Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their children have arrived in the UK, marking daughter Lilibet’s first time in the country, ahead of tomorrow’s Trooping the Colour — the first of the Platinum Jubilee events.
The Sussexes left LAX airport with their children Archie and Lilibet, who will meet her great-grandmother for the first time as she turns one on Saturday.
The family of four landed in a London airport this afternoon, with a small team of staffers, Page Six reported.
It is understood that they flew on a commercial plane from Los Angeles. One source suggested they left overnight last night, and would have been landing in London this afternoon after a 12 hour flight — just months after Harry claimed he was ‘unable to return home’ because is too dangerous.
On June 4, their daughter Lilibet will be marking her first birthday. The Queen is likely to miss her favourite sporting event, the Derby horse races at Epsom, for the little one’s celebrations, as she meets her for the first time.
While the couple are expected to attend Trooping the Colour as spectators tomorrow, Andrew will not, a military source told MailOnline.
As colonel of the Grenadier Guards, Andrew has previously played a key role in the ceremony, riding out by the Queen’s side as the regiment’s representative.
Since being stripped of the title earlier this year the Duke of York was not expected to play an active part in the event, but the possibility of him appearing with other royals on Horse Guards Parade as a spectator had previously been left open.
Both Andrew and the Sussexes have already been barred from appearing on the Buckingham Palace to watch the RAF Red Arrows’ flypast.
As Britain prepares for the Platinum Jubilee weekend:
- Plucky Brits vow to celebrate Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with street parties, four days of celebrations and miles of bunting despite councils, gloomy forecast and advice to party indoors threatening to dampen mood;
- Security experts said Harry and Meghan may hold up inside Frogmore Cottage over the bank holiday and only leave to attend two Platinum Jubilee events because they are being denied VIP 24/7 armed protection from British police;
- The Queen was caught in mid-air drama as a thunderstorm forced her private jet to abort its landing in London and circle over the capital for 15 minutes;
- Princess Eugenie paid a moving personal tribute to her ‘grannie’ the Queen on the eve of the monarch’s historic Platinum Jubilee celebrations;
Prince Harry , Meghan Markle and their children have arrived in the UK, marking daughter Lilibet’s first time in the country, ahead of tomorrow’s Trooping the Colour
The family of four landed in a London airport this afternoon, with a small team of staffers, Page Six reported
Harry and Meghan pictured together at a volleyball event during the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark in April
In April the couple employed Christopher Sanchez, a burly former bodyguard to President Obama, pictured with grey hair behind the duchess who kept an eye on them at Invictus
The Sussexes are expected to stay at Frogmore Cottage, where they will hold a small party for Lilibet that may be attended by the Queen
Prince Andrew is not expected to attend Trooping the Colour after being snubbed for the most important military event of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, MailOnline can reveal
As colonel of the Grenadier Guards, Andrew has previously played a key role in the ceremony, riding out by the Queen’s side as the regiment’s representative – pictured at Trooping the Colour in 2019
The Duke of York, 62, who has largely withdrawn from public life following his out-of-court settlement with his sex assault accuser Virginia Roberts earlier this year, today broke cover to ride around the grounds of Windsor (pictured)
It came as security experts predicted the Sussexes may hold up inside Frogmore Cottage over the bank holiday and only leave to attend two Platinum Jubilee events because they are being denied VIP 24/7 armed protection from British police.
After a secret visit to see the Queen at Windsor Castle in late April, the sixth in the line to the throne has received ‘cast iron assurances’ that he, Meghan, Archie and Lilibet will be protected during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations that begin tomorrow and end on Sunday. It is only the second time Meghan has returned to the UK after they sensationally quit their royal roles in 2020.
Simon Morgan, a former royal protection officer, told MailOnline today that Harry would have no way of influencing the decision made by MI5, the Home Office and the Foreign Office, even if he put pressure on his grandmother to intervene. As a result they may be forced to keep a ‘low profile’ during their stay and not organise their own events.
Mr Morgan, who now runs the security business Trojan Consultancy, said: ‘If they are staying at Frogmore Cottage they are going to be extremely secure there and that may be why they are not doing anything away from the main Platinum Jubilee events because they will not have protection for that’.
The couple 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. Simon Morgan expects they will be given armed protection at these events, and on the journey to and from Windsor due to the security operation planned for the jubilee.
‘The jubilee is one of the highest risk events for years – and the Met have a duty of care to protect those attending, especially the royal family and foreign dignitaries’, Mr Morgan said.
British officers will stand guard at Frogmore Cottage, where they will be protected 24/7. But this will not extend to private events such as socialising with friends at restaurants and pubs or going to the shops off the Queen’s Windsor Castle estate.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are thought to be travelling without any senior staff and just a small security team, having left their most trusted workers back home in California, according to people with knowledge of their travel plans.
Their bodyguards, which have included those responsible for the security of Barack Obama and Michael Jackson, will not be able to carry guns in the UK and the Metropolitan Police will have primacy on security matters as soon as they step off the plane.
The Met’s Royalty and Specialist Protection unit is understood to have spent weeks liaising with Harry’s team to guarantee taxpayer-funded officers look after them as much as is allowed, The Mirror reports.
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.
The UK’s stance is in contrast with the couple’s treatment at the Invictus Games in Holland in April, where they were afforded VVIP status.
A former US presidential secret service agent was assigned to lead close protection for the couple and armed protection officers who usually guard the King of the Netherlands provided security outside of the venue. A Land Rover with two other private security guards drove with Harry and Meghan’s vehicle, with an unmarked car containing two members of the Dutch Royal protection squad.
Security experts including Mr Morgan said at the time they ‘couldn’t fathom’ why Harry felt safe in Holland but not in the UK.
Harry, 37, is taking legal action against the Home Office after being stripped of permanent police protection after quitting as a frontline royal.
Harry has since claimed he does not feel safe under these security arrangements when bringing his family to the UK and was ‘unable to return home’ over fears it is too dangerous. He had even offered to pay for British police bodyguards himself – but the Met said that their officers cannot be paid for.
Harry and Meghan pictured with son Archie, three, and daughter Lilibet, who will turn one this weekend
Sources told The Mirror that he has always been ‘in favour’ of returning to the UK for the Queen’s celebrations, despite the Met insisting its officers are not ‘guns for hire’.
At their US home, Harry and Meghan are protected by a 24-hour security team, including 12 former special forces personnel.
A source said: ‘For Harry, this has always been about protecting his family.
‘He has been in constant contact with the relevant parties and made it very clear that he wouldn’t travel without receiving cast iron assurances over the safety of his family.
‘He is satisfied the right procedures are in place and they are all very much looking forward to this week’s celebrations and of course getting to spend time with Her Majesty.’
It comes after the couple met the monarch in a brief secret meeting with Prince Charles before they flew out to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands earlier this month.
At the meeting, Harry and Meghan promised they would introduce the Queen to Lilibet, who is named after her.
With the Queen expected to pace herself over the four-day bank holiday weekend, extended so the nation can celebrate the jubilee, there is speculation she will not travel to Epsom racecourse for the Derby on Saturday as she does not have a runner, although another of her thoroughbreds is entered in a race.
The day could be the perfect opportunity for the royal family to gather to celebrate the christening of Lilibet at Windsor Castle on the child’s first birthday.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment on the reports and said: ‘Frogmore Cottage remains the UK home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.’
The Mail revealed on Saturday that the Queen is set to spend time with the family on Saturday to celebrate Lilibet’s birthday.
She has never met her great-granddaughter and not seen Archie in person since he was a baby and taken by his parents to Canada and then the US.
There has also been speculation that the couple may try to get Lilibet christened while they are here in the private chapel at Windsor Castle, where Archie was also christened in 2019.
And earlier this week, he shared a post praising the Duke on Instagram, writing: ‘What a joy to see you smile and be so happy. I love being your teammate.’
Members of the public walk along the Mall ahead of the upcoming Jubilee events, on June 1, 2022 in London
The Queen arriving back in Windsor after a short break at Balmoral ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations
Meanwhile, With just one day before the start of the special bank holiday weekend to mark Her Majesty’s astonishing 70 years on the throne, the UK has gone ‘Jubilee-mad’ as people drape their gardens in Union flags and even knit life-sized figures of the beloved monarch.
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 already been lining The Mall near Buckingham Palace to get the best views for Trooping the Colour on Thursday 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.
Meanwhile the royal household will be making final preparations for the four-day bonanza. The Queen, who enjoyed a pre-Jubilee break in Balmoral ahead of the weekend, has arrived at Windsor and is expected to delight crowds with an appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony – at the start of celebrations after Trooping the Colour on Thursday. It is also expected that she will appear again on the balcony after the Pageant parade finale on Sunday.
The 96-year-old monarch is also hoping to be able attend the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, with her wider family including – it is expected – Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and the Duke of York. The Sussexes are now just hours from arriving at Windsor having jetted out of California for the Jubilee, MailOnline revealed today.
However, Prince Andrew is not expected to attend Trooping the Colour after being snubbed for the most important military event of the Jubilee.
Phil Smith said there were a ‘dozen or so Queens dotted about’ (including this one, left) including several likenesses of the singer Prince
The council killjoys ruining Jubilee fun: Berkshire bans residents from hanging banners on lamposts and Dorset threatens to fine pensioner over bunting
Council killjoys warned bunting poses a hazard to large vehicles and could even cause metal lampposts to snap. Pictured: Bunting on Jubilee Road, Poole
Council killjoys have returned in force just a day before Platinum Jubilee celebrations kickoff as they warned bunting poses a hazard to large vehicles and could even cause metal lampposts to snap.
Bureaucrats at West Berkshire and Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Councils were accused of causing fresh health and safety headaches for hundreds of thousands of residents preparing to mark Her Majesty’s 70 years on the throne.
Flags, signs and banners have all been banned from being displayed from West Berkshire’s lampposts because they could be broken by the weight of a person using a stepladder resting against them.
The area’s 150,000 residents were warned council bosses fear they could be sued if a person attaching decorations topples from a lamppost and causes an accident.
An estimated 16,000 events celebrating the Queen’s 70th year on the throne have been given the green light with up to 15million people are expected to attend celebrations across the four-day bank holiday weekend. Pictured: Library image of a party with Union Jack bunting
One local resident, who did not wish to be named, bemoaned: ‘It’s health and safety gone mad.’
Elsewhere, residents living in the aptly named Jubilee Road in Dorset, Poole, were warned bunting should not be low-hanging because it would pose a hazard to large commercial vehicles and lorries.
Retired Merchant Navy officer Jeff Williams, 75, even received a visit from a disgruntled local council officer after hanging 100ft length of bunting across the street that did not conform to regulations.
Mr Williams said it was ‘laughable’ that he had to try and make the harmless bunting higher or take it down.
He said that if it remains as it is, he fears he could be fined up to £200 for breaching the Highway Act of 1980.
The four-day bank holiday will start off fine and bright for most, with Thursday, when the official programme kicks off with the Trooping the Colour military spectacle in central London, the best day for people across the country to enjoy street parties, barbecues and other outdoor events. However rain is likely to put some plans in danger in western Scotland and Northern Ireland.
A few showers could spread across the south of the UK throughout the day, while some sunshine is expected in other areas.
Saturday looks dry, with temperatures in the low 20s and spells of sunshine for much of the country as an area of high pressure moves in.
However, there is a risk of some heavy showers to areas ‘south of the M4’ in England, Mr Claydon said, threatening the Epsom Derby and later the BBC’s Party at the Palace open-air concert.
Sunday promises to be dry and bright for many of the millions gathering at more than 200,000 special lunches due to be held that day.
There is still a possibility that people might need their umbrellas, with a chance that the warm air edges back into the south east and brings rain to the Jubilee Pageant parade through the streets of London.
‘If you were to look at the northern portion of the UK, it’s a fairly decent long weekend, but the uncertainty and the chance of heavy showers in the south is still up for grabs,’ Mr Claydon said.
The Met Office urged Britons heading outdoors to pack sunglasses and sun cream, as UV levels will be high when the June sun does appear.
‘For the four days there’ll be a lot of dry weather around. Yes, still some showers here and there… but many places will see sunny spells and certainly after a cool start this week it is going to be feeling warmer,’ Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said.
Meanwhile the excitement is spreading, with streets set to be covered in hundreds of miles of bunting as manufacturers revealed a “massive” spike in demand ahead of the Platinum Jubilee.
One company said sales had risen “thirtyfold” in the last month, while others warned they were running out of stock. The Hampshire Flag Company said it had just “a few” decorations left, despite preparing “way in advance” for a surge in orders. Extra bunting that it manufactured to cope with Jubilee demand sold out by February.
“We’ve done about 200 miles of bunting in the last three months,” said marketing manager Rod Sessions.
The firm usually sells “about 50 miles” in the first three or four months of the year, he added.
Tesco, which expected to sell 60,000 rolls of bunting in the week leading up to the Jubilee, was also running low.
“Anyone interested in buying any should check with their local store first,” a spokesman for Britain’s biggest supermarket said. “It’s been extremely popular and we’re coming near the end of our stocks.”
Bunting Warehouse, a Leicestershire manufacturer, said the “incredible” demand was higher than at any point since 2012’s Diamond Jubilee.
“We’ve sold somewhere in the region of 90 to 100km of bunting in the last month,” director Tim Turner said. “It’s twentyfold what we normally do, thirtyfold what we normally do.”
Its most popular options were of the Union Flag and Platinum Jubilee logo, which features a crown on an imperial purple background. “We’ve done in the region of 30km of just the Jubilee design,” Mr Turner said.
Sodden royal superfans down The Mall were chirpy even after they were lashed by downpours overnight.
Waving from their tents after their first night of camping yesterday, John Loughrey, 67, who lives in South London , said he first fell in love with the monarchy as a child in the 1960s, and has met the Queen twice, once at Windsor Castle when he gave her a rose for each member of her family.
He added: ‘She goes out of her way to meet people. I said to Her Majesty, ‘we are very proud of you and you are always in our hearts’. She has seen so much history. She has had a long life, always been there for the Commonwealth and done her duty.’
Maria Scott, 51, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, added: ‘The police know us because we always come out at royal events. They have no problems with us doing it.
‘When the rain goes away we normally have lots of people coming by to chat to us. They think it’s wonderful how patriotic we are and it’s wonderful meeting people from so many different countries. I think the Queen is amazing. She has been very strong over the years and through her life. She is the backbone of the country.’
Mary-Jane Willows, 68, a retired charity executive from Cornwall, said she first camped out for the Diamond Jubilee, followed by the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Queen’s 90th birthday.
‘Several of us met at those events and have stayed friends ever since,’ she said.
She inherited her love of the royal family from her mother, along with an original copy of the Queen’s coronation album.
Mary-Jane said she was camping out this time to thank the Queen for 70 years of service.
‘She has given 70 years of her life to serve us, the country,’ she said. ‘That’s what she said at her coronation and she’s done it every second of every day. She’s never taken a wrong step, and so we’re here to thank her and to celebrate.’
With Mary was her friend Donna Werner, 70, from Connecticut. They met while camping out at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding, and have remained friends.
Royal fans next to their tents they have set up to camp outside Buckingham Palace, May 31, 2022
Meanwhile, Yorkshire community group Westwoodside Pond Lights has been turning hay bales into royal displays