The smaller arrangement on Buckingham Palace’s balcony today was a clear indication that the royal family is shifting towards a slimmed-down monarchy, an expert said.
The Queen, 96, decided she only wanted to be joined by working royals to watch the flypast today as she focuses on those at the top of the line of succession.
And there was room today for Prince Charles and Camilla; Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex; and Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.
Others on the balcony were Prince William and Kate and their children Charlotte, Louis and George, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra.
But there was no sign of Prince Harry and Meghan after they quit as working royals in 2020, or Prince Andrew, who stepped down over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.
It contrasted sharply with the look of the Palace balcony for a flypast three years ago in June 2019, when it was packed with wider members of the royal family.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline today: ‘The lineup on Buckingham Palace’s iconic balcony after Trooping the Color today of royals performing official duties put the focus where it should be, on the Queen, on the occasion of her platinum anniversary.
“It was the second strong statement she has used to broadcast this unique milestone.
‘The first was to give her blessing to the Camilla who became queen consort, princess consort was historical nonsense. Had it been left behind, it would have caused significant problems when Charles took the throne, as it has never been popular.
‘The center of celebrations for the Queen will no doubt be the service at St Paul’s, as she is deeply religious. However, this annual display of unity by the royal family on the balcony makes the most impression for the press and the public.
“Andrew’s absence was inevitable and this makes it clear that he will no longer play a role in royal life in the future. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent plea for forgiveness was hastily withdrawn. His popularity is non-existent.’
TODAY — (From left to right) The Duke of Gloucester, Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Alexandra, Duke of Kent, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, The Princess Royal, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, Prince George, the Duke of Cambridge, the Countess of Wessex, James Viscount Severn, Lady Louise Windsor and the Earl of Wessex (hidden) at Buckingham Palace today
2019 — (From left) Albert Windsor, Prince William with Prince Louis, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Kate, Camilla, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, Prince Charles, Princess Beatrice, Princess Anne, The Queen, Princess Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor Prince Andrew, Prince Harry, Meghan, Isla Phillips, James Viscount Severn, Savannah Phillips, Peter Phillips, Autumn Phillips, Lyla Gilman, Eloise Taylor and Lady Helen Taylor stand with other members of the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the flight pass on June 8, 2019
The Royal Family’s official Instagram account posted a photo of an apparently slimmed-down monarchy after today’s Trooping the Color
Mr Fitzwilliams added: ‘Harry and Meghan were not often seen at today’s ceremony. While the Queen believes they are beloved members of the royal family, she is fully aware of how unpredictable and erratic they can be.
“They rely completely on their royal connections for their contracts with Netflix and Spotify and their profile.
“Continuing the split is neither in their best interests nor in that of the royal family, but their interview with Oprah was deeply destructive and affected the popularity of the monarchy, especially among the young. It was also given while Prince Philip was ill.
“Their future status is as royal outsiders and the current balcony arrangement made this clear.”
Heirs to the throne, future queens and underage members of the royal family who have devoted decades of their lives to supporting the monarch joined her today for the balcony performance.
The queen restricted those who went to the palace’s famous facade for the flypast to working members of her family after “careful consideration,” royal officials had said.
Without Harry, Meghan or Andrew, some 18 other members of the royal family, including the Queen, disembarked at about 1 p.m. to watch the high-profile display of 70 aircraft.
Key players on the royal stage included future King Prince Charles and Camilla, who was supported by the Queen in her jubilee year to one day take the title of Queen.
There was also second in line Prince William, and Kate, also a future queen, and their children Prince George – a future monarch – Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Charles on the balcony of Buckingham Palace today
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Louis, Charlotte and George in the palace today
The Queen’s other children – the Princess Royal, known for her hard-working, no-nonsense approach to royal duties, and the Earl of Wessex – took pride of place.
They were with husbands Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence and the Countess of Wessex, along with the children of the Wessexes – Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn.
The Queen also invited her cousins Princess Alexandra, the Duke of Kent and the Duke of Gloucester, with his wife the Duchess of Gloucester, to attend.
The Dukes and their sister Alexandra are close to the monarch and have worked quietly and reliably behind the scenes on royal commissions all their lives.
It was noteworthy that the Queen asked the Duke of Kent – known as Steady Eddie for his trustworthiness and good grace – to assist her in bringing greetings from Trooping soldiers during her previous balcony appearance on the same day.
Camilla, Prince Charles, the Queen, Prince Louis, Kate, Princess Charlotte, Prince George and Prince William appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London this afternoon
(From left) The Duke of Gloucester, Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Alexandra, Duke of Kent, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence and the Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace this afternoon
This anniversary lineup was a marked change from the Diamond Jubilee, with a return to the wider supporting cast of royals – more akin to the Golden Jubilee celebrations.
In 2012, a slimmed-down version of The Firm stepped out to greet the massive crowds celebrating the Queen’s 60-year reign.
Only six royals waved at the benefactors – the queen and only those who are at the very top of the succession list and their wives; Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and Harry.
The decision would be part of Charles’ vision of streamlining and modernizing the institution.
Ten years earlier, during the Golden Jubilee of 2002, 20 members of the royal family had packed the balcony of the Queen’s London home to watch a traditional crossing.