Jubilee balcony snub for Prince Harry and Meghan

Line-up will be limited to working royals

Queen Elizabeth stands with Meghan and Prince Harry on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in 2018. AP
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Prince Harry and Prince Andrew will be absent from the royal balcony at the platinum jubilee Trooping the Colour after Queen Elizabeth II decided to limit the line-up to working royals only.

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

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

On June 2, Trooping the Colour – the sovereign’s official birthday parade – will start off the four days of jubilee festivities, with 18 members of the royal family set to gather on the famous frontage and 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 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.

Queen Elizabeth was accompanied by Prince Andrew to a service of thanksgiving for Prince Philip in March. Reuters

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

The queen has been struggling with ill-health and mobility issues in recent months and has cancelled a number of in-person engagements.

She will miss the royal garden party season and be represented by other members of her family.

Prince Harry visited the queen last month on his way to the Invictus Games and caused a furore by suggesting he was there to "protect" his grandmother and make sure she had "the right people round her".

Prince Andrew stepped down from public duties in 2019 and only 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 title, but he played a key role in March when he escorted his mother to the Duke of Edinburgh’s thanksgiving service.

Prince Harry and Meghan quit as senior working royals amid the Megxit saga, but there was speculation they might return to the UK to attend the jubilee celebrations.

Prince Andrew and the Sussexes could still make an appearance during other parts of the weekend.

Preparations are under way outside Buckingham Palace for the platinum jubilee celebrations in June. EPA

A palace source told the PA agency: “Other family members will be invited to events. We’ve always made that clear and they are likely to be public events.”

Buckingham Palace refused to be drawn on whether there would be a second balcony appearance as a finale after the pageant on Sunday.

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

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 at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, June 3, and the 96-year-old monarch 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 jubilee pageant procession on Sunday, June 5.

Queen Elizabeth II's 70-year reign - in pictures

Archive film footage of Queen Elizabeth II on her coronation day will be shown on the windows to evoke the image of the young monarch travelling in the coach.

With the queen expected to appear on the balcony for the 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 the Colour were staged in the confines of Windsor Castle during lockdown.

Much has changed in the past 10 years when during the diamond jubilee, only six members of the royal family appeared – the Queen, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry – on the Buckingham Palace balcony as part of a new slimmed down monarchy – with Prince Edward, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew missing out.

Updated: May 06, 2022, 2:00 PM
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