By DANICA KIRKA, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — Buckingham Palace on Friday answered the biggest remaining questions about Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations: Prince Andrew, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, won’t be on the palace balcony when the monarch greets the public on June 2.
The balcony appearance is a centerpiece moment of many royal celebrations, with the royal family smiling and waving to loyal subjects and millions of fans watching on television around the world. But the build up to the ceremonies marking Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne have been dogged by questions about whether Andrew, Harry and Meghan would attend amid public scandals and family tensions.
The queen has now settled the matter, decreeing that only working members of the royal family will join her on the balcony to watch a Royal Air Force fly-past after the traditional military review known as Trooping the Color.
”After careful consideration, the queen has decided this year’s traditional Trooping the Colour balcony appearance on Thursday 2nd June will be limited to Her Majesty and those members of the royal family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of the queen,’’ the palace said.
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The decision comes amid a debate over Andrew’s status after he reached a multi-million pound settlement with a woman who accused him of sexual exploitation. Andrew stepped away from royal duties and was stripped of his honorary military titles amid the scandal caused by the allegations and his links to the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Still, Britain’s media has been awash with reports that Andrew wanted a public role in the Jubilee after he settled the lawsuit.
Harry also kept open the possibility of a balcony appearance in an interview with NBC last month, though he said “security issues and everything else’’ might complicate such a decision. Harry and Meghan, also known as the duke and duchess of Sussex, stepped away from frontline royal duties and moved to California in 2020. They are locked in a legal battle with Britain’s Home Office over security arrangements when they travel to the U.K.
While Andrew and the Sussexes won’t join the queen on the balcony, as members of the royal family they would be free to attend other events, a palace source said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with palace policies.
The queen’s decision means that she will be accompanied on the balcony by three of her four children and their spouses: Prince Andrew and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall; Princess Anne and retired Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence; and Prince Edward and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.
Prince William, Harry’s older brother, and his wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, will also be present on the balcony with their children. William is second in line to the throne, after his father Charles.
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