Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Skipping the Palace Reception with President Trump
The president is heading to London for a two-day NATO summit, including a drinks reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening hosted by Queen Elizabeth. While other royals will be in attendance — including Kate Middleton, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall — Meghan and Prince Harry will miss the event as it falls during their “family time” off from royal duties.
“The Duke and Duchess have a full schedule of engagements and commitments until mid-November, after which they will be taking some much-needed family time,” a royal source confirmed to PEOPLE.
Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, are also planning to skip the annual holiday festivities at Sandringham — including their public walk to church on Christmas morning — with Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family.
Although Kate is expected to attend the palace party with President Trump, her husband Prince William is currently in the Middle East on a four-day solo tour of Kuwait and Oman.
President Trump, 73, and First Lady Melania Trump, 49, went to the U.K. in June for a days-long state visit full of pomp and circumstance and protests. He and his family, including his four adult children, also attended a state banquet then with the Queen, Prince Charles, Camilla, Kate and William at Buckingham Palace.
During the visit, Prince Harry joined other members of the royal family for a palace exhibit at Buckingham Palace with the President and First Lady. At the time, Meghan was on maternity leave after welcoming son Archie the previous month.
After attending a private luncheon hosted by the Queen, Harry joined President Trump, the First Lady, Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner to view a special exhibition in the Picture Gallery, which showcased items of historical significance to the United States from the Royal Collection. Upon entering the room, Harry soon broke away to chat to Earl Peel, the Lord Chamberlain.
The outing came just hours after Trump insisted he had not said anything “bad” about Meghan. The Sun previously published an Oval Office interview with the president in which he reacted with surprise at learning Meghan had criticized him during the 2016 campaign, labeling him “misogynistic.”
“I didn’t know that she was nasty,” Trump said of Meghan.
Trump soon disputed that he had made the remark at all, despite the interview being recorded. He also praised Meghan and wished her well following the birth of her son.
But, speaking with reporters at the White House as he prepared to head to London, he declined to apologize or clarify what he said — again insisting there was no quote to discuss.
“I made no bad comment,” he said.