Hopping into the holidays! Members of the royal family gathered for their annual Easter service without their matriarch, Queen Elizabeth ll, on Sunday, April 17.
Prince William and Duchess Kate celebrated with their eldest children: Prince George, 8, and Princess Charlotte, 6. (The couple also share Prince Louis, 3.) During Sunday’s service, George and Charlotte donned coordinating blue looks — which matched their parents — as they were spotted entering mass at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. During the elementary schoolers’ first official Easter appearance, they also had the chance to meet one of the chapel’s clergymen.
The Duke of Cambridge, 39, and the Duchess of Cambridge, 40, wished their Instagram followers a joyful celebration, as well. The twosome — who married in April 2011 — shared a “Happy Easter” card on their Story.
Last year, unable to participate in their customary Easter practice with the queen amid the coronavirus pandemic, William and Kate, opted to spend the 2021 holiday conducting an Easter egg hunt for their little ones at their country home in Norfolk, England.
According to Buckingham Palace, the 95-year-old queen’s Easter weekend is typically “privately spent with family.” However, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept the royals from fully gathering since 2019.
Days before the family’s Easter gathering — sans the queen — Elizabeth spent time with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who paid a visit to her Windsor Castle residence on their way to the Invictus Games in The Netherlands. The reunion marked the first time Harry, 37, and the Suits alum, 40, returned to the U.K. as a couple since their 2020 step back from their royal duties.
While her majesty spent time with Harry and Meghan in the days leading up to the holiday, she missed her Maundy Thursday tradition. Pre-pandemic, the queen has traditionally spent the Thursday before Easter traveling to different cathedrals across the U.K. to hand out coins in recognition of contribution to community and church.
This year, however, the monarch did not participate in the tradition. Her eldest son, Prince Charles, and his wife, Duchess Camilla, took her place. This was only the fifth time the queen has missed the service in her 70-plus years on the throne.
While Harry and Meghan’s pre-Easter visit with the queen was The Bench author’s first time back across the pond since settling in California, Harry has been in his native country on multiple occasions, including to attend the funeral of Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, in April 2021. However, the BetterUp CIO was not at the family’s memorial for the late Duke of Edinburgh last month.
“It’s disappointing [because there] doesn’t appear to be any serious reason why he can’t be there,” royal expert Robert Jobson exclusively told Us Weekly in March. “He’s going to a Holland for the Invictus Games shortly afterwards.”
Ahead of the service, the Duke of Sussex sought a judicial review of a home office decision, claiming he was unable to personally fund police protection for his family while traveling abroad. The Sussexes stare son Archie, 2, and daughter Lilibet, 10 months.
“Security cannot replicate the necessary police protection needed whilst in the U.K.,” Harry’s team said in a January statement. “In absence of such protection, Prince Harry and his family are unable to return home.”
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Scroll below to see more photos from the royals’ Easter outing: