After last week’s face-to-face meeting with the Queen, and their successful weekend at the Invictus Games, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have now reportedly been invited to appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the platinum celebrations.
Whether Harry and Meghan will choose to accept the invitation and fly to the UK for the June celebrations is not yet known. Duke is still involved in legal action with the Home Office over security for him and his family while in the UK.
But despite the controversy over the couple’s statements critical of the royal family in interviews since stepping down as a working royal, it appears the Queen, who celebrates her 96th birthday on Thursday, firmly believes that family conquers all.
The invitation to join other royals for a balcony appearance, which looks set to take place at the troop of color anniversary parade, is said to have been issued after a modest visit to the Queen by the Sussexes during the couple’s quick stop. at Windsor Castle en route to the Netherlands, where the Invictus Games for injured service personnel were held this year. The couple also had a brief meeting with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Harry later told the BBC it was “very nice” to see his grandmother. There are unconfirmed reports that he and Meghan have promised the king that he will meet grandson Archie and Lilibet “in the near future”, suggesting they may be considering a return to the four-day jubilee bank holiday.
As out-of-work nobles, they wouldn’t be playing a formal role in the Jubilee celebrations, but since the balcony appearance would be a “general family gathering”, it seemed that this would be an ideal time for a public show of family rapprochement.
“I think the ice broke at Windsor last week, if completely or not we’ll never know, but at least it was the main course,” said Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine. “But is he coming back? Well, you kind of hope so for the sake of his grandma.”
The balcony appearance has been used previously by the royal family to signify a certain message. At the end of the jubilee the diamond was seen as symbolic of the very limited number of the Queen, Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and Harry. This is widely interpreted as a physical manifestation of the “downsized” monarchy that Charles proposed.
The performance came immediately after the St Paul’s thanksgiving service, and the Westminster Hall lunch was followed by a carriage procession for the most senior royals back to Buckingham Palace.
This jubilee has a different format. The birthday parade appears to be the only occasion for a balcony appearance where, traditionally, the Queen’s extended family gathers to watch fly-past. Looks like it could also be the last big family balcony appearance from his reign.
“So I see no reason for Harry and Meghan not to be there. The queen has a large family on the balcony usually, working and not working. It’s just standing room. And, again, I see no reason for the Duke of York not to be there, as a member of the extended family,” Little said.
It’s possible that it’s the only occasion when the public sees the Queen, who has mobility issues, in person during the Jubilee, with the younger royals perhaps standing up for her at another event. Trooping is difficult logistically.
In the past, he had arrived by carriage and inspected the troops from the pulpit. It was possible, to aid his comfort, he had remained in his carriage. But it’s also possible that his role was limited to watching the procession from Buckingham Palace on his return from the Horse Guards Parade ahead of the fly-by. And, although he hopes to attend a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s, there are many steps to negotiate.