sherlock Gnomes” and Liz Garbus, a US film maker whose work includes “Lost Girls,” as well as David Furnish, a Canadian filmmaker and husband of Elton John.
Earlier this year, Meghan published an illustrated children’s book called “The Bench,” which started out as a Father’s Day poem for Prince Harry.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced Sunday the birth of their daughter Lilibet Diana, who was born in California after a year of turmoil in Britain’s royal family.
“Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet. Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honor her beloved late grandmother, The Princess of Wales,” said a statement from the couple.
The child — the couple’s second, who will be eighth in line to the British throne — was born Friday in Santa Barbara and was now out of the hospital and at home.
“She weighed 7 lbs 11 oz. Both mother and child are healthy and well, and settling in at home,” the statement said.
The couple, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, live near Los Angeles following their decision to quit frontline royal duties early last year.
The couple sat in March for a bombshell interview with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, triggering the royal family’s biggest crisis since Harry’s mother died in a car crash in 1997.
During the two-hour sit-down, viewed by more than 17 million people in the US and over 11 million in Britain, Harry and Meghan said racism had played a part in them quitting the UK for North America.
The couple said a senior royal had speculated how dark their child’s skin would be before he was born. Meghan’s mother is Black and her father is white.
Meghan, a former actress, also told Winfrey she was “naively” unprepared for life as a royal and had contemplated suicide while pregnant with her first child Archie.
Harry, 36, and Meghan 39, accused newspapers of racial stereotyping, particularly set against coverage of Harry’s sister-in-law, Kate, who is white.
Prince Harry was said to have a good relationship with his grandparents.
He told talk show host James Corden earlier this year that he had spoken via video call Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip since moving to the United States so they could see their great-grandson Archie.
Harry has spoken to his father multiple times since the Oprah interview came out, notably after Prince Philip’s funeral, according to British media.
In a new documentary series released last month, Harry once again emphasized that his family turned a blind eye to the struggles of his wife, saying he will “never be bullied into silence.”
Senior aides to Queen Elizabeth II barred the hiring of ethnic minorities – coloured immigrants or foreigners – in office roles at Buckingham Palace until at least the late 1960s, a media report said Thursday.
The Queen and Britain’s royal household also negotiated an exemption from 1970s-era laws on race and sex discrimination that still exists today, The Guardian reported.
Citing historical papers it unearthed at the National Archives, the newspaper said that in 1968, the Queen’s chief financial manager told government officials of the hiring policy towards ethnic minorities.
“It was not, in fact, the practice to appoint coloured immigrants or foreigners” to clerical and other office posts, one document quoted the royal courtier as having stated.
“Coloured applicants” were considered only for “ordinary domestic posts”, it added.
It is unclear when the policy ended, but Buckingham Palace has said its records show people from ethnic minority backgrounds being employed in the 1990s, The Guardian noted.
The palace added it did not keep records on the racial backgrounds of employees prior to that, according to the paper.
A palace spokeswoman said in a statement: “Claims based on a second-hand account of conversations from over 50 years ago should not be used to draw or infer conclusions about modern-day events or operations.”
She added the royal household complied with the provisions of the 2010 Equality Act “in principle and in practice”.
“Any complaints that might be raised under the Act follow a formal process that provides a means of hearing and remedying any complaint,” the spokeswoman said.
The revelations are the latest in an ongoing investigation by The Guardian into the royal family’s use of an arcane parliamentary procedure — known as Queen’s consent — to influence British legislation.
The official documents show senior aides to Britain’s longest-serving monarch coordinated with government officials on the wording of new racial and sexual equalities laws in the 1970s.
The exemption secured for the royal household meant a government board, rather than the courts, has since dealt with allegations of discrimination within the royal household.
The disclosures are likely to renew focus on allegations of historical and more recent racism with the British royal family.
In a bombshell interview earlier this year, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle revealed a family member had expressed concern about their expected child’s skin colour.
Shock at the claim prompted Prince William, second-in-line to the throne and Harry’s elder brother, to tell reporters in March that the family was “very much not” racist.
A British court on Wednesday upheld Meghan Markle’s copyright claim against Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, over its publication of a letter to her father.
The ruling by judge Mark Warby means the Duchess of Sussex, as Markle is formally known, has now won every part of her legal claim against the newspaper group, which published a handwritten letter she wrote to her father Thomas Markle.
Warby said on Wednesday at a remote hearing lawyers acting for Queen Elizabeth II had assured him the copyright did not belong to the Crown so he was granting “summary judgement” over that remaining aspect of the case, too.
In February the High Court issued Meghan with a “summary judgement”, meaning she won her privacy and data protection rights claims against Associated Newspapers over the letter’s publication without having to go to trial.
Warby also ordered the Mail on Sunday to print a front-page statement acknowledging her legal victory.
But the judge said at the time her copyright claim needed further scrutiny because the newspaper group suggested Meghan did not fully own the letter’s copyright and members of the royal communications team helped her draft it.
Meghan’s solicitor, Ian Mill QC, said on Wednesday lawyers for the Keeper of the Privy Purse — the official responsible for the monarch’s private funds — had written “disclaiming any claim to copyright on behalf of the crown”.
Mill said he also received a letter from lawyers for Jason Knauf, previously communications secretary to the Sussexes, saying he did not write or help draft the letter.
The newspaper group’s lawyer, Andrew Caldecott, said it was “a matter of regret” that Knauf had not clarified this earlier.
Meghan’s letter to her estranged father was written a few months after she married Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson, Prince Harry, and asked him to stop talking to tabloids and making false claims about her in interviews.
Meghan and her husband, the Duke of Sussex, have successfully mounted further legal action over media breaches of their privacy since moving to the United States last year.
At the same time the couple have engaged with media on their own terms, giving an explosive interview in March to US chat show host Oprah Winfrey, in which they said unnamed royals had made racist remarks about how dark their son’s skin would be.
The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, will take place next week, Buckingham Palace said on Saturday, announcing a stripped-back ceremony due to coronavirus restrictions, and a return for exiled royal Prince Harry but not his wife, Meghan.
The announcement came as the couple’s eldest son, heir to the throne Prince Charles, 72, paid a heartfelt tribute to his “dear Papa”, and said he and the royal family missed him “enormously”.
“My dear Papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him, and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that,” he added.
“It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time.”
The Duke of Edinburgh – the 94-year-old queen’s husband of 73 years — died peacefully on Friday just two months short of his 100th birthday, triggering eight days of national mourning.
Royal officials said his funeral, which will be televised, will take place at 1400 GMT on Saturday, April 17 in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, west of London.
It will be preceded by a national minute’s silence.
Government guidelines restrict mourners to just 30 people and close attention has been paid to the pared-down guest list for the funeral, particularly whether the duke’s grandson Harry would attend.
Palace officials confirmed he would but his American wife, Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child, had been advised against travelling from the United States on medical grounds.
The couple, who quit frontline royal duties last year, have launched a series of broadsides against the royals, including accusing them of racism, and of failing to treat Meghan’s mental health.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will also not be attending the funeral because of Covid restrictions, Downing Street said.
“The Prime Minister has throughout wanted to act in accordance with what is best for the Royal household, and so to allow for as many family members as possible will not be attending the funeral on Saturday,” a spokesperson said.
Gun salutes earlier echoed around the United Kingdom on Saturday as the armed forces paid solemn tribute to the duke.
The coordinated 41-round volleys to the former Royal Navy commander were fired at a rate of one per minute from 12:00 (1100 GMT) in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, as well as at naval bases, from warships at sea, and in the British territory Gibraltar.
Similar salutes — the most according to military protocol — were also held in Canberra and Wellington, as the Queen is head of state in Australia and New Zealand.
At the Tower of London, a crowd of more than 100 onlookers kept a respectful silence as they watched the Honourable Artillery Company fire shots on the banks of the River Thames.
One onlooker, Heather Utteridge, said she had come to show her respects “for a superhuman”.
“It’s a great loss to not just the Queen, but actually to the country. He represented stability for all of our lives,” the 65-year-old told AFP.
Alexander Beaten, 30, said the royal couple had been an integral part of British identity and culture.
“We can disagree with the government… but the Queen and Prince Philip are just such a constant,” he said.
Sporting events, including Premier League football matches, English county championship cricket, and the Grand National horserace, held silences as part of worldwide tributes to mark the death of the duke, during a period of national mourning.
The death of the duke, the longest serving royal consort in British history, is a profound loss for the Queen, who once described her loyal husband as her “strength and stay” throughout her long reign.
Flags at half-mast
Flags were flying at half-mast on government buildings and will do so until the morning after his funeral.
The well-rehearsed protocol for the duke’s death — codenamed “Forth Bridge” — has been hastily revised because of the coronavirus pandemic, eliminating public events where crowds could gather.
Parliament will be recalled on Monday for lawmakers to pay tribute, but the duke will not lie in state, nor will there will be military processions.
British television stations cleared their schedules for special broadcasts looking back on his life on Friday, although the BBC said it had received complaints about the blanket coverage.
Westminster Abbey, where the couple married in 1947, tolled its tenor bell 99 times on Friday, once for each year of the prince’s life.
Philip had been ill for some time, and spent more than a month in hospital from February 16 being treated for a pre-existing heart condition and an infection.
Despite looking frail on his release from hospital on March 16, hopes were raised for his recovery.
But the Queen announced Philip’s death at Windsor Castle “with deep sorrow” on Friday.
‘Farewell, my beloved’
The duke’s death dominated Britain’s newspapers on Saturday. “We’re all weeping with you Ma’am,” The Sun tabloid said on its front page.
The Daily Mail splashed a picture of the Queen looking at her husband along with the headline “Farewell, my beloved” on the front page of its 144-page souvenir edition.
Tributes poured in from home and abroad, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving “thanks, as a nation and a kingdom, for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip”.
Political and faith leaders in Britain, and from the United States, Europe and Commonwealth countries including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and Pakistan also paid their respects.
Global royalty also paid their respects, while Pope Francis praised the prince’s “devotion” to his family and marriage, and sent his “heartfelt condolences” to the Queen.
Flowers discouraged due to Covid
Philip retired from public duties in 2017 at the age of 96, declaring “I’ve done my bit”.
The couple had been living largely in isolation at Windsor because their age put them at heightened risk from Covid-19.
He was last seen at a staged appearance at a military ceremony at Windsor in July, days after attending the wedding ceremony of his granddaughter Princess Beatrice.
On Saturday members of the public continued to pay their respects outside Buckingham Palace and Windsor, despite royal family requests not to gather at royal residences because of the restrictions.
Hundreds of flowers that had been laid outside the Queen’s official residence in central London on Friday have been moved to Windsor, apparently to discourage further gathering.
An online book of condolences on the royal family’s official website has been put in place rather than conventional public tributes.
British television host Piers Morgan on Tuesday left his role presenting ITV breakfast show “Good Morning Britain”, shortly after sparking 41,000 complaints and storming off the set in a row over Meghan Markle.
“Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain,” the network said in a statement.
“ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add.”
Morgan has been a vocal critic of Markle ever since she cut off contact with him after she met Prince Harry, and he launched a scathing attack on her following the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The former CNN host said he did not believe Markle when she said at one point she “didn’t want to be alive anymore”, sparking a deluge of complaints.
Barely a day after his remarks, regulator Ofcom said that it had already received more than 41,000 complaints.
Morgan also stormed off the set on Tuesday morning after clashing with fellow presenter Alex Beresford over the interview.
Beresford told Morgan “I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle, or had one, and she cut you off.
“She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to. Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don’t think she has but yet you continue to trash her,” he added, leading to Morgan’s departure.
Morgan has also been the most outspoken media critic of the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic over the past year, leading to many high-profile rows with ministers.
Morgan hosted his CNN show for three years until it was axed due to falling ratings in 2014.
He irked US gun owners after launching a crusade for greater gun control and struggled after stepping into the shoes of popular host Larry King in the coveted 9:00 pm primetime slot.
Queen Elizabeth II is saddened by the challenges faced by her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, and takes their allegations of racism in the royal family seriously, Buckingham Palace said Tuesday.
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning,” the palace said in a statement released on the queen’s behalf.
“While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much-loved family members.”
English broadcaster and journalist, Piers Morgan has waded into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s apparent revelatory interview about the royal family, calling it an “absolutely disgraceful betrayal” and “shameful” act
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in an exclusive interview on Sunday night with Oprah Winfrey, had accused the monarchy of racism, while Meghan also revealed she contemplated suicide while at the royal residence,
Piers in a series of tweets was quick to defend the British royal family slamming Harry and Meghan’s alleged accusations.
This interview is an absolutely disgraceful betrayal of the Queen and the Royal Family. I expect all this vile destructive self-serving nonsense from Meghan Markle – but for Harry to let her take down his family and the Monarchy like this is shameful. #OprahMeghanHarrypic.twitter.com/F2QDxELSsr
“Let’s be clear: Prince Harry and his wife just spent two hours trashing everything the Queen stands for & has worked so hard to maintain, whilst pretending to support her,” he said
“And they did it while her 99yr-old husband Philip is seriously ill in hospital. It’s contemptible.”
Piers’ criticism has seen similar reactions coming from several British media with The Daily Telegraph calling it “enough bombshells to sink a flotilla”, while The Daily Mail tabloid, which has been highly critical of Meghan, quoted royal expert Robert Jobson as saying that the couple were “self-obsessed”.
Tennis superstar Serena Williams and poet Amanda Gorman led an outpouring of support for Meghan Markle following her explosive allegations of racism in the British royal family.
In a two-hour interview with Oprah Winfrey, Markle, whose mother is Black, said her husband Prince Harry revealed his family’s concerns over “how dark” her son Archie’s skin would be.
She also said no members of the royal family had spoken out to defend her against a torrent of what she said was racist coverage from British tabloids.
“Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced,” Williams tweeted after the interview aired on Sunday.
“I know first hand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of color to minimize us, to break us down and demonize us,” said Williams, hailing her “selfless friend.”
“We must recognize our obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism. The mental health consequences of systemic oppression and victimization are devastating, isolating and all too often lethal.”
Markle told Winfrey she had contemplated taking her own life after joining the royal family and that she was denied help during her mental health crisis.
“Royalty is not a shield from the devastation and despair of racism,” Bernice King, daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., tweeted in support.
“We can know racism exists in an institution and still hurt for someone who was hurt by it,” she wrote.
“I’m grateful that Meghan Markle is still here.”
– ‘Missed opportunity’ –
African American poet Gorman, who became a star after her reading at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, said the British royal family had missed an opportunity to change.
“Meghan was the Crown’s greatest opportunity for change, regeneration, and reconciliation in a new era. They didn’t just maltreat her light — they missed out on it,” the 22-year-old Gorman tweeted, referencing Prince Harry’s mother Diana, who was killed in a high-speed car crash in Paris in 1997 as she tried to escape paparazzi.
“Meghan is living the life Diana should have, if only those around her had been as brave as she was. Meghan isn’t living a life without pain, but a life without a prison.
“This isn’t Meghan’s princess ‘happy’ ending. But sometimes change, the decisions that bring us the most hurt, aren’t about happiness, but healing.”
Gorman said it was unclear if it would change the royal family, but Markle would inspire women.
“Think of the women who will be inspired to stand up for their lives, the partners who will be kinder & more courageous than the kin they were born into,” she tweeted.
Meena Harris, niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, also voiced support for Markle.
“She was suicidal and begged for help,” she said, adding a tweet with a quote from Markle after discussing her mental health struggles with Winfrey.