The royal family turned out en masse for the Queen’s Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral this morning—including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who arrived at the church to huge cheers drowning out lone boos, The Mirror reports. (PEOPLE refutes there were any boos at all, writing “Despite reports to the contrary, the couple did not receive any boos.”)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived smiling, hand-in-hand, and waved to the crowds assembled. Meghan wore a white belted coat dress with a dramatic collar and a matching wide-brimmed hat for the occasion.
The couple were escorted to their seats in the second row, alongside Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, and their respective husbands. Harry and Meghan sat behind Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and across the aisle from Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince William and Kate Middleton, who sat in the front row. Neither the Cambridges nor the Sussexes brought their children to the service, though longtime Sussex reporter Omid Scobie says the Queen likely had the chance to meet her namesake Lili last night at Windsor Castle.
“I think people are expecting some sort of big birthday extravagant event, that we’re going to see photographs from,” he told BBC Breakfast, per The Mirror. “From what I’m told, we shouldn’t expect anything. Those moments with Lilibet are very much private between them and the Queen and, of course, we know how much she’s been looking forward to it. Of course, we know the Queen went back to Windsor Castle yesterday. The couple went back to Windsor as well, where they’re staying at Frogmore Cottage. So that would have been the first moment or the first chance for her to meet her namesake.”
While her family gathered to give thanks for her 70 years of service as Queen, Her Majesty watched the service on television at home at Windsor Castle. After appearing at yesterday’s Trooping the Colour and later in the evening at the Beacon lighting event at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace released a statement yesterday saying the Queen would not be in attendance at the Service of Thanksgiving, saying “The Queen greatly enjoyed today’s Birthday Parade and Flypast but did experience some discomfort. Taking into account the journey and activity required to participate in tomorrow’s National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Her Majesty, with great reluctance, has concluded that she will not attend.”
The Service of Thanksgiving marks Harry and Meghan’s first major public appearance since their arrival in the U.K. earlier this week. Though in attendance at Trooping the Colour yesterday, the couple watched from the Major General’s Office with other non-working members of the royal family. According to Tatler, tomorrow—on baby Lili’s first birthday—Her Majesty will skip the Derby at Epsom Downs in favor of attending her namesake’s first birthday party at Frogmore Cottage.
This morning, Kate wore pastel yellow Emilia Wickstead and a Philip Treacy hat, and, according to PEOPLE, “William and Kate kept looking forward as they passed Prince Harry and Meghan’s pew, where they were already seated. Harry also kept his eyes forward.” (Though the brothers have not publicly interacted during the Platinum Jubilee, Marie Claire reported recently that, thanks to FaceTiming and WhatsApp, they are back on good terms.)
Following the Service of Thanksgiving, members of the royal family attended a reception at Guildhall.
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.