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The Queen passed away peacefully this afternoon, with Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry among the family traveling to be with her in Balmoral, Scotland. Harry’s wife Meghan Markle did not join him, staying behind in London even after the Palace’s announcement of the Queen’s death.
Despite an initial statement from the Sussexes’s spokesperson that the couple was traveling to Scotland to be with the Queen following news she was under medical supervision this morning, only Harry made the trip, a source clarified later. Royal reporter Omid Scobie shared on Twitter that Meghan remained in London. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were originally scheduled to attend the WellChild Awards tonight. They pulled out of that appearance following the Queen’s health news.
Kate Middleton also did not travel to Balmoral, staying behind in Windsor to take care of her and William’s three children. Kate was photographed leaving by car to pick Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis from their first day at Lambrook School this afternoon.
While the exact reason for Meghan’s absence was not specified and likely won’t be given the family’s right to privacy, had Meghan gone, it would’ve been a very rare reunion between her, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Prince Charles under the toughest of circumstances. Meghan and Harry are both very close to the Queen, with the couple naming their daughter Lilibet after her. Harry also told The Today Show in April that he and his grandmother “have a really special relationship. We talk about things she can’t talk about with anyone else.”
Meghan and Harry’s relationship with the rest of the royal family is a little strained, especially following the revelations in their March 2021 Oprah interview of what they endured as senior working family members.
In an interview with The Cut published Aug. 29, Meghan she said she is still working to forgive the royals for all that happened during her time working for the royal institution with Harry. “I think forgiveness is really important. It takes a lot more energy to not forgive,” she said. “But it takes a lot of effort to forgive. I’ve really made an active effort, especially knowing that I can say anything.” She then went quiet, ultimately saying, “I have a lot to say until I don’t. Do you like that? Sometimes, as they say, the silent part is still part of the song.”
A source spoke with Entertainment Tonight days after the interview was released, saying the royals weren’t happy with Meghan talking about her experience there. The “royal family is disappointed by Meghan Markle’s latest comments in The Cut magazine and on her podcast [Archetypes]. They are distressed that after stepping back from the royal family—claiming a need for privacy—she continues to publicize family matters in public,” the source said.
This post has been updated following news of the Queen’s passing.
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.