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The Duchess of Sussex put on a showstopping display as she made her first royal appearance in two years at Trooping the Colour.
Meghan Markle, 40, joined her husband Prince Harry, 37, and royals including the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall to watch the spectacular military event from the Major General’s Office overlooking the Whitehall parade ground.
The Duchess, who has travelled to the UK with her children Archie, three, and Lilibet, one, stepped out in an elegant navy blue dress and a dramatic wide-brimmed white hat complete with an oversized bow by British milliner Stephen Jones.
The mother-of-two was spotted entertaining Peter Phillips’ daughters Savannah, 11, and Isla, 10, and Mike and Zara Tindall’s girls Mia, eight, and Lena, three, as they grew bored of watching the military display.
Meghan pouted, gasped and beamed as she put on an animated display in the window. At one point she put a finger to her mouth to ‘shush’ cheeky Mia Tindall, who was on typically boisterous behaviour.
The Duchess of Sussex put on a showstopping display as she made her first royal appearance in two years at Trooping the Colour
Meghan Markle, 40, joined her husband Prince Harry, 37, and senior royal family members to watch the spectacular military event from the Major General’s Office overlooking the Whitehall parade ground
The Duchess of Sussex put on an animated display with Savannah Phillips (left), her sister Isla (behind) and Lena Tindall
Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex were seen speaking to the Queen’s cousin the Duke of Kent during Trooping the Colour
Prince Louis salutes as he watches Trooping the Colour with Princess Charlotte on a balcony at Horse Guards Parade today
Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Princess Beatrice and Prince Louis watch Trooping the Colour from a balcony today
Meghan and Harry joined a large royal group including all grandchildren of the Queen and their spouses.
As well as the Sussexes there were Princess Beatrice and her husband Edo, Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack and Anne’s children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, and their families.
The group did not include the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge or the Princess Royal. Her Majesty remained at Buckingham Palace where she took the returning cavalry’s salute from the balcony there.
Prince Andrew has been entirely cut out of proceedings and will not appear during any part of the day.
Charles took the salute as the Colour of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards was trooped and inspected the Troops of the Household Division on the monarch’s behalf. He was joined by his elder son Prince William and sister Princess Anne, with all three on horseback.
Three carriages left the forecourt of Buckingham Palace carrying members of the Royal Family down The Mall this morning, with the Duchess of Cornwall riding alongside Kate Middleton and her children in the first carriage.
George, eight, Charlotte, seven, and three-year-old Louis smiled and waved enthusiastically as they sat in a row in the carriage, known as a barouche, with Louis the youngest in the middle of his older siblings.
They were followed by the Earl and Countess of Wessex with children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn; then the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence in the third carriage.
The Queen smiles as members of the Royal Family attend Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace in London this afternoon
The Queen appears on the balcony at Buckingham Palace in London this afternoon with the Duke of Kent
The Queen points at the display from the balcony at Buckingham Palace in London this afternoon
The Cambridge children bowed their heads when the national anthem was played on their arrival into Horse Guards Parade. George was dressed in a navy suit, white shirt and blue tie for the occasion, while Louis was wearing a sailor-style white and navy top echoing an outfit worn by his father at the 1985 Trooping event.
Charlotte’s hair was down, dressed up with two fine plaits fastened with a blue ribbon, and she wore a cornflower dress. She peered out of the central window at Horse Guards Parade as Louis pointed out towards the ceremony.
The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing a white coat dress by Alexander McQueen and a hat by Philip Treacy.
Charles wore his scarlet Colonel of the Welsh Guards uniform and green thistle sash riding a horse named George. William rode on Derby in his Irish Guards uniform and Anne on a horse named Sir John in her Colonel of the Blues and Royals uniform as part of the colourful parade.
Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte are part of the procession during Trooping the Colour in London today
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, took a starring role in the royal carriage as they arrive alongside their mother the Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duchess of Cornwall today at the start of Trooping the Colour
Waves all round! The siblings offered warm waves to those who have queued – some overnight – to catch a glimpse of the royals at Buckingham Palace this morning…but Princess Charlotte wasn’t entirely happy with her little brother’s enthusiasm for greeting the gathered crowds
Cheers go up from thousands of spectators in The Mall in London as they catch sight of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis with proud parent Kate and the Duchess of Cornwall during Trooping the Colour this morning
The Duchess of Cambridge waves to the public as she arrives on a carriage to attend the Queen’s Birthday Parade today
The Duchess of Cambridge waves to the public as she arrives on a carriage to attend the Queen’s Birthday Parade today
The Duchess of Cambridge, Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Prince Louis ride in a carriage today
Royal fans cheer near Buckingham Palace during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London this morning
Crowds on The Mall ahead the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade in London this morning
Following Trooping the Colour, the royal carriages made the return journey down the Mall in preparation of the flypast.
Meanwhile the Queen, 96, exclaimed ‘incredible!’ as she stepped out onto the Buckingham Palace balcony to take the return salute. She will make a second appearance to watch the flypast at 1pm.
The Queen emerged in front of tens of thousands of cheering Britons packing the streets today as the Platinum Jubilee celebrations marking her 70-year reign began.
The 96-year-old monarch, who wore her Guards brooch and the blue Angela Kelly outfit worn in her official Platinum Jubilee portrait released last night, took the salute this afternoon after arriving from Windsor Castle.
Meghan has not seen any of the family since she and her husband acrimoniously quit as working royals and moved to North America in early 2020, while the prince only saw them very briefly at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last year.
The last public occasion the Sussexes attended together in the UK was the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in March 2020 when the atmosphere could not have been more awkward. William and Kate virtually blanked Harry and Meghan that day, leaving Prince Edward and Sophie to try to keep the peace.
Lady Louise Windsor was the picture of poise as she joined her parents and younger brother for The Queen’s Birthday Parade to kick off the Platinum Jubilee celebrations
The Queen’s granddaughter, 18, looked elegant in a pink floral dress as she took her seat alongside Prince Edward, the Countess of Wessex and James, Viscount Severn, 14, for the procession down The Mall
Despite not yet being old enough to be a senior working member of the royal family, Lady Louise was invited to join in the celebrations alongside her parents and brother
Charles is taking the salute as the Colour of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards is trooped and inspect the Troops of the Household Division on the monarch’s behalf. He is joined by his elder son and sister, with all three on horseback
Princess Anne, Princess Royal rides horseback during the Trooping the Colour parade in London this morning
Brigade major James Shaw (centre, top) leads members of the Household Cavalry to Horse Guards Parade this morning
People gather along The Mall for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London this morning
Fortunately William, who has been most deeply affected by his brother’s actions and has struggled to hide his hurt, will not be forced to greet the couple in public. And Kate proved to be an admirable peacemaker when she made a point of breaking the ice and speaking to Harry after the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.
Harry and Meghan are staying with their children at their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage. They had always been expected to join the congregation for tomorrow’s service of thanksgiving for the Queen’s 70-year reign at St Paul’s Cathedral, but their participation with Trooping is seen as an additional olive branch from Her Majesty.
The Major General’s Office – once used by the Duke of Wellington – spreads out over the entrance to Horse Guards. It is where dignitaries traditionally watch from if they are not involved in the parade proceedings.
Yesterday, the Queen sent a car and a security detail to collect Harry, Meghan, Archie and Lilibet after their private jet landed in the UK from California, ahead of her celebrations.
Lilibet has never been in the UK – or met any of her British family – while Archie, who was born in Britain, has not been here since he was a baby.
In the latest sign that hostilities between The Firm and the Sussexes are thawing, Her Majesty’s Land Rover greeted the family and their children at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire before taking them to Frogmore Cottage.
An insider told The Sun that ‘the Queen believed it was the right thing to do’ to send her car to meet her grandson and his family. The couple’s Embraer private jet landing at Farnborough, and the Queen’s black Land Rover – escorted by a Volkswagen people carrier – driving onto the tarmac.
It is thought the family were believed to have got into the blacked-out VW car, and that they travelled without their customary entourage or senior staff working for their Archewell charity. It also said Netflix camera crews – who have been following the couple for an £11million documentary – stayed behind.
Harry, Meghan and their two children were not given a police escort for the 40-minutes drive from Farnborough to Windsor.
Lilibet will turn one on Saturday, with a party expected at Frogmore likely to be attended by royals such as Princess Eugenie, who is close to Harry and Meghan, and the Queen could also pop in if she doesn’t attend the Epsom Derby. It will be the first time the monarch will meet the great-granddaughter named after her.
But Prince William and Kate will not be there because they will be representing Her Majesty in Cardiff as senior working royals are sent to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to mark the monarch’s 70 years on the throne.
Harry and Meghan are expected to attend the Service of Thanksgiving with the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday morning – as well as the BBC’s Party at the Palace the following evening, the report claimed.
But the sources added that the Sussexes will not conduct their own programme of events while in Britain to avoid overshadowing the four-day weekend of celebrations for the 70-year reign of Harry’s 96-year-old grandmother.
This suggests that they may stay in the grounds of Windsor Castle, where they will be protected by armed police at all times. But this will not extend to while they are out at private events such as socialising with friends at restaurants and pubs or going to the shops.
A record 12million people are gearing up for outdoor parties held in the Queen’s honour, in scenes sure to be reminiscent of the Coronation seven decades ago.
And crowds of royal ‘superfans’ have been lining The Mall near Buckingham Palace to get the best views for Trooping the Colour today and a special Pageant celebrating the life of the nation’s longest-reigning monarch on Sunday.
Forecasters are expecting glorious sunshine on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but showers in London and the South East on Sunday.
However, the excitement is so palpable that plucky Britons are shrugging off fears of downpours, and are instead preparing to throw their parties in their garages if the rain pours.
And people are ignoring council spoilsports who are threatening OAPs with punitive fines if they dare hang patriotic bunting across their streets, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged local authorities to calm down and approve 11th hour requests for street parties.
Just 16,000 applications to close roads for parties have been approved across the country, and unofficial Jubilee street bashes could be broken up by police if they block traffic.