Harry and Meghan still out of sight for Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee

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LONDON – Will they show up or not? The biggest suspense ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee on Thursday is whether runaway royals Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex will make an appearance.

Buckingham Palace has said that only “senior working royals” and some of their children are spending big moments with the Queen on the balcony. That would exclude Harry and Meghan, who in 2020 gave up royal duties and moved to California, shaking the foundations of the family institution. But, until the very last moment, rumours that the Queen might make an exception were swirling.

In the end, it was rejected — at least for Thursday’s big event, the “Military Parade.” Harry and Meghan didn’t watch the dazzling RAF flyover from their sunny balcony with the Queen.

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Still, keen observers spotted Meghan in a wide-brimmed white hat in a window above the parade route. Royal commentator and biographer Omid Scobie tweeted that Meghan and Harry were photographed talking to the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, and jokingly chatting with some of the Queen’s great-grandchildren.

They are expected to be even more visible on Friday as part of the ongoing celebrations, joining the Queen for a Thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

British media reports say they may also succeed in pulling the Queen out of her beloved racecourse so she can attend the birthday party of their daughter, the Queen’s great-granddaughter Lilibet.

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Also absent on Thursday was Prince Andrew.

The Queen’s third child, said to be her favourite, was not included among his siblings Charles and Anne as they joined about 1,400 guards on horseback for the lavish gala on Thursday morning. Nor was he in the royal carriage, which included his younger brother Edward.

Andrew’s expulsion from frontline royal life comes after he settled a sex abuse lawsuit this year over his friendship with disgraced American financier and convicted abuser Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew is not expected to attend on Thursday. But he also announced last-minute excuses for Friday’s church service. Buckingham Palace said he had tested positive for coronavirus.

“The Duke has tested positive for coronavirus after a routine test and will unfortunately not be attending tomorrow’s ceremony,” a palace spokesman said Thursday afternoon.

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Andrew attended his final parade in June 2019 as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards. It was an honorary position his father, Prince Philip, accepted after retiring from royal duties in 2017.

But the Queen stripped Andrew of his honorary military title in January and is now a colonel in the regiment herself, taking the title to the next level. She was first appointed to the position in 1942 and held the position on her first military parade.

Queen Elizabeth II’s mashup on the balcony over the years (Video: The Washington Post)

Harry and Meghan don’t seem to face exile like Andrew. But they have repeatedly angered the royals.

They gave TV host Oprah Winfrey a blockbuster interview in 2021, detailing their royal life experiences, including allegations of domestic racism.

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Both have spoken openly about the media scrutiny they face in the UK, with Harry at times likening the hunt to what his late mother, Princess Diana, faced.

Harry and Meghan continue to be involved in charity work and business projects around the world. Last month, Meghan visited Uwald, Texas, to pay her respects to the victims of the school shooting there. Harry was in the UK last year for the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip.

William Booth and Marisa Bellack contributed to this report.

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