Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Didn't Publicly Cross Paths with Senior Royals at Jubilee Celebrations

The couple did not attend a lunch reception following Friday's church service

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry traveled from California to the U.K. for Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee celebrations, but they did not publicly spend time with Harry's immediate family members.

On Friday, the royal family continued the Platinum Jubilee celebrations with a service of thanksgiving honoring Queen Elizabeth at St. Paul's Cathedral. Harry and Meghan — who shared the strain they'd experienced within the family in a 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey — arrived ahead of Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Kate Middleton. It was the first time the three couples have appeared together in public in more than two years.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Karwai Tang/WireImage

As William and Kate made their way to their seats in the front row, there was no eye contact between the couple and Meghan and Harry, who were seated in the second row alongside Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice and their husbands. When Prince Charles passed by the row with Meghan and Harry, he was photographed looking away.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, (C) leaves at the end of the National Service of Thanksgiving for The Queen's reign at Saint Paul's Cathedral
Prince Charles at the service of thanksgiving for the Queen's Jubilee on June 3. PHIL NOBLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

In contrast, Charles, 73, was seen warmly greeting Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, 40, with a wide smile at the service and at one point blew her a kiss.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge talk with Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall after arriving at St Paul's cathedral
Prince Charles greets Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge at the service of thanksgiving on June 3. Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images

There was also no interaction between the Sussexes and Cambridges as they left the service. Harry and Meghan chatted with Harry's cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral before leaving.

Peter Phillips, the Duchess of Sussex, the Duke of Sussex and Zara Tindall leave the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral
Peter Phillips, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Zara Tindall at St. Paul's Cathedral on June 3. PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Following the service, many members of the royal family headed to the Lord Mayor's reception at The Guildhall — however, Meghan and Harry did not attend the lunch on Friday, nor a small family lunch following the Trooping parade on Thursday.

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

At Friday's reception, Prince Charles and Camilla were first to arrive, followed by Kate and Prince William. Others who attended both the service and the lunch included Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank, Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex with their two children, Zara and Mike Tindall and Lord Frederick Windsor and his wife Sophie Winkleman.

On Thursday, Meghan and Harry joined extended members of the royal family for Trooping the Colour. Since they are no longer senior working royals, they were not invited to appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace or to take part in a carriage procession during the parade. Instead, they viewed the event alongside other extended members of the royal family from the Major General's Office, which overlooks the Horse Guards Parade.

Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Louis, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Prince William Trooping The Colour - The Queen's Birthday Parade
Anthony Harvey/Shutterstock

The couple were spotted a few times through the office's windows, playfully entertaining various young royals — and also holding a finger over their mouth to encourage them to quiet down at points.

Meghan Markle with Savannah Phillips and Mia Tindall in the Major General's office overlooking The Trooping of the Colour on Horse Guards Parade.
Meghan Markle with the royal children at Buckingham Palace for Trooping the Color on June 2. Kelvin Bruce

Meanwhile, Prince Harry's father Prince Charles and brother Prince William participated in the parade on horseback before heading to the balcony appearance to watch a Royal Air Force flypast. Kate and Camilla, however, did spent a short time at the Major General's Office to watch the Horse Guards Parade before making their carriage ride to Buckingham Palace to join the Queen and other senior royals on the balcony.

The Prince of Wales takes part in the Royal Procession leaves Buckingham Palace for the Trooping the Colour
Prince Charles and Prince William at Trooping the Colour on June 2. Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

In a March 2021 interview with Winfrey that highlighted the rift between Meghan and Harry and the royal family, Meghan said that within the family, there were "concerns and conversations about how dark [their son Archie's] skin might be when he's born." (The couple later clarified that the comments were not made by Harry's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, or late grandfather, Prince Philip.) In the same interview, Harry also said that his father, Prince Charles, had "stopped taking my calls."

The complex dynamic between William, 39, and Harry, 37, has had a ripple effect across the wider family — including, of course, Meghan and Harry's decision to step back from senior royal duty and relocate with their family to California.

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex arrive for the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales
Prince William and Prince Harry at the unveiling of a Princess Diana statue in London on July 1, 2021. Alamy Stock Photo

Some who know the brothers feel there were several issues that built upon one another, while one well-placed source previously told PEOPLE that the rift can't be easily put down to one thing. But insiders have repeatedly noted that Harry's special bond with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth, 96, remains intact.

"Being with her, it was great. It was just so nice to see her . . . She's on great form," Harry told Today's Hoda Kotb in April of the visit he and Meghan shared with the Queen en route to Harry's Invictus Games in the Netherlands.

"I'm just making sure that she's, you know, protected and got the right people around her," he added. "You know, home — home for me, now, is you know, for the time being, is in the States."

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Harry in 2019. Yui Mok/WPA Pool/Getty

Tomorrow, Meghan and Prince Harry will celebrate the first birthday of their daughter Lilibet Diana, who was named after the Queen's childhood nickname. Both Lili, as the couple call her, and their 3-year-old son Archie are believed to have made the trip to the U.K. with them.

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

Also on Saturday, members of the royal family will attend the Derby at Epsom, followed by the Platinum Party at the Palace in the evening, with performances by Queen + Adam Lambert, Diana Ross and more.

The four-day celebration will wrap with the Platinum Jubilee Pageant on Sunday, featuring a parade down The Mall to Buckingham Palace in London.

Related Articles