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Meghan, 40, and Prince Harry, 37, returned to the UK for the Jubilee celebrations last week, but have only appeared at a couple of the weekend’s royal engagements. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were spotted watching Thursday’s Trooping the Color parade from the Major General’s office at Horse Guards Parade with a collection of senior royals, but did not feature in the balcony lineup.
The Queen, 96, was joined by Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Cambridges and the Wessexes for the RAF flypast closing the monarch’s official birthday celebrations.
It had been announced prior to the Platinum Jubilee celebrations kicking off that only working members of the Royal Family would step out on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the photo-op.
The Queen had made the decision “after careful consideration”, the Palace said.
Keeping largely out of sight, avoiding accusations of overshadowing the monarch’s historic milestone, will be seen as a thoughtful move on the part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a royal branding expert has told Express.co.uk.
Meghan, 40, and Prince Harry, 37, returned to the UK for the Jubilee celebrations last week
The Sussexes climbed the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral in central London for a thanksgiving service
Professor Pauline MacLaran of Royal Holloway, University of London, explained that Meghan and Harry’s careful navigation of their Jubilee appearances will likely be “seen as considerate” behavior by the watching public.
She argued that the non-appearance of the Sussexes on the balcony was “well-justified in advance”, with the reasoning for the decision grounded in logic.
The couple were snapped playfully shushing young royals during the parade, but were otherwise conscious of cameras directed their way.
However, “Kate’s position on the balcony beside the Queen shows how much she is valued and seen as a crucial part of the family going into the future”, Professor MacLaran said.
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Prof Maclaran: ‘Kate’s position on the balcony beside the queen shows how much she is valued.’
On Friday, the Sussexes climbed the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral in central London for a national service of thanksgiving, which the Queen pulled out of attending with “great reluctance”.
Professor MacLaran described their appearance at St Paul’s as going “very well”, with “some cheering for them” as they headed into the Cathedral.
She added: “They seemed to keep a low profile at it (and since they arrived) and this will be seen as considerate and not trying to seek the limelight.”
She argued that the select appearances will have influenced how they are perceived in relation to the Royal Family from which they had distanced themselves.
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The Duchess was front and center at the Jubilee celebrations
Professor MacLaran said the St Paul’s appearance “will have reinforced their royal associations and given their brand some impetus too”.
Whereas the Trooping the Color balcony appearance was more selective in its participation, she added, “the St Paul’s service was more about the extended Royal Family so there are always going to be part of that, even if not seen as core working members”.
It was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would not attend the Platinum Jubilee Party at the Palace on Saturday evening, as they were spending the day in a private capacity.
The concert, featuring performances from some of the music industry’s biggest names, attracted a 22,000-strong crowd to The Mall.
But the Saturday events were missed by the Duke and Duchess, whose daughter Lilibet celebrated her first birthday on that day.
Reports also suggest the Queen met her younger namesake for the first time over the weekend, although this has not been officially confirmed by the Palace.
The Sussexes’ biographer, Omid Scobie, told the BBC on Friday: “I think people are expecting some sort of big birthday extravagant event, that we’re going to see photographs from.
“From what I’m told, we shouldn’t expect anything.
“Those moments with Lilibet are very much private between them and the Queen and of course we know how much she’s been looking forward to it.”