Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee: Live Updates

Credit…Daniel Leal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

LONDON — After the military pomp and pageantry of Thursday’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations to honor Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years as British monarch, a service Friday at St Paul’s Cathedral in central London should be the first major public appearance at the jubilee of his grandson Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan.

The timing will be closely watched by royal watchers and the British media, given the well-known tensions within the family.

Prince Harry gave up his royal status in 2020 when the couple left Britain to live in Southern California. The following year, they gave an explosive interview to Oprah Winfrey in which Meghan suggested she had experienced racism within the royal household and Harry said that his brother, Prince William, and his father, the Prince Charles, were “trapped” in their roles.

The Queen was originally scheduled to attend Friday’s event, but Buckingham Palace said on Thursday evening that she had decided to skip the service after feeling unwell on a busy first day of festivities. The palace said the queen “enjoyed” the military parade which marked her birthday, but “felt some discomfort”.

“Given the travel and activity required to participate in tomorrow’s national service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Her Majesty has concluded with great reluctance that she will not attend,” the official said. palace in a statement.

The Queen appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace twice on Thursday, bringing together four generations of the British royal family in what was the symbolic centerpiece of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

She was joined by three heirs to the British throne: her eldest son, Prince Charles; his eldest son, Prince William; and William’s eldest son, Prince George. Also on the balcony were two of the Queen’s other children, Princess Anne and Prince Edward.

It was a more streamlined assembly of royals than in previous jubilee years, with Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son, and Prince Harry absent from the balcony. Buckingham Palace announced the lineup well in advance, seeking to avoid weeks of speculation over whether they would be invited.

Andrew, scarred by his association with Jeffrey Epstein, the deceased financier and convicted sex offender, was sent into a form of internal exile. And on Thursday, the palace said Andrew had tested positive for coronavirus and would miss Friday’s thanksgiving service.

The Queen had made a surprise appearance on the balcony earlier on Thursday to inspect the parade troops. She was joined in this by the Duke of Kent, who is familiar to viewers for his annual appearances at the Wimbledon tennis tournament. (He has since resigned as chairman of the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.)

She also led the lighting of the Platinum Jubilee Beacon on Thursday evening from Windsor Castle, in a double ceremony with Prince William.

Friday’s service of thanksgiving is meant to illustrate the Queen’s special role in British life as head of state and head of the Church of England. Leading diplomats and politicians including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his surviving predecessors and opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer are also invited to be among the nearly 400 people attending.

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