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Pictures |  Harry and Meghan at Jubilee Mass without Elizabeth II

Pictures | Harry and Meghan at Jubilee Mass without Elizabeth II

Without the exhausted Queen, but with Harry and Meghan: Britain’s royals gathered Friday for a religious service to celebrate 70 years of Elizabeth II’s historic reign, the second day of her platinum jubilee.

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On Thursday evening, Buckingham Palace announced the ‘reluctantly’ absence of the 96-year-old monarch, however he is head of the Church and highly religious, out of a certain ‘discomfort’. As is often the case, the Queen, who has difficulty walking, is represented by her heir Charles.

France Press agency

She had appeared twice Thursday on the balcony of the palace, and had participated Thursday evening at Windsor Castle in a short ceremony to light the decorations.

The religious ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral in London marks the first royal appearances in the UK for Prince Harry and Meghan since they left for California two years ago.

France Press agency

The Duke of Sussex, military medals dangling from his jacket, and the Duchess, in a white dress, arrived shortly after 11 a.m. (1000 GMT) to applaud – and some jeers – on the cathedral steps.

Before their arrival, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been booed by the crowd holding the hands of his wife Carrie and his predecessors Tony Blair and David Cameron.

France Press agency

Heavy celebration surrounds this religious celebration, with guards in traditional dress in rows on the front yard and on the steps, and the bells ringing constantly. The event, attended by about 2,000 people, is one of the highlights of the four days of festivities marking the record longevity of the hugely popular Queen Elizabeth, who ascended the throne at the age of 25 on February 6, 1952.

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“It’s a very moving moment,” admits Karen Fletcher, 55, who came early in the morning in front of St. Paul. “We will never see anything like this again,” she adds, saying to herself “sad” that the Queen is not coming, with the understanding that she “has to take care of herself.”

“It’s historic,” adds Roger Nagy, 51, who came specifically from the United States. He found the monarchy to be “great” and, for Harry and Meghan, “should stay behind and can do whatever they want with their lives, but he shouldn’t say anything, that’s all for the Queen, not for them.”

France Press agency

The return of the Sussexes, who had come from the US with her two young children to celebrate, has caused a lot of hostile ink to pour out, a reflection of the great unpopularity in the UK since their departure and their sensational confessions about US TV.

After the family tensions of the past two years, all gestures and looks before, during and after the service will be examined with a magnifying glass. For two years, relations between Harry, 37, and William, 39, second in line to the throne, were almost non-existent. They are hardly better with her father, Prince Charles, heir to the crown.

France Press agency

According to the couple’s biographer, Omid Scobey, they dined with family members in Windsor on Thursday, giving the Queen a chance to meet their daughter Lillipet for the first time, who celebrates her first birthday on Saturday.

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Buckingham Palace said Andrew, the Queen’s second son, was absent on Friday after contracting Covid-19. He no longer has any official role, since accusations of sexual assault linked to the Epstein case in the United States, for which he ended up paying several million dollars.

Neither he nor Harry and Meghan were invited to the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Thursday, as tens of thousands of Londoners cheered the Queen. Meghan and Harry were spotted from afar watching the military parade salute the colors from another building.

The celebrations will continue on Saturday with a grand evening concert in front of Buckingham Palace, before thousands of lunches and folk parties among neighbors on Sunday, and a huge parade through the streets of London in the evening, with the participation of nearly 10,000 participants.

Taking advantage of this patriotic atmosphere, and in contrast to the 96-year-old monarch preparing for the future, the Conservative government launched consultations on Friday to restore, in the wake of Brexit, the use of the imperial measurement system, with pounds being returned instead of kilograms in shops, and allowing the size of the Pints ​​certified with a logo representing a crown in place of the European CE.