Experts told MailOnline today that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could be seated in the ‘naughty corner’ with Prince Andrew when they meet The Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral next week, in order to avoid the ‘frosty’ photos that surrounded their last public meeting with William, Kate, and other royals.
The Sussexes will be the center of attention for the Platinum Jubilee thanksgiving ceremony, which will mark Her Majesty’s 70th year on the throne, because they will be seen alongside the complete Royal Family for the first time in two years.
A photo of them leaving Westminster Abbey after the Commonwealth Service in March 2020 – Harry and Meghan’s final outing as frontline royals – laid bare the rift their decision to quit had caused. The Duke of Sussex appeared seething next to his smiling wife, as they followed Harry’s frowning father, brother and their wives up the aisle.
Since that glacial moment, they have used Oprah, US TV news stations and friendly podcasts to fire transatlantic potshots, including claims one senior member was racist and that Buckingham Palace aides ignored Meghan when she was suicidal while pregnant. Harry also accused Prince Charles of cutting him off financially.
Angela Levin told MailOnline that the stress of the meeting next Friday will be etched on the faces of Harry, William and Kate – while Meghan will adopt her ‘Hollywood smile’ and ‘wave to the crowds’ for the cameras, which could also include a Netflix crew.
She said: ‘I think the St Paul’s service is going to be very stressful for the royals, especially for William and Catherine, who feel they [the Sussexes] have badly let down the Royal Family. It will be just as frosty as the Commonwealth Service in 2020. The brothers will look serious and I suspect Meghan’s Hollywood smile will be fixed’.
Ms Levin suggested that the couple’s presence could be to satisfy their $100m deal with Netflix. Last week it emerged that the couple are filming an ‘at-home docuseries’ already branded a royal Keeping Up with the Kardashians for the streaming giant, who have secured their ‘pound of flesh’ in return for their Megxit streaming deal, which has recently seen Meghan’s animation series scrapped.
She said: ‘Netflix could insist on them being there – and they are now probably not in a position to say no because they might get dropped completely. Harry and Meghan have shown they love the limelight and attention, and will want to show the world they are still part of the Royal Family, especially as their popularity in the US is plummeting’. The American public are beginning to take a dim view on how the couple use their royal links for fame and fortune while doing interviews with US TV having a pop at Harry’s family, she claimed.
The biographer predicted that in order to diffuse tensions between warring factions, Buckingham Palace could decide to seat all the royals in a ‘long front row’ split by the aisle.
Ms Levin said: ‘The seating is going to be a big issue. They couldn’t have them near the Queen, Charles and William because they are no longer working royals. I would expect them to be seated with Princess Eugenie, who they remain close to, and they could even be in a “naughty corner” with her father the Duke of York’.
Prince Andrew’s public appearance at St Paul’s will be for the first time since his father Prince Philip’s memorial service in March, where he was brought in from the cold to support his mother as she walked with a stick. He is said to be visiting his mother daily at Windsor since he settled the multi-million dollar case brought against him by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s sex slaves.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams predicted the Queen will go out of her way to welcome them next week, and may even give a ‘special gesture’ to make them feel more part of her historic Jubilee having not invited them on to the Buckingham Palace balcony. Mr Fitzwilliams also predicted that Meghan may go out of her way to heal the rift with the royals, especially if it may help any future political ambitions she may have.
He said: ‘The Queen has stressed that they are much loved members of the royal family but their presence was always going to be controversial’.
And they could be separated from the Cambridges to avoid the now famous and seething images from Westminster Abbey two years ago, the last time they were all together.
He said: ‘Since it has been reported that they will be attending the Service of Thanksgiving at St Pauls, there will be speculation as to where they will be seated, the extraordinary images of Commonwealth Day Service in March 2020, where they and the Cambridges seemed openly at odds, will not be repeated on the occasion of this historic service.
‘Since it is reported that they are there ‘in a private capacity’ as they are no longer working royals, they might be seated next to Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank, whom they are known to be close to.
‘Given the fact that there will be worldwide interest in their appearance, it would not be surprising if a special welcome was extended to them in some form by the Queen. She specialises in kindly gestures and this is important.
‘The rift has harmed the royal family considerably and it is also in the Sussexes interest that it be resolved if they want a future as philanthropists and possibly a political career may beckon for Meghan. None of this would have happened if it were not for their royal links.
There is also the spectre of her father’s illness to manage.
He said: Meghan’s father had a stroke. This misfortune may create unforseen difficulties for the couple. They have courted controversy but, outwardly at least, they may expect a warm welcome from the royal family who also will bear in mind that Harry’s memoir may be published later in the year but, of course, it might also be put on hold. It certainly should be’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York will not be joining other royals on the Buckingham Palace balcony at the Trooping the Colour that kicks off the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations next Thursday. Only senior serving royals such as Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and Prince William are invited.
Harry has hardly seen his father and brother since they emigrated to California, and Meghan has not seen them at all.
The Queen’s presence is expected but a decision may be left to the 11th hour due to her ongoing mobility issues. At the Chelsea Flower Show this week, she was swept around in a new royal buggy. But with the steps at St Paul’s being exceptionally steep, palace aides have plans for her to make her way in through a side entrance, without being photographed if necessary, to help maintain the monarch’s dignity.
The royals will arrive at St Paul’s from 11am as Great Paul, the cathedral’s gigantic main bell, peeling until the service begins as the Queen sits. It will be broadcast live on BBC1.
It will contain some of Her Majesty’s most-loved bible readings, prayers and hymns, coming to a crescendo with a new anthem by Judith Weir, the Master of the Queen’s Music. The composition will set new music to words from the third chapter of the book of Proverbs.
But the Sussexes eldest son Archie, three, and daughter Lilibet, who turns one on Saturday, are unlikely to attend the service of celebration, with only the eldest great-grandchildren expected to attend. Prince George, eight, and Princess Charlotte, seven, are expected to be with their parents alongside cousin Mia Tindall, also eight.
It came as Meghan was begged by her estranged half-sister Samantha Markle to stop ‘watching and doing nothing’ after their father Thomas was rushed to hospital after he suffered a stroke. It scuppers Mr Markle’s plans to visit London for the jubilee, where he is reported to have said to have wanted to go to Windsor to demand his daughter, Harry and their two children come out to meet him following years of estrangement. He was due to stay with Lady Colin Campbell at her stately home in West Sussex, and planned to attend Royal Ascot.
The news comes after it emerged Andrew, 62, will also take part in another Jubilee ceremony at Windsor Castle on June 13 alongside other senior royals. He will attend Garter Day ceremonies as a Royal Knight.
Nearly 700 years old, the Order is the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain. The Knights, now both male and female, used to be limited to aristocracy, but today they are chosen from a variety of backgrounds, in recognition for their public service.
The annual iconic Garter Day procession, where The Queen and the Knights process in grand velvet robes, glistening insignia and plumed hats, is one of the most traditional ceremonies in the Queen’s calendar.
The Queen is sovereign of the Order and appoints Knights of the Garter without input from ministers, meaning that Prince Andrew’s appointment was considered as private.
There are now fears Andrew’s attendance at Garter Day celebrations could overshadow the event, especially after he was said to have agreed to step back from public life following the conclusion of the case.
In years past The Queen would don luscious flowing robes which she wore throughout the public procession and Garter Day church service.
She is said to be likely to attend the ceremony in the Garter throne room and lunch in the Waterloo Chamber this year, health permitting.
The Queen and Prince Andrew are expected to be joined by The Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne and Prince Edward, among several other senior royals.
She will be among seven other senior members of the royal family including Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
News of The Duke of York’s expected attendance at Garter Day celebrations comes as it was confirmed The Queen will not take the royal salute at the Trooping the Colour next month for the first time in 70 years, as she continues to delegate responsibility to senior members of The Firm.
Her Majesty’s birthday, on June 2, has historically seen the monarch’s personal troops, the Household Division on Horse Guards Parade, with the Queen herself attending and taking the salute.
Instead this year, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Princess Royal will ride on the parade as colonels of the Welsh Guards, the Irish Guards and the Blues and Royals.
According to the Sunday Times, Her Majesty still hopes to attend some of the ceremony, which kicks off four days of celebration to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The news comes as the 96-year-old monarch continues to entrust members of the Royal Family with increased responsibilities as she faces ‘episodic mobility problems’.
Earlier this month, Her Majesty missed the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in 59 years, with Prince Charles and Prince William given power to jointly act at the event on the Queen’s behalf.
She has though made four recent public outings this month, including attending the Windsor Horse Show, star-studded Platinum Jubilee celebrations in Windsor and the opening of the Elizabeth Tube line, appearing in good spirits at all of them.
Meghan Markle’s estranged sister has begged her to stop ‘watching and doing nothing’ after their father was rushed for emergency treatment after he suffered a stroke.
Samantha Markle, 57, compared her sibling’s lack of action to ‘elder abuse’ after she was accused of failing to contact her since news first broke of Thomas Markle’s ailing heath earlier this week. Retired lighting director Mr Markle, 77, who lives in Rosarito, Mexico, was struck down and lost his speech only a week before he had been due to fly to London for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
It is not yet known whether Meghan, 40, who is estranged from him, will go to his bedside at a clinic in Chula Vista, California – only a few hours’ drive from the home she shares with Prince Harry in Montecito.
But speaking to GB News’s Dan Wootton Tonight, Samantha Markle became emotional as she spoke of Meghan’s ‘negligence’ and accused her of failing to contact the family following her father’s stroke.
‘He’s been through so much,’ she explained. ‘Two heart attacks, a pandemic and now a stroke. None of us have heard from Meghan – that’s negligence.
‘If she can’t find it in her heart or have the moral conscience to step forward then shame on her. He doesn’t have a lot of time. She’s going to have to live with that for the rest of her life’. Ms Markle was contacted for comment.
When asked by Dan if she felt Meghan should offer to help with the medical costs moving forward, Samantha said: ‘She sees all of this. I’m getting the feeling that I would be spinning my wheels to try and appeal to her heart now.
‘She could have contacted him to work things out at any time and she hasn’t. How can she watch him suffer like this? Who does that?’
Mr Markle’s blood pressure had been high in the preceding days, it was said. It means that Mr Markle will miss the celebrations in London just as he missed Meghan’s wedding to Harry in 2018 after suffering a heart attack.
Mr Markle, who lives in Rosarito, Mexico, was taken by ambulance across the border to the US at around 9.30pm on Monday.
His son Thomas Jr, 55, was with him and is at the hospital near San Diego, while Samantha was last night said to be flying in from her home in Florida.
In the footage posted online, Mr Markle is seen lying on a stretcher wearing an oxygen mask.
Two paramedics try to lift him while speaking in Spanish and ask him what his name is. Somebody behind the camera responds that his name is Thomas.
Speaking in English, one of the paramedics says: ‘I’m going to be your paramedic. You’re going to the US.’
Mr Markle was due in London next week and was to have been a guest on TV during coverage of the jubilee celebrations. The trip would have fulfilled his ‘long-held wish to visit Windsor Castle’, MailOnline’s Dan Wootton wrote.
His health, however, seems certain to have dashed that hope, just as it scuppered Mr Markle’s plans to walk Meghan down the aisle in 2018 when he was forced to pull out of the ceremony.
He underwent surgery to repair the damage and Prince Charles stood in for him, performing the father of the bride’s duties during the wedding service.