Without the tired queen, but probably with Harry and Meghan: The British royal family will meet for a service on Friday to celebrate 70 years of Elizabeth II’s historic reign, on the second day of her platinum anniversary.
Buckingham Palace “reluctantly” announced the absence of the 96-year-old sovereign on Thursday night, explaining it with a “certain uneasiness” felt on the first day of the celebrations. The Queen, who is disabled and rarely seen in public, appeared there twice on the palace balcony. She attended an illumination lighting ceremony in the evening.
This decision by Elizabeth II, the head of the Anglican Church, marks a new stage in the transfer of the monarch’s duties of protocol. Her heir Charles, 73, will represent her after replacing her for the throne’s speech at the opening of Parliament last month.
On the other hand, the religious ceremony, which is scheduled for 11.30am (12.30pm Switzerland) at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, is set to mark the first public appearance in the United Kingdom by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan since their wedding departure for California two years ago .
This service is one of the highlights of four days of celebrations to mark the record age of the much-loved Queen, who ascended to the throne on February 6, 1952 at the age of 25. Around 400 people are expected, all of whom have recognized their contribution to the life of the country, including teachers, health workers, representatives of the armed forces or charities.
“It’s a very moving moment,” admits Karen Fletcher, 55, who arrived before Saint-Paul in the early morning. “We’ll never see anything like it again,” she adds, telling herself “sad” the queen isn’t coming. “It’s nice to celebrate something without being told about the cost of living crisis, that’s a parenthesis,” adds Stephanie Stitt, 35.
Much hostile ink has already been spilled over the return of Harry and Meghan, who had traveled from the US with their two young children for the celebrations. After the family tensions of the past two years, all gestures and looks before, during and after the term are under scrutiny.
Will Harry and William talk to each other? And what about Kate and Meghan? For two years there has been almost no relations between the two brothers. They’re not much better with Prince Charles.
Harry and Meghan have been among the most disliked members of the royal family since their 2020 departure for California and their sensational interview on American television, which was seen as a betrayal in the UK. According to a recent poll, Meghan is 14th with 23% positive opinions, while Harry is 11th with 36%.
Only Prince Andrew does worse at 12%. The Queen’s second son will also be absent as he has Covid-19, according to Buckingham Palace. Officially, he has been out of office since sexual assault charges related to the Epstein affair in the US, which he settled with a multimillion-dollar payment.
Neither he nor Harry and Meghan were invited to the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Thursday, where the Queen was cheered on by tens of thousands of Londoners.
The celebrations continue with a big evening concert outside Buckingham Palace on Saturday, before thousands of luncheons and popular parties between neighbors on Sunday and a huge parade through the streets of London in the evening with almost 10,000 in attendance.
Back to imperial measurements
Capitalizing on this patriotic atmosphere, the Conservative government launched a consultation on Friday to reinstate the use of the imperial system of measurement with the return of pounds instead of kilos in shops post-Brexit, and to certify the pint size with a crown logo instead of the European EWC.
This article was published automatically. Sources: ats/afp
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