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Meghan Markle tonight received a mixed reaction from a crowd in Windsor as she returned to royal life alongside Prince Harry for a surprise appearance with the Prince and Princess of Wales.
King Charles III’s warring sons Prince William and Harry and their wives Kate and Meghan all appeared in black at Windsor Castle this evening to inspect the sea of floral tributes laid outside the gates of the Berkshire estate in tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II.
While the foursome were greeted by applause as they walked through the gates of Windsor Castle together to honour the legacy of Her Majesty, other moments between the British public and the Duchess of Sussex appeared not to run as smoothly.
The royal mother-of-two, who stepped back from royal duty last year and now lives in her $14 million mansion in the US, has released a series of bombshell interviews in the last 18 months about her time in the royal family.
Meghan was seen cooing over babies in the crowd and even offered hugs out to some of the mourners waiting – but others in the crowd greeted Meghan with stony faces this evening as she took part in the walkabout.
Meghan Markle tonight received a mixed reaction from a crowd in Windsor as she returned to royal life alongside Prince Harry for a surprise appearance with the Prince and Princess of Wales
Meghan was seen cooing over babies in the crowd and even offered hugs out to some of the mourners waiting
Tonight’s bombshell marks the first time that the two couples have all appeared in public since Commonwealth Day on March 9, 2020, just weeks before the Covid lockdown.
Harry and Meghan, who sensationally quit frontline duties two years ago to strike out on their own in California and then levied a series of bombshell allegations against The Firm, held hands as they looked at the tributes, with Harry at one point affectionately putting his hand on Meghan’s back.
They were seen pointing at different tributes and discussing them as members of the crowd waved at them.
A Kensington Palace source said that the Prince of Wales invited the Sussexes to join him and the Princess of Wales earlier today.
The Sussexes’ friend and preferred journalist Omid Scobie later claimed on Twitter that the invitation was made at the ’11th hour’. However, hinting that William is prepared to extend Harry an olive branch and work towards melting the ice between them, he declared: ‘It is, without a doubt, a significant moment in the history of the relationship between the two brothers’.
At one moment, a small Paddington Bear was given to William, which he passed on to an aide. He was seen lightly touching Kate’s back at one moment as she crouched down again to speak to a child at the front of the gates.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex view the tributes left after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle
However others in the crowd greeted Meghan with stony faces this evening as she took part in the walkabout and appeared to look beyond her to the other members of the royal family in attendance
Kate crouched down at one moment and began speaking to a child who had started to cry. The child stopped crying when Kate approached her.
Meawhile the Duchess of Sussex was seen being given a close hug by a young girl in the crowd at Windsor Castle.
Meghan walked over to a section of the crowd and approached a teenager, who was seen putting her hand over her mouth in shock. The pair spoke briefly for a few moments and Meghan could be seen assuring her by putting her hand on her shoulder.
The girl then said: ‘Can I have a hug?’ and Meghan was seen nodding, before leaning in and giving her a big hug. The touching moment was filmed by other members in the crowd.
One well-wisher who spoke to Harry and Meghan told MailOnline:’It’s lovely to see them both together. Maybe they can get back to a proper relationship.
‘Lovely ripple went through the crowd as they approached. Hopefully the healing between Harry and his brother can start now. I’m just so excited to have seen them both together. It’s lovely.’
It comes after it was reported King Charles ‘told’ Prince Harry not to bring wife Meghan to Balmoral Castle as he and other senior royals rushed to the beside of the dying Queen.
At other moments, the Duchess of Sussex was handed posies and bouquets of flowers by royal fans who were keen to show their support to the family in the period of grief
At other stages, the Duchess was seen cooing over a young mother and her baby in the crowd
Amid the personal family tragedy on Thursday, when the Queen died at the age of 96, a small domestic drama was playing out involving the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
It was a fortunate coincidence of sorts that Harry and Meghan were in the country when the prince’s grandmother passed away, sparing him an emotional and undoubtedly traumatic transatlantic dash as the Queen’s health failed.
Despite the rancour of the past few years, no one would begrudge him the chance to mourn his beloved ‘Granny’, with whom he had always enjoyed a warm and fun-loving relationship.
But as the royal households were consumed in concern for the ailing monarch, the Sussexes prompted an unprecedented flurry behind the scenes by announcing that Harry and Meghan would both be travelling to Balmoral.
Others appeared to greet Meghan with a little less excitement. The Duchess has released a series of bombshell interviews over the past 18 months
According to The Sun, Prince Harry was at Frogmore Cottage when he received a call from his father asking him not to bring Meghan.
‘Charles told Harry that it wasn’t right or appropriate for Meghan to be in Balmoral at such a deeply sad time,’ a source told the newspaper.
‘It was pointed out to him that Kate was not going and that the numbers really should be limited to the very closest family.
‘Charles made it very, very clear Meghan would not be welcome.’
Meanwhile The Telegraph reported that Harry was not initially summoned when senior royals made their way up to Balmoral, like his brother Prince William was, due to constitutional reasons.
The two royal couples inspect the floral tributes left outside the gates of Windsor Castle this evening
The Prince and Princess of Wales view the tributes left after the Death of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle
William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales and Prince Harry and Meghan walk outside Windsor Castle
A royal insider also said that ‘it’s quite hard to spend too much time with someone you know is about to publish a tell-all book about you.’
King Charles says he wants ‘to express my love for Harry and Meghan’ as he extends olive branch to the US-based prince and his wife
King Charles III extended an olive branch to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in his first address to Britain and the world as monarch yesterday.
The new Sovereign, who became King the moment that his mother Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday afternoon at Balmoral Castle aged 96, said he wished to ‘express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas’ – in a move likely to be regarded by royal commentators as a bid to finally draw a line under the tumult of recent years.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex plunged the monarchy into crisis during the twilight years of the Queen’s reign after sensationally quitting frontline royal duties and moving to California two years ago – a saga which precipitated the rift between Harry and his brother William, allegations of racism against the royals and claims the Firm failed to help a suicidal Meghan.
After their bombshell interview with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, Harry appeared to suggest, in a mental health podcast, that his father and the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had all failed as parents – while the family was still mourning Prince Philip’s death last year.
The Duke of Sussex had grief etched on his face as he was swept into the grounds of Windsor Castle this afternoon after losing a race against time to get to his grandmother’s bedside before she died yesterday.
King Charles III went to Buckingham Palace to meet fellow mourners this afternoon where he shook hands and accepted their condolences to cries of ‘God save the King’ and impromptu renditions of the national anthem. One woman kissed him on the cheek. He also inspected flowers and tributes left for his late mother at the gates before entering the palace.
Harry landed at Heathrow yesterday lunchtime after jumping on an early morning BA flight where he comforted an airport worker with a reassuring hand on her shoulder after she gave him her condolences.
He left Balmoral after 12 hours mourning his grandmother with his father and brother – but despite the brevity of the visit, the Sussexes are not expected to return to California until after the state funeral, currently expected to be ten days from now on Monday, September 19.
The Duke of Sussex was the last royal to arrive at the Aberdeenshire castle on Thursday and the first to leave on Friday morning.
Another added: ‘I think the general reaction to Harry and Meghan’s behaviour has been one of incredulity to be honest.’
News of their plans came via the small group of media the Sussexes deem it appropriate to deal with and tweeted out by journalists at 1.53pm. The statement read: ‘From a spokesperson: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be travelling to Scotland.’
This was, of course, news to the Palace and it did not go down well. Many behind royal walls, frankly, were incredulous.
There was half an hour on Thursday following the Sussexes’ initial announcement during which matters quickly came to a head.
It is still unclear how much pressure was brought to bear by the Palace itself – or whether senior royal were involved – but a spokesman for the couple frantically began to ‘clarify’ their position, informing those same journalists that ‘only the duke was travelling at the moment’.
Exactly what happened is open to speculation. Some say that Harry and Meghan hadn’t considered that William’s wife wouldn’t be there, with Kate staying in London instead, and when it was pointed out that she wouldn’t be, they realised how bad it looked.
Others believe Meghan was effectively banned, using the argument that Kate – now the Princess of Wales – was staying at home.
Either way, their hurried announcement that only Harry would be making the trip north from the capital prompted a sigh of relief among aides.
Putting aside the anguish of the past few years, the initial decision in itself, that both Sussexes would travel, was seen as wholly inappropriate, according to palace insiders, for one very simple reason: this was a private, family moment.
Only the two oldest children of the elderly monarch – Charles and Anne – were present when the Queen passed away.
Her other children, Andrew and Edward, arrived as soon as they could afterwards on a plane with Prince William, who is now first in line to the throne.
Edward was accompanied by his wife, Sophie, but she is adored by the Queen, who views her as a second daughter, and is likely to have been there at her request.
Although most have assumed that Kate stayed behind because it was her children’s first day at school, which is in part true, she instinctively knew this was an occasion for the Queen’s blood family.
It is impossible to forget that events are taking place against a backdrop of unimaginable bitterness.
So deep is the rift between the two brothers that even though Harry and William have been temporarily living just a few minutes’ walk from each other at Windsor this week, there has been no attempt at contact from either party.
Relations are little better with any other members of the family either – King Charles, in particular, has been left bewildered and deeply hurt by his younger son’s incessant attacks.
While no one wants an all-out war, few are in a hurry to forgive or forget Meghan’s series of laser-guided and deeply harmful accusations against family members, as well as the institution of the monarchy itself.
It was noticeable that there was no invitation for Harry to join the family party that headed north on Thursday, taking off from RAF Northolt bound for Aberdeen.
He made his own way to Balmoral by private jet and faced a lonely drive to the castle, finally arriving at 7.52pm – an hour and a half after the palace’s historic statement informing the nation of the death of Her Majesty.
He was seen being driven out at 8.28am yesterday, little more than 12 hours later.
During that time he would have had to kiss his father’s hand, curtsey to his step-mother – and break bread with those he has caused so much hurt. The brothers now face seeing a lot of each other as they prepare for the Queen’s funeral.
Meghan Markle cancels Jimmy Fallon appearance and trip to NYC for UN General Assembly – both scheduled for day after Queen’s funeral – and postpones next Archetype podcast
Meghan Markle has canceled several planned appearances in New York that had been set for the day after Queen Elizabeth’s likely funeral date, as the Royal Family enters the official morning for the monarch.
The Duchess of Sussex had been scheduled to appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on September 20, the same day she and Prince Harry planned to visit the UN General Assembly in Manhattan.
Both appearances have now been nixed, and Markle plans to delay releasing the next episode of her podcast Archetypes, which had been set for release next Tuesday on Spotify, sources told Page Six on Friday.
By happenstance, the Queen’s death on Thursday came as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were in the midst of a European tour on a public relations blitz.
Meghan Markle is seen in Germany on Tuesday. The Queen’s death came as the Sussexes were on a PR blitz, but they are understandably canceling upcoming appearances
Markle had been scheduled to appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (above) on September 20, which would be one day after the Queen’s funeral, but has pulled out
Queen Elizabeth is seen on Tuesday, in the final photo before her passing on Thursday
Now, their plans have understandably been put on hold as they mourn leading up to and following the Queen’s state funeral.
The funeral is expected to be scheduled for September 19 at Westminster Abbey in London, but the official date has not yet been announced.
It’s unclear whether Markle has already booked another date to appear on The Tonight Show.
‘I don’t even know what she was going to talk about [with Fallon], but that’s obviously canceled now,’ one source told Page Six.
A spokeswoman for the NBC program did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are seen making an appearance in Dusseldorf, German on Tuesday, in the midst of the European tour cut short by the Queen’s death
Prince Harry returns to Windsor on Friday morning after the death of Queen Elizabeth II
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were together in Frogmore Cottage in Windsor when the Queen’s failing health became apparent, but Prince Harry flew alone to Scotland, where she was staying at Balmoral.
Prince Harry arrived after the Queen’s death had been publicly announced, and returned to Windsor on Friday morning.
It’s unclear whether Markle plans to remain in the UK for the next 10 days until the funeral, or will fly back to California to tend to her young children before returning for the funeral.
Understandably, all members of the Royal Family have suspended and altered any plans for public appearances as the UK enters a highly choreographed, weeks-long morning period.
In his first public address as the country’s new monarch, King Charles III gave the order that a period of ‘Royal Mourning’ for the Queen will be observed from now until seven days after her funeral.
King Charles III gave the order that a period of ‘Royal Mourning’ for the Queen will be observed from now until seven days after her funeral
Royal Mourning will be observed by members of the royal family, royal household staff and representatives of the royal Household on official duties, together with troops committed to ceremonial duties.
On Friday, royal salutes were fired with one round for every year of the Queen’s life at 1pm in Hyde Park by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
The Queen’s casket will soon be taken to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland.
It will then be solemnly processed to St. Giles Cathedral to lie at rest for 24 hours, with a public viewing.
The casket will be flown to London and will lie in state at Westminster Hall for four days, before the state funeral, most likely on September 19.