Decision to exclude Harry and Meghan from Buckingham Palace reception is ‘beyond bonkers’

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s friend says it’s ‘beyond bonkers’ that couple have been ‘uninvited’ from Palace ‘reception of the century’ and ‘they feel that the majority of the operation’ is against them’

  • King Charles III met Liz Truss before he hosts 1,000 VIPs including world leaders and foreign royalty
  • Guests will include Joe Biden, Jacinda Ardern, Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and European kings and queens
  • Britain will then hold a minute’s silence for his mother the Queen at 8pm on the eve of her funeral
  • Earlier the King smiled and waved at cheering well-wishers as he arrived at Buckingham Palace

The decision to exclude Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from tonight’s ‘reception of the century’ at Buckingham Palace is ‘beyond bonkers’, it was claimed today.

A friend of the couple claims that the Sussexes will feel ‘excluded’ after they were apparently ‘uninvited’ to a state event for 1,000 world leaders and foreign royals attending the Queen’s funeral tomorrow.

It is thought Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle received an invitation to the event, hosted by King Charles and the Queen Consort. But the couple are now unlikely to attend after officials at Buckingham Palace insisted the reception was for working royals only, it is understood.

A friend of the Sussexes told The Sunday Times: ‘It is beyond bonkers if they’re not there. Everyone is coming in from around the world to pay their respects to the Queen.’

The confusion over Harry and Meghan’s invitation points to issues with communication between the Californian-based couple and the Royal Family, according to the Daily Telegraph. It follows an apparent U-turn over Harry’s right to wear military uniform despite being a non-working royal.

Prince Harry has reportedly been left ‘devastated’ and after the Queen’s ‘ER’ initials were removed from the shoulder of his military uniform as he held vigil by her coffin last night – after Prince Andrew was allowed to keep the royal cypher.

The source said today that the flip-flopping over uniform and the Buckingham Palace reception could make him feel as if ‘the majority of the operation is against you. It’s hard — nobody likes to feel like they’re being excluded.’

King Charles III met Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss as he arrived at Buckingham Palace, where he and Queen Consort Camilla will host the ‘reception of the century’ for 1,000 VIPs including world leaders and foreign royals this evening – as the nation holds a minute’s silence for his late mother the Queen on the eve of her state funeral.

The new monarch smiled and waved at well-wishers who cheered him as he was driven through the palace gates in the state Rolls-Royce this afternoon.

Charles then held a reception with the Prime Minister in the 1844 Room at 12.15pm, before he and Camilla will tonight host hundreds of dignitaries, from world leaders including US President Joe Biden, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau to senior members of the British royal family, ambassadors from almost all nations, and foreign royals including Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and the Kings and Queens from Holland, Norway and Spain.

Most dignitaries are also expected to view the Queen’s coffin in the ancient heart of Parliament after being given a VIP timeslot – raising the prospect that mourners who have queued through the night will pay their respects with leaders of the free world.

However, guests asked to wear lounge suits and morning dress rather than ball gowns and white tie as would be expected at a usual state event at the King’s London home. They will arrive at 6pm for drinks and canapes in the Buckingham Palace picture gallery and state apartments.

And reports suggest that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were ‘uninvited’ to a state reception for world leaders and foreign royals this evening.

Mr Biden, who flew in late last night, said that the Queen ‘defined an era’ after she reigned for a record-breaking 70 years. Australia’s anti-monarchy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who viewed the lying-in-state and met Charles yesterday, told Sky News Australia that the Queen was ‘a constant reassuring presence’. There was also a private audience at Buckingham Palace for Ms Ardern, which like Australia and 12 other Commonwealth realms now counts Charles as its sovereign.

The Palace is understood to have intervened to allow Harry to wear his regalia to a 15-minute vigil at Westminster Hall yesterday. Harry had previously said he would wear a morning suit to all the funeral events.

The funeral of the only monarch most Britons have known involves the biggest security operation London has ever seen.

Mayor Sadiq Khan says tomorrow’s state funeral is an ‘unprecedented’ security challenge, with hundreds of thousands of people packing central London and a funeral guest list of 500 emperors, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and other leaders from around the world.

‘It’s been decades since this many world leaders were in one place,’ Mr Khan said. ‘This is unprecedented … in relation to the various things that we’re juggling.’

‘There could be bad people wanting to cause damage to individuals or to some of our world leaders,’ he told The Associated Press. ‘So we are working incredibly hard – the police, the security services and many, many others – to make sure this state funeral is as successful as it can be.’

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the ‘hugely complex’ policing operation is the biggest in the London force’s history, surpassing the London 2012 Olympics.

‘Our response here in London will be proportionate, it will be balanced, and officers will only be taking action where it is absolutely necessary,’ he said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said the goal was to keep the event safe, ‘and try to do it in as unobtrusive a way as possible, because this is obviously a solemn occasion.’

More than 10,000 police officers will be on duty Monday, with London officers supplemented by reinforcements from all of Britain’s 43 police forces. Hundreds of volunteer marshals and members of the armed forces will also act as stewards along the processional route.

They are just the most visible part of a security operation that is being run from a high-tech control center near Lambeth Bridge, not far from Parliament.

Street drains and garbage bins are being searched and sealed. Tomorrow there will be police spotters on rooftops, sniffer dogs on the streets, marine officers on the River Thames and mounted police on horseback.

Flying drones over Central London has been temporarily banned, and Heathrow Airport is grounding scores of flights so that aircraft noise does not disturb the funeral service.

Authorities face the challenge of keeping 500 world leaders safe, without ruffling too many diplomatic feathers. Presidents, prime ministers and royalty will gather offsite before being taken by bus to the abbey – though an exception is being made for Mr Biden, who is expected to arrive in his armored limousine, known as The Beast.

Another challenge is the sheer size of the crowds expected to gather around Westminster Abbey and along the route the coffin will travel after the funeral, past Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park. From there it will be taken by hearse about 20 miles to Windsor, where another 2,000 police officers will be on duty.

The Queen is due to be interred in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside her husband Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99.

Police are deploying more than 22 miles of barriers in central London to control the crowds, and transit bosses are preparing for jam-packed stations, buses and subway trains as 1million people flood the ceremonial heart of London. Subways will run later than normal and train companies are adding extra services to help get people home.

While many will be mourning the queen, support for the monarchy is far from universal. Police have already drawn criticism for arresting several people who staged peaceful protests during events related to the queen’s death and the accession of King Charles III.

Mr Cundy said it had been made clear to officers that ‘people have a right to protest.’

The final day of the Queen’s lying in state is set to take place, while a minute’s silence will be held later to mourn her death.

The late monarch’s coffin will remain in Westminster Hall for the public to view until 6.30am on Monday, ahead of the state funeral in Westminster Abbey, with Sunday likely to be the last chance to join the queue.

Tens of thousands of mourners are still queueing for at least 13 hours on the final day of Her Majesty’s lying-in-state at the Palace of Westminster before her coffin is removed from public view at 6.30am tomorrow, the morning of her state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

At 8pm, the country will observe a one-minute silence to remember the Queen, with people invited to mark the occasion privately at home, on their doorstep or street, or at community events and vigils.

It will come shortly after the Queen Consort pays a televised tribute to the late monarch, recalling her ‘wonderful blue eyes’ and saying: ‘I will always remember her smile.’

Camilla, in pre-recorded words on the BBC, will speak of how Queen Elizabeth II was a ‘solitary woman’ in a male-dominated world.

She will add: ‘I can’t remember anyone except the Queen being there.’

There will also be a service of reflection near Falkirk, Scotland at 7.30pm.

The DCMS has said the historic occasion will be shown on giant screens in various locations across the UK – from London’s Hyde Park to Coleraine Town Hall in Northern Ireland.

Around 125 cinemas will also be screening the event – along with Sky News, ITV and the BBC for people watching from home.

On Saturday evening, the Queen’s eight grandchildren together staged a heart-rending evening vigil around their beloved Granny’s coffin.

The Prince of Wales, at the head of the coffin, with his brother the Duke of Sussex at the foot, both in the Blues and Royals No 1 uniform, stood with their heads bowed in her honour in sombre silence in the vast Westminster Hall.

Future king William was flanked at the corners by his cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Philips.

Harry was between Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, with 18-year-old Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn – the Queen’s youngest grandchild who is just 14 – at the middle on either side of the coffin.

The grandchildren, invited by the King, had wanted to pay their respects as their parents had done the evening before.

William and the King also went on a walkabout in the afternoon to greet mourners in the queue for the lying in state, after Charles was given a tour of the Metropolitan Police Service Special Operations Room.

Hundreds of people in line at Lambeth, south London, cheered and applauded, with William and Charles shaking scores of hands and the prince discussing how long people had waited and whether they were able to keep warm.

 

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