Andrew, Harry and Meghan don’t appear on anniversary balcony

LONDON (AP) — Buckingham Palace on Friday answered one of the biggest remaining questions about Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum anniversary celebrations: saying Prince Andrew, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, are not on the palace balcony will be when the monarch greets the public on June 2.

The look of the balcony has been the center of many royal celebrations, with the royal family smiling and waving to the fans at home and millions of people watching television around the world. But the lead-up to the ceremonies marking Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne was dogged by questions about whether Andrew, Harry and Meghan would be in such a public spotlight amid a sex scandal and family tensions.

The Queen has now settled the matter and has ruled that only working members of the Royal Family will join her on the balcony to watch a Royal Air Force fly by after the traditional military review known as Trooping the Color.

“After careful consideration, the Queen has decided that this year’s traditional Trooping the Color balcony appearance on Thursday, June 2, will be limited to Her Majesty and the members of the Royal Family who are currently carrying out official public duties on behalf of the Queen,” the Queen said. said the palace.

The decision comes amid debate over Andrew’s status after he reached a multimillion-pound settlement with a woman who accused him of sexual exploitation. Andrew stepped down from royal duties and was stripped of his military honors amid the scandal caused by the charges and his ties to the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Yet the British media has been inundated with reports that Andrew wanted a public role in the Jubilee after settling the lawsuit.

Harry also kept open the possibility of a balcony performance in an interview with NBC last month, though he said “security issues and everything else” could complicate such a decision. Harry and Meghan, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, stepped off the front line of royal duties and moved to California in 2020. They are embroiled in a legal battle with the UK Home Office over security arrangements when traveling to the UK

As plans for the anniversary began to take shape, Harry and Meghan announced on Friday that they would be traveling to the UK for the festivities.

“Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are delighted and honored to attend the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration with their children in June,” a spokesperson for the couple said.

Although Andrew and the Sussexes will not be joining the queen on the balcony, as members of the royal family they would be free to attend other events, a palace source said, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with palace policy.

The Queen’s decision means she will be joined on the balcony by three of her four children and their husbands: Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall; Princess Anne and retired Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence; and Prince Edward and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.

Prince William, Harry’s older brother, and his wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, will also be on the balcony with their three children, George, Charlotte and Louis. William is second in line to the throne after his father Charles.

This story corrects the prince’s name in the penultimate paragraph to Prince Charles, not Prince Andrew.

Follow all AP stories about the British royal family at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii

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