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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were met by a mixture of boos and cheers on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral as they attended a thanksgiving service for the Queen’s platinum jubilee today.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were reunited with the royal family during the service, although they were kept separate from Prince William, Kate, Prince Charles and Camilla.
Their arrival caused a stir, with audio from the service’s two live video feeds in St Paul’s booing mingled with cheers from members of the public gathered outside.
Sky’s Kay Burley said she wasn’t sure if there was “more cheers or more whoops”, while the MailOnline man on the ground reported both cheers and whistles.
However, the AFP video of the couple leaving the service featured audible whoops alongside more supportive sounds.
Others noted that the cheers for Prince William and Kate were “by some margin” the biggest of the day.
Royal correspondent Richard Palmer noted: ‘There was a loud reaction from the crowd to the arrival of Harry and Meghan: a mix of boos and cheers.
“Our correspondent outside says that what sounded like a mixed reaction had turned into an apparent cheer by the time the Sussexes reached the top of the stairs.”
ITV Royal Editor Chris Ship, who was outside St Paul’s, suggested the crowd’s response was ‘majority cheers with some booing’.
Sky News commentator Rhiannon Mills, also on the scene, said: ‘We were discussing how much booing, how much cheering, but I also think when you compare it to later arrivals there was a mixed reaction to it.
“Despite having emphasized that they have tremendous respect for the Queen, they are still in touch with her. The Queen has constantly emphasized that they are much-loved members of the family, the assembled crowd clearly had mixed feelings about them.” here.’
One royal fan said: ‘I’m not sure what all the fake news is about. Prince Harry and Meghan got a mix of boos and cheers at St Paul’s Cathedral. It wasn’t an extreme on either side.’
Journalists outside of St Paul’s from Reuters and the Associated Press also reported a mix of cheers and cheers.
The mixed reaction to Harry and Meghan was reflected in comments from members of the crowd outside St Paul’s Cathedral.
Communications officer Natalie Mahoney, 32, from Stoke, told MailOnline: ‘I’m glad they showed up.
‘For most people they are outsiders, but family is family. They did a good thing by coming here today.
“They showed respect for the Queen and that’s the most important thing.”
AFP video of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leaving St Paul’s Cathedral showed audible booing mingled with cheers
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave St Paul’s Cathedral today after Thanksgiving service for the Platinum Jubilee
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive for Thanksgiving this morning at St Paul’s Cathedral in London
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex walk into St Paul’s Cathedral in London this morning for thanksgiving
Prince Harry and Meghan arrive this morning to attend a Thanksgiving service for the reign of Queen Elizabeth II
Prince Harry and Princess Beatrice smile for Thanksgiving service to celebrate the Queen this morning
But Christopher Matthews, 56, a retired engineer from Knutsford, Cheshire, said: ‘I believe they came here for their own purposes. And that is to be part of the royal household whenever they want to.
‘Aren’t they meant to make a documentary? I’m sure they can’t help but talk about it.
“They could have done a lot of damage to the Royal Family by opting out, but luckily Her Majesty has kept everything together expertly.”
When asked if the Queen would have preferred the couple not to come, he replied: ‘Never complain, never explain is her way. Only she knows. But Harry and Meghan will never be seen the same again.”
Mel Quash of Cheshunt, added: ‘Family is family no matter what. So it’s good to see them here.
“A lot of unfair things have been said about them and people don’t really know them.
“Harry and Meghan took part in a historic day and showed that they are still part of the royal family, even though they live in America.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were at St Paul’s Cathedral for the Thanksgiving service for the Queen’s platinum anniversary, but were staged by royal assistants to sit across the aisle to William and Kate.
Buckingham Palace officials tried to avoid a repeat of the icy scenes as the Sussexes and Cambridges sat side by side and left together at their last joint event in March 2020 at Westminster Abbey.
And aides would have been happy that today’s service for 2,000 special guests was over without such an incident or negative ‘optics’, given efforts to ensure today was about the Queen and her 70-year reign.
Kate and William chatted with Prince Charles and Camilla in the cathedral, but there was no sign of the same rapport with Harry and Meghan who sat between Lady Sarah Chatto and Princess Eugenie’s husband, Jack Brooksbank, and were given strict instructions to keep themselves inconspicuous during the event.
Harry and William have a longstanding feud as Harry accused his father Charles of cutting him off financially and Meghan claimed that an unnamed royal had made a comment about Archie’s skin color before he was born – with the Sussexes having a war of words with the palace after last year’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Today Charles officially represented the absent 96-year-old monarch at the service in London which started at 11:30 am. The Queen missed the historic event following a last-minute decision announced by Buckingham Palace at 7.30pm yesterday after experiencing ‘discomfort’ at Trooping The Color events earlier in the day.
Prince Andrew also failed to appear at St Paul’s after testing positive for coronavirus earlier this week. The Queen watched the service from her hometown of Windsor Castle and was broadcast on BBC One.
Harry and Megan walked hand in hand down the aisle of St. Paul’s after the service, joined by other members of the Royal Family and following in the footsteps of Charles and Camilla and William and Kate – but did not appear outside with them.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (left) and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (right) outside St Paul’s Cathedral today
Prince Charles and Camilla speak with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after arriving at St Paul’s Cathedral today
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (left, circled) sit across the aisle from the Sussexes (right, circled) in St Paul’s today
Prince Charles and Camilla lead the royal departure from St Paul’s Cathedral after this afternoon’s service
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave after attending Thanksgiving service today at St Paul’s Cathedral
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall out of Thanksgiving service for the Queen’s reign today
The Sussexes turned to talk to Lady Sarah Chatto, who had been sitting next to Meghan, and her husband Daniel Chatto. Senior clerics waited to say goodbye to the congregation and Meghan shared a joke with the Archbishop of York and touched Harry’s arm as he joined the conversation. The trio then laughed before the Sussexes moved on.
Members of the crowd outside St Paul’s sang the national anthem as they waited for the Royal Family to leave at the end, before Charles and Camilla walked out first as the bells began to ring at the end of the service.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed, as Kate waved merrily to the crowd as she chatted with her husband. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex left hand in hand and were seen chatting with Zara Tindall and her husband Mike. Both Harry and Meghan shook hands with the mayor before getting into a car.
The Sussexes are not expected to attend a reception at the nearby Guildhall, which was attended by a host of other members of the royal family and leading politicians, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall arrived at reception and were greeted by former Mayor Sir David Wootton and Colonel Simon Duckworth. Then they were followed by William and Kate.
Other royal attendees include the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and their husbands. The Wessexes arrived with their children Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and Viscount Severn.
Health Minister Sajid Javid and former Prime Minister Theresa May also attended the reception and enjoyed a drink. Canapes at the Guildhall event include smoked Norfolk duck breast, smoked salmon and dill, beetroot shortbread and cocktail sausages.
There was a range of dishes from the buffet – including coronation chicken with grapes and rice salad. A selection of drinks was offered, such as English sparkling wine and wines from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, as well as some non-alcoholic drinks, including a cranberry bellini.