A move to California, a global pandemic and family tensions have kept Harry and Meghan apart from the royal family for two and a half years, and the distance was evident today as the royal households shared their birthday greetings for the couple’s son Archie.
The youngster will celebrate his third birthday today at home in Montecito with his parents and younger sister Lilibet.
To mark the occasion, the Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla, and Kate and William all shared their greetings on social media at the exact same time.
But in the absence of any family gatherings, both Prince Charles and the Cambridges were forced to two use identical pictures to last year, while the Queen chose a famous old snap of her meeting her great grandson in 2019.
The toddler, who is seventh-in-line to the throne, was last in the UK in the autumn of 2019, before the Sussexes left to spend Christmas in Canada, with pandemic travel restrictions hampering planned visits in the meantime.
The Royal Family Instagram account shared a story wishing Archie a happy birthday, sharing this snap which was first released shortly after Archie’s birth in May 2019
Meanwhile, Prince Charles’ more informal message reads: ‘Happy birthday Archie’, accompanied by a heart emoji, featuring a snap taken at Archie’s Christening in 2019, which he shared last year to mark the toddler’s birthday
This Instagram story, shared by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, featured a family portrait taken at Archie’s Christening in July 2019, and was shared by the couple last year, as they sent greetings to their nephew
Prince Harry last saw the Queen in April, when he and Meghan paid a flying secret visit to the UK ahead of travelling to The Netherlands for the Invictus Games, however they were not joined by their two children.
His relations with his father Prince Charles are still believed to be strained, after reports suggesting the pair were frosty with each other at a Windsor meeting during the trip. It was also reported that Prince William and wife Kate went ski ing to avoid meeting with the Duke of Sussex.
And Harry caused controversy by telling US TV host Hoda Kotb in an interview for the Today show that he sees himself as the Queen’s ‘protector’.
‘It was just so nice to see her, you know, she’s on great form, she’s always got a great sense of humor with me and I’m making sure she’s protected and got the right people around her.’
While Harry’s family may have spent some time with Archie when he lived in Windsor, it’s believed the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William have never met Lili, who was born in June 2021.
The Queen’s birthday greetings to Archie from 2021 was the only message from the senior royals to use a different image than the one shared this year
Clarence House, the account representing Prince Charles and Camilla, shared this black and white Christening snap both in 2021 and 2022
Meanwhile the Cambridges also recycled this 2021 snap from Archie’s Christening (pictured, L-R) Prince Charles, Doria Ragland, Princess Diana’s sisters Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and Prince William. Seated: the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with Archie and the Duchess of Cambridge
Today, the Royal Family Instagram account, which is managed by the Queen’s staff, shared the message: ‘Wishing Archie Mountbatten-Windsor a very happy 3rd birthday.’
Prince Charles’ more informal message reads: ‘Happy birthday Archie’, accompanied by a heart emoji.
The accompanying black and white photograph shows Harry gazing down at Archie in his Christening robes while proud grandfather Prince Charles looks on, smiling.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge opted for a larger family photograph taken at Archie’s Christening, featuring Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland as well as Princess Diana’s sisters Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale.
Last year, on Archie’s second birthday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a photo of Archie, with his back to the camera, in the garden.
They shared the image on their Archewell website, along with a request for people to donate money to support Covid-19 vaccination rollouts in developing countries.
Additionally, it was reported that the young royal would enjoy a video call with his UK-based family members, including the Queen.
For Archie’s first birthday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a video of him reading a book with his mother in support of Save The Children.
However, it remains to be seen if fans will be given a fresh glimpse of the toddler today. As of now, the last official snap of the Archie was shared last year, when he appeared in the Sussexes’ Christmas card snap alongside his parents and younger sister Lilibet.
Last year, Harry and Meghan marked Archie’s birthday by sharing this image of him on their Archewell website, and calling on their fans to donate to vaccine funds for developing nations
The last official snap of Archie was shared last year. This photo, for the Sussexes’ 2021 Christmas card, showed the tot alongside his parents and younger sister Lilibet
It is also not yet known whether the toddler will have a chance to meet his extended family at the Queen’s upcoming Platinum Jubilee celebrations, as the Sussexes have yet to confirm whether they will attend.
The celebrations will begin on Thursday June 2nd, running to Sunday June 5th, and royals are expected on the Buckingham Palace balcony at either end of the celebration.
But earlier this week, Omid Scobie, a friend of the Sussexes, said the Prince will play the rest of the 12 goal polo season at Santa Barbara, California, with his Los Padres teammates.
His announcement followed the prince being snapped playing a friendly game of polo with his old friend Nacho Figuera at Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club for the annual Harry East Memorial Tournament last week.
The Finding Freedom author says Harry will participate in the Folded Hills Pope Challenge between May 9th-15th, Lisle Nixon Cup from May 20th-29th as well as the Cheval Athletics USPA Intra-Circuit which runs June 3rd-19th.
While Harry could still attend main events if his schedule permits, royal experts have noted that the Sussexes have yet to confirm whether they will take part or not.
Speculation that Prince Harry and his family will miss the Jubilee has been rife, since Omid Scobie, a friend of the Sussexes, revealed earlier this week that Prince Harry will be playing the entire polo season in California
According to royal author Tom Bower, this delay in confirmation is deliberate on Harry and Meghan’s part, and they are encouraging the uncertainty ‘because their status and income depends on constant mention in the media’.
He told MailOnline: ‘There have always been serious doubts that Harry and Meghan would come to the celebrations. Firstly because as private citizens they could not be in the spotlight on the balcony.
‘Secondly because Princes Charles and William are furious about their lies about them in the Oprah Winfrey interview and, after Harry’s recent NBC interview, no longer trust him and Meghan to behave properly. Third, because Meghan hasn’t got the courage to face Kate after her misleading allegations in the Oprah interview.
‘Meghan fears the bad headlines if she returns to Britain. However we don’t know how the continuing argument among Palace officials and the Royal Family will finally be resolved.
‘They encourage the uncertainty because their status and income depends on constant mention in the media. They are addicted to preening their self-importance. Unfortunately the damage their deliberate public ‘indecision’ is causing to the monarchy is impossible to prevent. It’s all part of their financial strategy.’
Prince Harry is accused of ‘plotting to bring the monarchy down’ by his biographer Angela Levin following reports he may miss the Queen’s Jubilee to play polo in California
Royal biographer Angela Levin has accused Prince Harry of ‘plotting to bring the monarchy down’ as speculation continues over whether he will attend the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations next month.
Ms Levin, a royal commentator and author of several biographies of senior members of the family, made the comments during an interview with GB News.
She appeared on the channel discussing reports that Harry, 37, who lives in a $14m mansion in Montecito with wife Meghan, 40, and their two children Archie and Lilibet, may miss the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations next month, to stay in California and play polo.
Presenter Colin Brazier said these reports suggest that the Duke of Sussex is ‘up to his old tricks’.
Prince Harry, pictured here with his wife Meghan Markle at the Invictus Games last month, has been accused of ‘plotting to bring down the monarchy’ by royal biographer Angela Levin
Angela Levin (pictured), a royal biographer, says Prince Harry’s comments about his brother and father being ‘trapped’ must be upsetting to the 96-year-old monarch
The biographer replied: ‘He’s plotting, one step after the other, trying to bring the monarchy down.
‘What else is he trying to do? He’s trying to destroy it. He says his brother and father are trapped, he’s absolutely must be upsetting the Queen, he pretends he wants to look after her, but he’s not there when he wants to.’
She also criticised the royal for reportedly ‘turning up for 10-15 minutes’ for his recent meeting with the Queen, which he attended while in Europe for the Invictus Games, noting her Majesty’s recent ill health and advanced age of 96.
Additionally, she claimed Harry is believed to arrived late to his subsequent meeting with Prince Charles, meaning that reunion was cut short.
Ms Levin said: ‘It’s all some sort of nasty game I think, it’s plotting, it’s some sort of chess.’
The Duke of Sussex has not yet confirmed whether he will join his family (pictured here in June 2018) for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations next month