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Harry and William sit on opposite sides of cathedral at service of thanksgiving

Harry and William sit on opposite sides of cathedral at service of thanksgiving


Harry and Meghan publicly returned to the royal fold on Friday for the Queen’s platinum jubilee service — but they sat on the opposite side of St Paul’s Cathedral from William and Kate.

Working royals filled the front-row seats at the ceremony, meaning the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took their places in the second row, behind the Wessex family and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and on the other side of the aisle from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

They no longer use their HRH styles and the event was their first public appearance alongside the Windsors since they stepped down as senior royals two years ago amid the Megxit storm.

The Queen herself did not attend, having pulled out due to experiencing “discomfort” at yesterday’s proceedings, watched on TV from Windsor.

According to a body language expert, Prince Harry’s gestures and expressions during the service appeared to indicate “quite high” anxiety.

“It was like he had agreed to be the invisible man there to some extent,” Judi James told PA.

The Duke Sussex (centre) and Princess Beatrice attend the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral (Phil Noble/PA)

(PA Wire)

She noted that Harry’s mannerisms, such as keeping his head down, can be seen as a “gesture of submission” and that he also appeared to touch his clothes frequently, which may point to anxiety.

“There was also a return of the slightly haunted eye expression we used to see before they moved,” she added.

The Service of Thanksgiving marks the first time that the Cambridges and Sussexes have been seen together at the same event since Commonwealth Day in March 2020, shortly after Harry and Meghan announced they would be stepping back from their roles as senior working royals.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive for the service at St Paul’s Cathedral

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The two brothers, however, were seen together last year at the funeral of their grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh.

At the time, it was reported that Prince William requested that another member of the royal family walk between him and Harry in the funeral procession from Windsor Castle to St George’s Chapel.

Prince Harry at the service for the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Inside the chapel where the funeral took place, Harry and William were, once again, sat on opposite sides of the room.

However, the pair were seen speaking as they left the church following the service.

Rumours of a strained relationship between the brothers have circulated in recent years, reaching new heights after Harry and Meghan appeared in a controversial interview with US television host Oprah Winfrey.

During the service itself, the Queen was thanked by the Archbishop of York in his sermon for “staying the course”.

The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell compared the monarch’s well-known love of horse racing to her long reign, suggesting it “reflects the distance of Aintree more than the sprints of Epsom”.

Princess Anne and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge share a joke before the service

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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He told the congregation he was “sorry” the Queen could not attend, but glad there is “still more to come”.

“It is well known that Her Majesty likes horse racing,” he said. “I don’t have any great tips for the Derby, but since the scriptures describe life as a race set before us, let me observe that her long reign reflects the distance of Aintree more than the sprints of Epsom.

“Certainly, less dressage than most people imagine.

“But with endurance, through times of change and challenge, joy and sorrow, she continues to offer herself in the service of our country and the Commonwealth.

“Your Majesty, we’re sorry you’re not with us this morning in person, but you are still in the saddle. And we are all glad that there is still more to come.”

The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at the service

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Cottrell stepped in at late notice to deliver the sermon after the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, contracted Covid-19.

In his address, the archbishop said the best leaders are those who “know how to be led” and “lead for others, not themselves”.

“People whose heart’s desire is to serve the common good and build up the common life; who don’t try to do it all themselves, or act in their own strength alone; people who take a longer view; and who seek out places of replenishing, even places where they might learn the mind of Christ,” he said.

Additional reporting by PA.


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