Two years after their painful departure to California, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their public return for a royal event, after being barred from the Buckingham Palace balcony outing, which kicked off in London on Thursday. four days of festivities celebrating the record longevity of the 96-year-old sovereign.
Very unpopular in the United Kingdom, the Duke of Sussex, military medals hanging from the jacket, and the Duchess, in an off-white dress, were however applauded by the crowd when they arrived at Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Later followed by the heirs to the throne, Charles, 73, and his son William, who turns 40 on June 21, with their wives.
Buckingham Palace announced Thursday evening the absence
unwillingly of the monarch, despite being head of the Anglican Church and very religious, because of a certain
discomfort. As more and more often, the queen, who has difficulty walking, was represented by her heir Charles.
She had been cheered on Thursday by tens of thousands of people on the balcony of the palace, and had taken part in the evening at Windsor Castle in a brief ceremony to light the illuminations.
The crowd gathered in the early morning in front of Saint-Paul. Guardsmen in traditional uniforms lined up in the forecourt and on the steps, and the bells rang continuously during arrivals, following a precise order of protocol, with former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, then the incumbent Boris Johnson, booed.
Rae Williams, 37, had brought with her a life-size cardboard image of the Queen,
because she couldn’t come herself. She says she attends all the events and likes Harry.
Meghan, I’m not sure, honestlyshe adds.
It’s family, isn’t it?says Julie Blewitt, 56, from the north of England:
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it will never happen againshe explains to theAFP .
It won’t be the same without the queen.
The religious service, attended by some 2,000 people, is one of the highlights of the four days of festivities celebrating the very popular Queen Elizabeth, who ascended the throne at the age of 25 on February 6, 1952.
Your Majesty, we are sorry that you are not here this morning, but you are still in the saddle.underlined the bishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, in his sermon, addressing the queen who was watching the ceremony on television, in reference to his passion for horse racing.
And we’re glad it’s continuing.
The return of Harry and Meghan, who came from the United States with their two young children for the celebrations, has caused a lot of hostile ink to flow since their departure and their sensational confessions on American television.
Relations between Harry, 37, and William, 39, second in line to the throne, are almost non-existent. They are not much better with her father, Prince Charles.
According to the biographer of the Harry-Meghan couple, Omid Scobie, however, they had lunch with family members in Windsor on Thursday, giving the Queen the opportunity to meet their daughter Lilibet for the first time, who celebrates her first birthday on Saturday.
The Queen’s second son, Andrew, 62, was absent on Friday after suffering from COVID-19, according to Buckingham Palace. He has no official role since charges of sexual assault in connection with the Epstein case in the United States, which he ended by paying several million dollars.
The celebrations will continue on Saturday with a large evening concert in front of Buckingham Palace, before thousands of lunches and popular parties between neighbors on Sunday, and a huge parade through the streets of London in the evening, with nearly 10,000 participants.
Absent from the horse races on Saturday
On Saturday, as the press reported, the Queen will be represented by her daughter Anne for the Epsom Derby, despite her passion for horse racing. She will watch them on television from Windsor Castle, her services have said.
Taking advantage of this patriotic atmosphere, and unlike a 96-year-old monarch who is preparing for the future, the Conservative government launched a consultation on Friday to restore, in the wake of Brexit, the use of the imperial measurement system, with the return of pounds instead of kilos in shops, and allow the size of pints to be certified with a logo representing a crown instead of the European CE.