Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Presence "Cast a Shadow" Over the Jubilee for the Royal Family: Expert


Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Zara Phillips leave after attending the National Service of Thanksgiving for The Queen's reign at Saint Paul's Cathedral in London on June 3, 2022 as part of Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee celebrations. - Queen Elizabeth II kicked off the first of four days of celebrations marking her record-breaking 70 years on the throne, to cheering crowds of tens of thousands of people. But the 96-year-old sovereign's appearance at the Platinum Jubilee -- a milestone never previously reached by a British monarch -- took its toll, forcing her to pull out of a planned church service.
(Image credit: Photo by Daniel Leal / Getty)

Despite what I'm sure were good intentions from all parties, the Jubilee weekend did nothing to assuage the tension between the Sussexes and the rest of the Royal Family.

On their first official family trip to the U.K. since they moved to California, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were largely snubbed—whether or not this was intentional is complicated by the simple fact of everyone's busy Jubilee schedule. In practice, that looked like Harry not getting to spend any one-on-one time with his brother Prince William, and the couple getting a grand total of 15 minutes of private audience with the Queen herself.

The Duke of Sussex' cousin Zara Tindall was among the only royals to acknowledge him and his wife publicly at the service of Thanksgiving on the Friday.

For royal expert Duncan Larcombe, this frosty reception was no coincidence: He believes the Sussexes' presence will have awoken a whole host of uncomfortable feelings for other royals during the long weekend.

"[While] the royals may have put on a united front, there will, without a doubt, have been a lot of tension, awkwardness and wariness behind-the-scenes," Larcombe says in this week's Closer.

"Ultimately, Harry and Meghan's presence will have been problematic, because of the fact that there has been a huge amount of trust broken.

"I can't imagine there will have been a great deal of interaction, or any heart-to-hearts, as the royals will wonder if anything they say may end up as a chapter in Harry's memoir, or on a future podcast."

For Larcombe, the royals just don't really know how to navigate a member of their family being so directly involved with the media—including lucrative deals with Spotify and Netflix.

"It's unchartered territory for the royals, really—they've never had one of their own 'in bed' with streaming giants or publishing houses before," the expert says.

Still, the author believes it was overall a good thing that the Sussexes bothered to make the trip to the U.K.—it just isn't that straightforward.

"I think it's great they were there, as obviously the Queen has a real soft spot for Harry," he explains. "But I think it will have been tense and cast a bit of a shadow over the whole thing for the royals."

Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.