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Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Didn’t Sit With Prince William and Duchess Kate at Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee Service (Exclusive)

No royal reunion? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle didn’t appear to reconnect with Prince William and Duchess Kate at Queen Elizabeth II‘s Service of Thanksgiving during her Platinum Jubilee.

Related: 70 Years Strong! A Timeline of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Events

Harry, 37, Meghan, 40, arrived at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, June 3, for their first official appearance during the celebrations. The couple were previously photographed attending the Trooping the Colour on Thursday, June 2, but did not watch from the Buckingham Palace balcony alongside William, 39, and Kate, 40.

The Cambridge couple didn’t join the Archewell cofounders inside the chapel on Friday. “Senior members of the royal family were seated in the front row and non-senior members in the second row,” the insider explains.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Kept Their Distance From Prince William and Duchess Kate at Queen Elizabeth II's Jubilee Service
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William, and Duchess Kate Shutterstock (2)

According to the source, it was the palace’s decision “to keep them on opposite sides of [the] cathedral to avoid any unwanted attention” after the two couples were “scrutinized” during the 2020 Commonwealth Day Service — Harry and Meghan’s final official engagement as senior working royals.

The Sussexes returned to the U.K. for the first time as a family of four — alongside son Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 11 months — since their final engagement as senior royals in March 2020. Harry and the Suits alum relocated to California following their step back, with the former military pilot returning to London solo in April 2021 for grandfather Prince Philip‘s funeral and in July 2021 for the unveiling of a statue honoring the late Princess Diana.

Related: Prince William and Prince Harry’s Complicated Relationship Over the Years

Weeks before attending the Jubilee, Meghan joined her husband at Windsor Castle in April for a surprise visit with the queen, 96, on their way to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands. At the time, a source exclusively told Us Weekly that William and Kate were not present for the reunion.

“It was purely coincidental. Harry is coming back to visit soon and hopes to see William in person. They are trying to figure things out,” the insider explained, noting that the Duke of Cambridge was out of town on a ski trip. “Harry and Meghan had a wonderful time seeing the queen again. It was one of the biggest highlights of their year so far.”

Since Harry and Meghan’s step back from senior duties, their bond with the Cambridge couple has been a hot topic among royal watchers. Before leaving his senior role behind, Harry confessed in October 2019 that he and William were “on different paths” — and the siblings’ apparent tension only continued to grow.

Related: Where Do Harry and Meghan Stand With the Rest of the Royal Family?

“William was blindsided by Harry and Meghan’s decision [to step back] and [their] statement,” a source told Us in January 2020. “William is incredibly hurt, but at the same time he has his own family to focus on and is trying to move forward with his life.”

Over time, however, the dynamic between the brothers seemed to shift in a more positive direction. Meghan and Kate, for their parts, were “trying to build up a relationship” during the former actress’ 2021 pregnancy, per a source.

The couples’ children have helped keep them close, a separate insider told Us in January, noting that Harry hopes his two kids can bond with Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4, from across the pond. “Harry and Meghan are doing everything they can to make the world a better place,” the source added. “[They] feel it would be wrong to rob their children of the opportunity of getting to know their cousins.”

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