Prince Harry, Meghan Markle ‘careful to avoid any eye contact’ at service of thanksgiving: royal observer

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LONDON – The service of thanksgiving to the queen Friday was thrown into more royal drama when it was announced Thursday night Her Majesty would not be attending.

She was resting after feeling discomfort during celebrations Thursday. But the royal drama that unfolded Friday on the mega-accession of the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral with various senior members of the royal family attending was what really took the shine on such an auspicious day.

St. Paul’s is known globally thanks to its iconic historical legacy. However, to a more day generation, this was the place where a true royal icon entered a mere lady and left as Princess of Wales. It was there in July 1981 that Diana married her prince in Prince Charles. 

But royal fans take note that this was also the birthplace of what is now known as the royal walkabout as it was here for the very first time at the Queen’s Silver Jubilee that she and the late Prince Philip actually walked about and met the public for the very first time removing the fourth wall in royal terms. And this is now a tradition that lives today, so again a groundbreaking legacy started by the queen.

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Following the news that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby contracted COVID-19 and had to step out, his place was taken by the Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, who delivered the sermon. The cathedral was packed with over 400 members of the public, including key workers, charity volunteers and members of the armed forces who were recognized for their contribution to public life.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle 'careful to avoid any eye contact' at service of thanksgiving: royal observer

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, leave St Paul’s Cathedral after attending a service of thanksgiving for the queen during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London June 3, 2022. 
(Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

What about the stars of the service? Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, looked stunning in a yellow dress created by Emma Wickstead, adding a stunning hat by Philip Treacy — a favorite milliner of the royal — plus to-die-for mauve slingback shoes. 

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The crowd went crazy when she arrived, and she really is becoming such a confident queen in waiting. She was joined by Prince William, who was looking delightful as ever, and other senior royals at the service. The Cambridges’ children — Princess Charlotte, 7, Prince George, 8 and Prince Louis, 4 — remained at home due to the length of the service.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle 'careful to avoid any eye contact' at service of thanksgiving: royal observer

Royal expert Neil Sean and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 
(Courtesy of Neil Sean)

Political guests arrived ahead of the royals. They included Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie. Johnson said he was “very nervous” about giving a reading as it’s such a historical event, adding, “I know the queen will be watching right now, so one has to get it right for her.” 

Former Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair, who arrived with wife Cherie, said they were “inspired by such a wonderful monarch and has my highest respect.” 

Former Prime Minister Theresa May said, “We just all wish the very best to the queen. She is remarkable.” David Cameron offered the same sentiments.

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However, matters clearly remain icy where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are concerned. 

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle 'careful to avoid any eye contact' at service of thanksgiving: royal observer

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, attend a national service of thanksgiving for the Queen’s reign at St Paul’s Cathedral June 3, 2022, in London.
(Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Markle, 40, was the picture of glamour in a cream coat dress and matching hat and shoes as she joined senior royals in her first public engagement with the family in two years. But she and Harry were careful to avoid any eye contact with others. And people were not rushing to greet them, careful about what could be recorded and shown around the world. 

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Can we also take time to mention the very young and beautiful Lady Louise Windsor, the daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex? There was a lovely touch to see when her father Prince Edward reassured her while she sat in a pew. Meanwhile, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, really shone with her elegance and poise at such an event.

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