No queen, but Prince Harry and Meghan to appear at church service

Although the couple have become divisive figures since their decision to step down from royal duties and move to the United States, they were met by some cheers from the crowd. Harry responded with a small wave.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who arrived before the Sussexes, was met with audible boos when he arrived to attend the service with his wife.

The queen herself is not at the service. The palace said in a statement late Thursday that the 96-year-old monarch was suffering from “discomfort” and had decided “with great reluctance” not to attend after the “journey and activity” of the first day of celebrations to mark her 70 years on the throne.

The queen’s health had been a concern in the lead-up to the jubilee. She tested positive for Covid earlier this year and has been suffering from what the palace calls calls “episodic mobility problems.”

She was still able to make two appearances from the famed palace balcony as the nation began four days of events to hail her long reign.

Harry and Meghan were not among the royals who joined her there to watch the Royal Air Force flypast, with that honor reserved for working members of the family.

The Sussexes have maintained a low profile since returning to London with their two children to attend the jubilee. The events offer the first opportunity for their daughter, Lilibet, to meet her namesake.

It’s their first appearance together on British soil since they stepped down from royal duties two years ago.

Harry and Meghan joined other members of the royal family and officials including the Lord Mayor at the cathedral in central London.

The country’s largest church bell, Great Paul, was set to ring at 11 a.m. local time (6 a.m. ET), marking the first time the historic bell would be rung for a royal occasion.

The service will include prayers, anthems and bible readings. A new anthem by Judith Weir, Master of The Queen’s Music, will also debut.

Another royal who will not be in attendance is Prince Andrew, who has tested positive for Covid, according to the palace on Thursday.

The four-day festivities will continue until Sunday, with street parties planned across Britain and a pageant featuring royals, celebrities and circus acts set to parade around Buckingham Palace.