Queen Elizabeth II skips Platinum Jubilee church service

Jun 3, 2022, 7:17 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 10:58 am
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive for a service of thanksgiving for...
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive for a service of thanksgiving for the reign of Queen Elizabeth II at St Paul's Cathedral in London, Friday, June 3, 2022 on the second of four days of celebrations to mark the Platinum Jubilee. The events over a long holiday weekend in the U.K. are meant to celebrate the monarch's 70 years of service. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)
(AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)

LONDON (AP) — Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, joined other members of Britain’s royal family on Friday for a church service honoring Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne, making their first public appearance in the U.K. since stepping back from royal duties two years ago.

The queen skipped the event at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, which came on the second of four days of festivities marking her Platinum Jubilee. The 96-year-old monarch has had difficulty moving around in recent months and experienced “some discomfort” after smiling and waving to throngs of supporters from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Thursday afternoon.

But royal watchers quickly shifted their focus to Harry and Meghan, who held hands as they walked down the long central aisle accompanied only by a military officer in a scarlet dress tunic. Other guests craned their necks to watch the couple take their places in the second row, underscoring their lesser roles as non-working members of the royal family.

Prince Charles, who represented the queen, and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, had special chairs in the front row on the other side of the central aisle. Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge were seated next to them.

Harry and Meghan sparked tensions within the royal family when they moved to California and signed lucrative media contracts. The rift deepened after they made allegations of racism and bullying in the royal household. But they flew back to Britain for the jubilee celebrations, bringing their son, Archie, and daughter, Lilibet, who had never met her great grandmother the queen.

“This is, again, Elizabeth II trying to put on a united front, bringing her family together one last time, probably, during her reign, so that … handing over to the next monarch, she can be seen to have done at least publicly her best to try and unite the divisions that have opened up within the family group over the last couple of years,” Ed Owens, author of “The Family Firm: Monarchy Mass Media and the British Public 1932-53” said in an interview before the jubilee.

The service of thanksgiving took place a day after the celebrations opened with the glittering military parade known as Trooping the Color, an event that has marked the sovereign’s official birthday for some 260 years.

Following the event, tens of thousands of royal supporters cheered wildly as Elizabeth joined other senior royals on the palace balcony and 70 military aircraft roared overhead in salute.

The queen doggedly appeared later in the evening outside her home at Windsor Castle for the final moments of an international beacon lighting ceremony. Moving slowly and with some difficulty she pressed an illuminated globe that sent a river of lights flooding toward Buckingham Palace, where a sculpture of living trees was lit up.

Though the palace said she had enjoyed the festivities, the queen apparently decided that another trip from Windsor back into London on Friday might be a bit much. Prince Charles again stood in for his mother at the church service, as he has often done of late.

But the queen was still part of the service as participants assumed she was watching on television.

Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell spoke directly to her in his sermon, playfully riffing on her love of horse racing.

“I’m afraid I don’t have any great tips for the Derby tomorrow, but since the scriptures describe life as a race set before us, let me observe that your long reign reflects the distance of Aintree rather than the sprints of Epsom …,’’ he joked. “But with endurance, through times of change and challenge, joy and sorrow, you continue to offer yourself in the service of our country and the commonwealth.”

“Your Majesty, we’re sorry you’re not with us this morning, but we are so glad you are still in the saddle,” he added. “And we are all glad that there is still more to come.’’


Follow AP’s coverage of Queen Elizabeth II at

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

An Egyptian archeologist speaks at a recently discovered tomb dated to the Old Kingdom, 2700–2200...

Egypt unveils tombs and sarcophagus in new excavation

Egypt on Thursday unveiled dozens of new archaeological discoveries, including two ancient tombs, at a Pharaonic necropolis just outside of the capital Cairo.
8 days ago
A Yanomami youth carries a toddler on his shoulders at the Saude Indigenous House, a center respons...
Eleoneore Hughes and Edmar Barros, Associated Press

Why Brazil’s Yanomami are being decimated by disease, mining

Severe malnutrition and disease, particularly malaria, are decimating the Yanomami population in Brazil's Amazon rainforest, and on Jan. 20 the federal government declared a public health emergency.
8 days ago
Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, tours a neighborhood in Kharkiv ...
Hanna Arhirova, Associated Press

Russian attacks on Ukraine reported; tank training to start

Ukrainian officials say Russia has launched a new wave of missile and self-exploding drone attacks on the country.
9 days ago
woman leans off skyscraper for video content...
Larry D. Curtis

Sundance: ‘Fantastic Machine’ entertains while examining relationship between humans and camera

While the Utah's political leaders grapple with laws to combat the dangers of social media, Utah's Sundance Film Festival premiered "Fantastic Machine," turning the camera lens not only the camera but what it has meant to humans — spoiler: it has drastically changed us.
10 days ago
U.S. M1/A1 Abrams tanks...
TARA COPP and LOLITA BALDOR Associated Press

Why the US flipped on sending tanks to Ukraine

For months, U.S. officials balked at sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, insisting they were too complicated and too hard to maintain and repair.
10 days ago
This diagram made available by NASA shows the estimated trajectory of asteroid 2023 BU, in red, aff...
Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer

Asteroid coming exceedingly close to Earth, but will miss

An asteroid the size of a delivery truck will whip past Earth on Thursday night, one of the closest encounters ever recorded.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Queen Elizabeth II skips Platinum Jubilee church service