Prince Harry grins as he holds hands with Meghan Markle in Royal return – but keep their distance from Kate and Wills


PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle looked happy to be back on home turf today at a special service of thanksgiving for the Queen.

Cheers erupted as the “nervous” couple arrived hand-in-hand at St Paul’s Cathedral to mark Her Majesty’s momentous 70-year reign.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry arrive for the service of thanksgiving
The Duchess of Sussex beams as she walked up the steps at St Paul’s Cathedral

Meghan and Harry sitting on opposite sides of the aisle to Kate, Wills and Charles

Kate waves to crowds outside the cathedral

The Sussexes joined William, Kate and other royals for their first official event since Megxit on day two of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

And they seemed at ease throughout the high-profile occasion – sharing smiles and jokes with family members and other attendees.

Harry and Meg did, however, keep their distance from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who were seated on the opposite side of the aisle.

After arriving separately, the grinning Sussexes took their places in the second row of the congregation next to Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, while Kate and Wills were in the front row on the other side.



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The monarch herself was not in attendance after experiencing “discomfort” during yesterday’s festivities.   

But most other members of the Firm – minus Andrew who has Covid – gathered in London for the occasion.

Meghan, dressed in cream, beamed at the crowds outside the cathedral moments before Kate, wearing a pale yellow Emilia Wickstead dress, walked up the steps and waved.

The Sussexes then had to squeeze past his cousins and their husbands Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and Jack Brooksbank, who were already seated, to get to their places.

The duke was spotted with his mouth open, appearing to be enjoying a joke with another royal seated across the aisle.

Beatrice, a few seats down, was also grinning in the same direction.

Charles and Camilla were the last royals to arrive, stopping to speak with members of the clergy before making their way to their seats in the front row.

On their walk, Charles paused to blow his daughter-in-law a kiss.

Neither Harry, 37, nor Meghan, 40, were in the royal procession, which was limited to select working family members.

However they did seem to be given their own mini version of one as they entered and exited the historic building holding hands.

Despite being welcomed back into the royal fold at Trooping the Colour yesterday, the Sussexes were said to be anxious about today’s public reunion.

A source told The Mirror they were “perhaps understandably nervous” about coming face to face with those they had slated in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last year.

More on the Queen’s Jubilee weekend…

  • Beaming Queen lit the Platinum Jubilee beacon setting off 3,300 flames across Britain in a majestic ceremony
  • Queen, 96, has ‘finally meets Lilibet’ as she comes to the UK for the first time
  • Lip reader reveals everything the royals were saying during the Trooping the Colour
  • Queen won’t attend St Paul’s Jubilee service after suffering pain during parade and flypast
  • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to appear with Kate Middleton and William for first time since Megxit TODAY
  • Adorable Prince Louis jumped up and down with joy as he was wowed by Red Arrows – much to Queen’s delight
  • Prince Andrew won’t be attending the St Paul’s service – here’s why

The pressure was doubled by the fact today was their first outing together with the entire family since they quit the Firm in 2020.

The Sussexes opted not to bring their children Archie, three, and Lilibet, who turns one tomorrow, whom Her Majesty is believed to have met for the first time yesterday.

Their attendance at other events, including tomorrow’s Party at the Palace or the Pageant on Sunday, is also uncertain.

A royal commentator said the couple hope to be as “low-profile as possible” during their visit to the UK. 

Omid Scobie, author of Finding Freedom, told BBC Breakfast: “I spoke with people close to the couple who said that they want to be as low-profile as possible during this trip.

“It’s almost hard to believe, but I think yesterday [at] Trooping the Colour was a great example.

“We didn’t really catch sight of them on TV cameras.”

The Sussexes share a smile before the service

The duke pulls a face at someone along the aisle

A smiling Meghan dressed in cream for the occasion

Harry looked happy to be back in the UK

The Cambridges smiled and waved at thousands of people gathered outside

The Sussexes were said to be ‘nervous’ about today’s public reunion

Prince Charles has taken on his mother’s role for the day after she pulled out last night

A general view of the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral
Harry and Meghan share a look during the service

Piers Morgan thinks their low-key appearances are for good reason as “there is already a lot of tension” behind the scenes, which will only worsen during today’s service where Her Majesty will be absent.

HOAR columnist told Sky News Australia: “The only glue it seems in this whole tension is the Queen and she’s not going to be there.

“So we’re going to have a bit of a drama in a church where there aren’t many of them and the ones who are going to be there don’t get on.”

The apparent unease means Harry has made no plans to see his brother William or wife Kate away from the formal Jubilee festivities, an insider has claimed.

They told Page Six: “At the moment, it does not look likely that Harry and Meghan and William and Kate will meet up separately during the Jubilee celebrations.

“There is certainly nothing in the diary.”

Today’s event includes readings, anthems, prayers and congregational hymns – all expressing thanks for the Queen’s reign, faith and service over the last seven decades.

As well as the royals, more than 400 people were invited to the ceremony in recognition of their contribution to public life at both a community and national level.

These are recipients of Honours in the New Year or Birthday Honours list, many for their work throughout the pandemic.

The list includes NHS and key workers, teaching staff, public servants and members of the Armed Forces.

Also in attendance was Boris Johnson, members of the Cabinet and representatives from overseas.

Guests began filing in to the cathedral at 11am.

Great Paul, the largest church bell in the country, rung out as they made their way inside after being restored in 2021.

It has been rung on eight occasions since – although this will be its first royal occasion since the big revamp.

The Queen watched the service on television from Windsor Castle.

She is expected to be resting at her Berkshire residence after the busy start to the Jubilee festivities on Thursday.

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Following the service, many of the royals made their way to a Guildhall reception with the Lord Mayor of London.

Meghan and Harry are not in attendance as planned.

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi standing in the cathedral

A coordinated Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall walk hand-in-hand

Boris Johnson speaking during the service

The Princess Royal, the Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duke of Cambridge

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex
The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a reading from the New Testament
The National Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate Her Majesty in full swing

A wide view inside the cathedral during the thanksgiving service

Crowds gathered from the early hours outside St Paul’s Cathedral

Princess Anne arriving on day two of the Jubilee celebrations
The Duchess of Sussex from behind walking into the cathedral

Boris Johnson and wife Carrie walked in together at St Paul’s Cathedral in London

The Prime Minister, Carrie, Liz Truss and Priti Patel in their seats for the service

Wellwishers waiting for the arrival of the Royal Family

Carrie Symonds dressed in red for the National Service of Thanksgiving
Royal fans wait for arrivals outside St Paul’s Cathedral

Police stand guard outside St Paul’s Cathedral ahead of the National Service of Thanksgiving

Huge crowds gathered outside St Paul’s Cathedral

A general view ahead of the National Service of Thanksgiving

Members of the Household Division standing ready

A large police presence at St Paul’s Cathedral

Builders and a policeman on the roof of a building opposite St Paul’s Cathedral

Royal fans gather in central London for the thanksgiving service

Members of the military march outside the St Paul’s Cathedral

Meghan playing with Savannah Philips and Mia Tindall yesterday

Harry could be seen shushing the younger royals as they watched the military spectacular

Crowds watch Her Majesty make an appearance on the Palace balcony for the Platinum Jubilee flypast

Prince Charles, the Queen, Prince Louis and Kate Middleton on the Buckingham Palace balcony

The Red Arrows fly over Buckingham palace yesterday