Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are not expected to attend the Royal Family’s commemorations at Balmoral to mark a year since the death of the late Queen, it was reported last night.
King Charles and Queen Camilla are expected to mark the poignant one-year anniversary on September 8 at the Scottish estate surrounded by family, among them Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex received no ‘outreach’ from senior royals despite their planned appearance in Düsseldorf, Germany the day after the commemoration, where they are due to kick off the Invictus Games, sources have claimed. An insider told the Sun: ‘If they are not included in any of those plans they will find a way to mark the significance in their own way.’
Relations between Charles and Harry are thought to still not be good after the Duke launched a string of attacks on the Royal Family with his bombshell memoir Spare and a flurry of media interviews to promote the book.
It is believed that contact between Prince William and his brother is non-existent and there doesn’t seem to be a reconciliation in the offing any time soon.
‘You can read the room on that as to where things are [between them],’ says a source.
Harry and Meghan walking behind Charles and Camilla as Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin was transferred from the gun carriage to the hearse at Wellington Arch on September 19, 2022
William, Kate, Harry and Meghan meeting members of the public on the long Walk at Windsor Castle on September 10, 2022
Among the extended Windsor clan who are due to stay at Balmoral this year, however, are the Prince and Princess of Wales with George, Charlotte and Louis; the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and their teenage children, Louise and James; Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, along with her son Peter Phillips and daughter Zara Tindall, both with their broods; and Charles’s cousin, Lady Sarah Chatto.
The beleaguered Duke of York will also be spending time up there with his daughters, Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, and their young families.
There had been some question over whether Andrew might join the family gathering at all following the late Queen’s
‘There are a large number of properties around the estate so not everyone needs to stay at Balmoral Castle itself,’ one insider has remarked, adding tactfully that they don’t even have to bump into each other if they don’t want to.
King Charles and Queen Camilla are expected to mark the poignant one-year anniversary on September 8 at Balmoral Castle (pictured)
Charles will spend the first week of August at the Castle of Mey in Caithness, the former home of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, before being joined at Birkhall by his wife.
But there are practical difficulties to admitting the public. Balmoral is a fairly ‘fragile’ building despite its solid appearance, with little in the way of public conveniences and it needs updating. As one source says: ‘You can’t just throw open the doors and say, ‘Come in chaps’.
‘Quite a lot of things have stayed the way they are because Her late Majesty was in the last years of her life and it was entirely right that she had peace, quiet, comfort and familiarity.
‘Between that and Covid, a lot of building projects have been put off. Ways are being looked at of increasing [public] access but those are still being sketched out.
‘People like the fact that the castle is an authentic royal residence that the family still use.’
Despite decades of planning for the late Queen’s death, sources say it actually happened ‘so quickly’ that courtiers and royals were, inevitably, caught on the hop.
‘It really did,’ they insist. Only a day or two earlier, after all, we had that extraordinary and moving final photograph of Queen Elizabeth greeting then prime minister Liz Truss in her private apartments.
The result was that the monarchy had to ‘build the plane while flying it’, to borrow a palace colloquialism, ripping up existing diaries, long-planned foreign visits and domestic commitments, as well as merging two large, well-established households.