The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been reunited with their families in public for the first time in over two years for the Queen’s anniversary Thanksgiving service.
Harry and Meghan arrived at St Paul’s Cathedral for the service minutes before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who arrived without their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall followed, and Charles represented the Queen.
The 96-year-old monarch was “reluctantly” forced to withdraw after experiencing “discomfort” during the first day of the celebration and will look at home in Windsor instead.
There were several other royals at the service, including Princess Anne, the Count and Countess of Wessex, Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, Zara and Mike Tindall, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie came to a mixture of cheers and bunings from the crowds, some of whom had camped overnight to see members of the royal family and senior politicians appear before the Queen.
When the guests arrived, at least two members of the Armed Forces collapsed on the steps of the cathedral and were escorted away by ambulance officers.
Both Harry and Meghan have not been seen in public with the Royals since Sussex’s last engagement as working royal families – the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in March 2020.
Since then, the couple has started a new life in Los Angeles and given a controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey who claimed that members of the royal household commented on the color of their son’s skin.
Harry also claimed that his father had stopped taking his calls and that he had not talked to his brother.
The platinum anniversary is also the first time they are back in the UK together with their daughter Lilibet – named after the queen – who turns one on Saturday.
There has been speculation that Her Majesty will take time out from official proceedings to meet her great-granddaughter for the first time.
After the Queen’s birthday parade and balcony performance at Buckingham Palace, a spokesman for the palace said the monarch would not attend St Paul’s service because of the “travel and activity required”.
Prince Andrew did not attend after he tested positive for coronavirus.
The Duke of York had been told to stay away from most of the anniversary celebrations but would be at the Thanksgiving service.
Boris Johnson reads from the Bible
The Archbishop of Canterbury was also absent after testing positive for covid.
In his place, the Archbishop of York read a sermon, followed by a passage from the Bible read by the Prime Minister.
Former British leaders, current ministers and representatives of various denominations were also among the guests, which included 400 key workers, voluntary charities and members of the Armed Forces.
There is a reception in the Guildhall after the service, with a new anthem by Master of the Queen’s Music Judith Weir.
On Saturday, the Queen is expected to take part in the Epsom derby before the party at the Palace concert in the evening.
Big anniversary lunches will take place on the streets of the UK on Sunday lunch, before the £ 15 million Anniversary Race through the streets of central London.
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