The Queen is particularly eager to have the Duke and Duchess of Sussex join her at Buckingham Palace for Trooping the Colour because it might be the last big family balcony appearance of her reign, it has been reported.
The Queen, who turns 96 on Thursday, has been struggling with mobility issues and uses a walking stick on public outings. Longer engagements, like the Duke of Edinburgh’s service of thanksgiving, must be meticulously planned to reduce the amount of time Her Majesty spends on her feet.
By next year’s Trooping the Colour, which will take place two months after the Queen’s 97th birthday, there is a chance the task of standing on the balcony to watch the fly past would prove to much of a physical strain for Her Majesty.
Prince Charles has also made clear his desire to debut a ‘slimmed down’ monarchy once he ascends the throne. It could mean that in future Trooping the Colour will only be attended by the monarch and their line of descendants – the Cambridges – rather than the big family gathering it is today.
The Royal Family assembling on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for Trooping the Colour is always a striking sight, but this year’s could be particularly poignant as it might well be the last of the Queen’s reign. Pictured, the Royal Family, including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, at Trooping the Colour in June 2019, the last before Megxit
The Queen, who turns 96 this week, has been struggling with mobility issues and uses a walking stick on public outings. Pictured, the Queen in Cardiff in October 2021
The Queen’s frailty means she won’t be able to attend every Jubilee celebration on the schedule. However she is hoping to watch Trooping the Colour then appear on the balcony with her family.
Typically, the Queen is joined by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, as well as more distant relatives like her niece, nephew and cousins.
She has extended the invitation to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who she saw together for the first time in more than two years when they stopped off at Windsor Castle last week on their way to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games.
Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, would attend in an informal role, following their decision to step down as working members of the Royal Family.
‘The moment will be particularly poignant as it will likely mark the last big family balcony appearance of her reign,’ the Daily Telegraph reported
Harry and Meghan reportedly promised the Queen that she will get to hug her great-grandchildren Archie and Lilibet ‘in the near future’ when they met her at Windsor Castle last week, before continuing to The Hague for the Invictus Games.
Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, could join the Queen and senior royals on the balcony following Trooping the Colour but it would be in an informal role, following their decision to step down as working members of the Royal Family. Pictured, the Sussexes in The Hague over the weekend
However, sources warned that the Sussexes’ attendance will have to be carefully managed, and will involve a ‘leap of faith’ from all sides after the couple made a string of damaging claims, including bombshell allegations of racism against an unnamed senior royal made in their Oprah tell-all last year, since they quit royal life and moved to Montecito.
Harry would also have to backtrack amid a row over his security, after he launched legal action against the Home Office, alleging that he didn’t feel safe bringing his family to the UK following the Government’s decision not to provide them with police protection.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes told the Daily Telegraph on Monday that they were not in a position to discuss future travel plans.
The Queen is determined to attend as many events as possible over her four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend, although her mobility issues mean she will not be as prominent as she once would have been.
Prince Charles has also made clear his desire to debut a ‘slimmed down’ monarchy once he ascends the throne, which could mean that in future he is joined only by his line of descendants – the Cambridges – on the balcony. Pictured, at the centenary of the RAF in 2018
Palace aides are reportedly working on plans to ensure that she can attend events with dignity, including the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral.
The stairs to the cathedral would pose an issue for Her Majesty so there is ongoing discussion around finding another way to seat the Queen.
Royal biographer Angela Levin said: ‘It’s going to be very difficult and I think they will only show her in a few instances, maybe at the service at St Paul’s. That will be very important to her because she is a Christian.
‘I don’t think we’ll see her around and about. Maybe she’ll be well enough to sit and watch horses. It won’t be her, everywhere. But if she is there, she will appreciate the fact the public will be wanting to be there and supporting her.
‘I imagine that the aides are worried that if the public don’t see her, people may think that if she’s not there it’s not worth us going.
‘I’m sure everyone in the Palace hopes that people will turn up to show their respects and say thank you for an extraordinary reign both in length and in breadth.’