Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Didn't Appear on the Palace Balcony for Trooping the Colour

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·3 min read
Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Didn't Appear on the Palace Balcony for Trooping the Colour
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle travelled from California to the U.K. for Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee celebrations — but they did not appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony during Trooping the Colour.

Although extended members of the royal family usually gather on the palace balcony to watch a flypast, this year's famous photo op was limited to only senior working members of the royal family and some of their children. Among them: Princess Anne, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth (of course!) and Prince William, Kate Middleton and their three children. (The Cambridge children — Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4) also made their carriage debut.)

The Queen, 96, announced the change in tradition last month.

Meghan and Harry Invictus Games
Meghan and Harry Invictus Games

Chris Jackson/Getty Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

"After careful consideration, the Queen has decided that this year's traditional Trooping the Colour balcony appearance on Thursday 2nd of June will be limited to Her Majesty and those members of the Royal Family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of the Queen," a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.

RELATED: Royal Family's Best Trooping the Colour Moments Over the Years — Including Prince Harry's Cheeky Face!

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) stands with from left, Britain's Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Prince Louis of Cambridge, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Britain's Princess Charlotte of Cambridge , Britain's Prince George of Cambridge, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge , to watch a special flypast from Buckingham Palace
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) stands with from left, Britain's Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Prince Louis of Cambridge, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Britain's Princess Charlotte of Cambridge , Britain's Prince George of Cambridge, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge , to watch a special flypast from Buckingham Palace

DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images From left: Princess Anne, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth, Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte and Prince George and Prince William on the balcony for Trooping the Colour on June 2.

Prince Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, who arrived in the U.K. alongside their two children — Archie and Lilibet — were excluded from the lineup because they are no longer senior working members of the royal family. They announced their decision to "step back" from their royal roles in 2020 and relocated to California, Meghan's home state.

For more on the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

Instead, they joined extended members of the royal family in viewing the Horse Guards Parade from the Major General's Office, which overlooks the parade grounds. Meghan was spotted playfully chatting with some of the children and chatting with the Duke of Kent alongside Harry.

Harry's uncle Prince Andrew, who is no longer a working royal following his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was also not included on the balcony for Trooping the Colour, which marks the Queen's official birthday each year.

Meghan made her Trooping the Colour debut in 2018, just weeks following her royal wedding to Prince Harry. The couple also participated in the carriage ride and balcony appearance in 2019, shortly after they welcomed their son Archie.

meghan markle, prince harry, kate middleton
meghan markle, prince harry, kate middleton

Samir Hussein/WireImage Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton at Trooping the Colour 2019

Harry and his wife Meghan stopped in the U.K. for a visit with the monarch at Windsor Castle in April as the couple made their way to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games.

"It was great, it was really nice to see her. To see her in an element of privacy was nice," Harry said.

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Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Queen Elizabeth, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Although the Queen's 96th birthday was on April 21, Trooping the Colour always takes place in the early summer of the second weekend in June. The reason is a practical matter more than anything: the weather is nicer! The tradition is believed to have started during the reign of King George II in 1748. George II was born in October, but the annual Trooping of the Colour became a celebration of the monarch as well as the armed forces.

Thursday's birthday parade kicked off a long weekend of commemorations for the Queen's 70 years on the throne.

Prince Harry and Meghan are also expected to appear at the Service of Thanksgiving on Friday at St. Paul's Cathedral.

The four days of events include a pop concert at the palace on June 3 and the Derby horse race. The celebration will wrap up with a special parade through central London on Sunday, June 5.