Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Aren’t Flying to UK for Trooping the Colour in 2021

Fitness

On Saturday, June 12, Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s annual birthday parade, will take place at Windsor Castle. The event will be much smaller than previous years due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And unsurprisingly, the Montecito, CA-based Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be making the long flight back to the U.K. for the ceremony.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry won’t be making any trips to the U.K. this month, a source close to the Sussexes confirmed to ELLE.com.

The Duchess is expecting her second child with Harry, a baby girl, this summer. The couple has not revealed their exact due date, but Meghan was not cleared to fly to England in April for Prince Philip’s funeral. Her doctor’s guidance still applies, as she’s now even further along in her pregnancy.

meghan markle and prince harry at trooping the colour 2018

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at Trooping The Colour 2018

Samir HusseinGetty Images

The royal family released a press release this morning about plans for Trooping the Colour this year. They wrote:

The Queen will view a military parade in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle to mark Her Majesty’s Official Birthday, on Saturday 12th June. The parade will be held by the Household Division, and The Queen’s Colour of F Company Scots Guards will be trooped. His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, Colonel, Scots Guards, will accompany The Queen.

The parade will be led by the Foot Guards, who will be joined in the Quadrangle by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. Music will be played by a Massed Band of the Household Division, which will include 1st Battalion Scots Guards Pipes and Drums.

Upon The Queen and The Duke of Kent’s arrival in the Quadrangle, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness will be greeted by a Royal Salute, and the National Anthem. The parade will commence with the Musical Troop as the Band plays. The Colour will then be trooped through the ranks, and the parade will conclude with a second Royal Salute.

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will then fire a 41 Gun Royal Salute, to mark Her Majesty’s Official Birthday, from the East Lawn at Windsor Castle.

It is unclear from the press release whether Harry’s brother, Prince William, and his wife, Kate Middleton, will be attending. (They posted they’ve received their first doses of the COVID vaccine.) Technically, the U.K.’s current guidelines state, “Outdoor gatherings are limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings are limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).” But the royal family likely aren’t confined to this rule for this event.

While Meghan and Harry aren’t joining the Queen for Trooping the Colour this year, they’ve been vocal about how close they are to her and how much admiration they have for her.

In their March interview with Oprah, Meghan said that Queen Elizabeth II “has always been wonderful to me. I mean, we had one of our first joint engagements together. She asked me to join her, and I went on the train. And we had breakfast together that morning and she gave me a beautiful gift and I just really loved being in her company, and I know we were in the car—yeah, she gave me some beautiful pearl earrings and a matching necklace—and we were in the car going between engagements. And she has a blanket that sits across her, her knees, for warmth and it was chilly and she was like, Meghan, come on, and put it over my knees as well.”

Harry also told Oprah, “I’ve spoken more to my grandmother in the last year than I have [in] many, many years. My grandmother and I have a really good relationship and understanding, and I have deep respect for her.”

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