Harry, William Show No Sign of Healing Royal Rift at Jubilee Service

The royal rift between Prince Harry and Prince William showed no sign of healing at the national service of thanksgiving for the reign of Queen Elizabeth II on Friday.

The brothers are reported to have a strained relationship following events that saw Harry step down from his role as a full-time working royal in 2020.

The royals were expected to be photographed together for the first time publicly at the St. Paul's thanksgiving service but the opportunity did not present itself with the princes and their wives, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, arriving separately, sitting separately and leaving one after the other.

This development leaves just two likely jubilee events where the brothers might be seen together; the Platinum Party at the Palace pop concert outside Buckingham Palace on Saturday and the jubilee pageant along The Mall in London on Sunday.

Prince Harry Prince William Jubilee Service Thanksgiving
Prince Harry and Prince William showed no signs of healing their royal rift during the national service of thanksgiving for Queen Elizabeth II's reign at St Paul's Cathedral on Friday, June 3, 2022. Matt Dunham/WPA Pool/Getty Images/Victoria Jones/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Harry and Meghan's visit for the central weekend of celebrations of the queen's jubilee is their first public return to Britain since 2020.

Harry has returned three times previously, the first for the funeral of Prince Philip, the second for the unveiling of the Princess Diana memorial statue at Kensington Palace and the third for a secret visit with Meghan to the queen before her 96th birthday in April.

Royal watchers hoping to see the brothers and their wives interacting at the service were disappointed.

Harry and Meghan arrived at the same time as a group of other members of the extended royal family including cousin Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank.

The Sussexes received a warm reaction from the crowd who raised a big cheer when they emerged from their car and climbed the cathedral steps. This reaction came despite the couple receiving their lowest ever popularity polling numbers from YouGov shortly before their U.K arrival.

William and Kate arrived shortly after the Sussexes were seated and waited at the cathedral entrance for the arrival of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. As the heir to the throne William took part in the royal procession down the cathedral aisle following Charles who was representing the queen.

Harry Meghan William Kate Jubilee Service Together
The Cambridges and Sussexes did not interact at the national service of thanksgiving for Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee arriving separately and leaving separately, June 3, 2022. Humphrey Nemar/WPA Pool/Getty Images/MATT DUNHAM/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

When the Cambridges finally took their seats it became apparent that they were a noticeable distance from Harry and Meghan, being separated by the wide aisle and a row apart.

This avoided the recording of any interaction between the couples as had been the case in 2020 where their indifferent reception of one another was circulated on social media.

Harry Avoided Saying He Missed William

The brother's non-interaction at the service of thanksgiving follows speculation that the pair have not made headway in repairing their relationship after Harry swerved answering a question asking if he missed William since moving to the U.S.

In April 2022, at the Invictus Games in the Netherlands, Today show host Hoda Kotb asked the prince if he missed his family at home to which he responded:

"Yes, I think especially over the last two years for most people, have they not missed their families? Right? The inability to be able to get home and see them."

Kotb rephrased the question asking: "But do you miss your brother, your dad?"

At this Harry seemed to avoid giving a straight answer saying:

"Look, I mean... at the moment, I'm here focused on these guys [at the Invictus Games] and these families and giving everything I can, 120 percent to them to make sure that they have the experience of a lifetime. That's my focus here.

"And when I leave here, I go back, and my focus is my family, who I miss massively. Of course I do. They're two little people."

Prince Harry Invictus 2022 Interview Question
Prince Harry avoided stating that he missed his brother, Prince William, in an interview with the Today show during the Invictus Games, April 17, 2022. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

"Different Paths"

The last time that the prince spoke explicitly about his brother before the Invictus Games was during his 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Talking to the host about rumors that the brothers had a strained relationship, Harry said:

"I've said before, I love William to bits. He's my brother. We've been through hell together. I mean, we have a shared experience. But we . . . you know, we're on . . . we're on different paths."

Both Harry and Meghan went on to allege that an unnamed member of the royal family had made racially insensitive comments about the skin color of their future children. This prompted a wave of speculation online and in the media over who this person could be.

In a rare break with his "never complain, never explain" motto, William spoke to the press in the aftermath of the interview, responding to a reporter's question asking if the royals were racist with the statement: "We are very much not a racist family."

Diana's Friend Highlights Missed Olive Branch

With the Sussexes and Cambridges now in the same country and attending the same events, commentators have highlighted the number of missed opportunities for some sense of public reconciliation between the two, with some claiming it is the royal wives who have as much work to do as their husbands.

Following the Trooping the Colour parade on Thursday, Richard Kay, a friend of Princess Diana during the final years of her life, wrote of the significance of Meghan and Kate not being photographed after Meghan told Winfrey the royal had made her cry before her wedding.

"Was the absence of it deliberate?" he wrote.

"Significantly, this was also the first time Kate and Meghan had been together since the Duchess of Sussex accused her sister-in-law in her TV interview with Oprah Winfrey of making her cry over bridesmaids' dresses.

"What a message a photograph of the two women chatting side by side would have sent."

Kate Middleton Meghan Markle Trooping Photographs
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle's not being photographed together since Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey has been picked up on as significant by royal commentators. Photographed, June 9, 2018. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The national service of thanksgiving had been planned with the attendance of the queen in mind but it was announced on Thursday evening that after experiencing some "discomfort" after her balcony appearance earlier in the day she would have to pull out.

The statement read: "The Queen greatly enjoyed today's Birthday Parade and Flypast but did experience some discomfort.

Taking into account the journey and activity required to participate in tomorrow's National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral, Her Majesty with great reluctance has concluded that she will not attend."

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