Last weekend was the first time we had seen a Buckingham Palace balcony moment since 2019—pre-pandemic and, well, pre-a lot of things. At the last Trooping the Colour before COVID-19 struck our world, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were very much still working royals, as was Prince Andrew. Prince Philip was still alive, and the Buckingham Palace balcony was full, packed to the brim with the Queen and her entire family.
But it was impossible not to notice how…empty the Buckingham Palace balcony looked on both the first family appearance at Trooping the Colour and, even more so, on Sunday, as the most senior of senior royals joined Her Majesty to close the four-day Platinum Jubilee.
“It’s looking a bit skeletal,” says royal expert Tina Brown, author of The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor—the Truth and the Turmoil (opens in new tab), speaking on Guardian’s podcast “Today in Focus,” per The Mirror. “They weren’t supposed to be losing Andrew or Harry, so a bit of a problem slimmed-down monarchy at the moment.”
Brown suggests that Harry may need to rejoin the monarchy in the future, as Kate and William are already “under pressure”; that they will need Harry in the future to help relieve the Firm of its massive workload.
“I think there is excessive pressure on the Cambridges at the moment, to be essentially taking up the slack for both Harry and Andrew,” Brown says. “And I do think at a certain point they are going to need Harry back, particularly probably after the Queen dies, because he was an asset.”
It has long been understood that Prince Charles, when he becomes king, wishes to have a slimmed-down and more cost-effective royal family, and Marie Claire has reported that Charles might be open to welcoming Harry and Meghan back into the fold as part-time royals when he is on the throne.
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 weekend 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.
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