The Queen will welcome Harry and Meghan with open arms next week as her entire family gathers to celebrate her historic Platinum Jubilee.
Sources say the 96-year-old monarch is ‘looking forward’ to seeing her great-grandchildren, Archie and Lilibet. She is likely to spend time with them privately next Saturday, when Lilibet celebrates her first birthday.
The sovereign has made it clear she does not want any family dramas to overshadow next weekend’s four-day national celebration.
The Queen will welcome Harry and Meghan with open arms next week as her entire family gathers to celebrate her historic Platinum Jubilee
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their children are set to stay at Frogmore Cottage, their Windsor home – a short drive from the Queen’s private apartments at the castle.
The modest monarch wants the Jubilee bank holiday weekend, which runs from Thursday to Sunday, to be ‘an occasion in which the country, including her own family, comes together’, a source said
One insider stressed: ‘Her Majesty is typically very keen that the Platinum Jubilee be a celebration not of herself and her own longevity, but of the institution of the monarchy and the people that support and sustain it
The modest monarch wants the Jubilee bank holiday weekend, which runs from Thursday to Sunday, to be ‘an occasion in which the country, including her own family, comes together’, a source said. Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, will attend the national Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday. It is understood the Sussexes are likely to attend at least one other public engagement – although sources have strongly warned that the public should ‘not expect them at every event’.
They will also spend time with Royal Family members privately, introducing the Prince of Wales to Lilibet for the first time. He has not seen Archie, three, since he was a baby. It is unclear whether the Sussexes will spend time alone with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children. William is known to have been hit hardest by his brother’s perceived betrayal.
One insider stressed: ‘Her Majesty is typically very keen that the Platinum Jubilee be a celebration not of herself and her own longevity, but of the institution of the monarchy and the people that support and sustain it.
‘It is also a chance for people to come together after a very difficult period for this country. She doesn’t want anything to overshadow it – and that includes any family issues.’
As the nation prepares to celebrate the Queen’s unprecedented 70 years on the throne:
- Britons are predicted to spend £3 billion over the Jubilee weekend;
- An estimated 16,000 street parties will be held across England;
- The Met Office says a ‘plume of warm air’ will bring widespread sunshine for the bank holiday;
- But travellers were warned to expect a week of disruption on roads, trains and at airports.
It is understood other members of the Royal Family support the Queen’s magnanimous gesture towards the Sussexes, although, privately, there are nerves about how the week will turn out.
Meghan has not seen most of them since she acrimoniously quit as a working royal two years ago, while Harry has only briefly seen his grandmother, father and brother.
There is also still a great deal of hurt over the couple’s repeated attacks on the family.
The Queen – who is in Scotland enjoying a break at Balmoral as part of attempts to ‘pace’ her diary – has always made clear that Harry and Meghan are ‘much loved’ members of her family, despite the pain they have caused. She chose to invite only working royals – as well as William and Kate’s children – on to the Buckingham Palace balcony for Trooping the Colour on Thursday in a bid to avoid any public family awkwardness, particularly so early in the weekend of celebrations.
But there have been suggestions that Harry and Meghan could be in the VIP section to watch the spectacular military event in Horse Guards Parade. They will definitely be at the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s on Friday.
Another issue is where to seat the Sussexes: should they take their place in the Royal Box at events and if so, who will they be next to in terms of family dynamics and body language, bearing in mind the eyes of the world will be upon them?
It is not known if the couple will be accompanied by a camera crew from Netflix or personal photographers to document their trip to England. But they would be given no special treatment if they did.
A spokesman for the Sussexes said: ‘The duke and duchess are excited and honoured to attend the Jubilee celebrations.’
On the trail of colossus corgis
Jubilee visitors to London can follow in the paw prints of the Queen’s most faithful friends.
A trail of 19 giant corgi statues are being installed across the capital, each one in different designs by various artists.
Up to six and a half foot long, they will be located in public spaces, gardens, stations and windows from Victoria station to the Royal Courts of Justice.
Visitors can follow clues, or a special map, to locate each corgi, which will be auctioned for charity in the autumn.
A trail of 19 giant corgi statues are being installed across the capital, each one in different designs by various artists
Red, white and ooh! Union jack blooms
Green-fingered Britons are celebrating the Platinum Jubilee with patriotic planting of red, white and blue flowers.
Garden centre bosses said floral displays in the colours of the Union Jack are proving popular as families prepare for jubilee garden parties. Commemorative Queen Elizabeth II and jubilee roses are also selling well. Horticultural Trades Association president Boyd Douglas-Davies said: ‘Red, white and blue plants are flying out.’
Green-fingered Britons are celebrating the Platinum Jubilee with patriotic planting of red, white and blue flowers
Revellers to soak up right royal sunshine
A plume of warm air is set to bring widespread sunshine for the Jubilee bank holiday.
Forecasters predict ‘plenty of dry weather with sunny spells’ and it will ‘feel warm in the sunshine’, with temperatures likely to reach the low 20s Celsius. There will be a chance of showers in some parts of the UK.
Richard Miles, of the Met Office, said: ‘The interaction between (warm air) and an area of low pressure moving north from the Bay of Biscay is what could cause the showers.
‘It looks as if we might have a west/east split. Our modelling… favours drier conditions in the west, with the east and north receiving the slightly showery weather.’
The mostly upbeat forecast comes after northerly airflow brings chilly, cloudy and showery days for the end of May.
The Met Office’s Dan Rudman said: ‘What we’re keeping an eye on is how a plume of warm air behaves later in the week, which… could also bring some showers as it moves in from the south and travels north on Thursday and Friday.’