Before the celebrations for the Queen’s platinum anniversary, royal expert Julia Melchior explains important program points. Where do Harry and Meghan show up?
When the official celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the throne of the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II (96) begin tomorrow, Thursday (June 2nd), eyes will not only be on the jubilee. Her grandson, Prince Harry (37), and his wife, Duchess Meghan (40), are also in the public eye. The couple will be traveling from the US with their children Archie, 3, and Lilibet, who turns 1 on Saturday.
The two ex-senior royals who have emigrated will take part in some program items such as the service in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral on Friday. In an interview with spot on news, royal expert Julia Melchior explains, among other things, what to expect from her appearance. Together with Christina von Ungern-Sternberg, Melchior will report from the thanksgiving service for ZDF from 12:10 p.m.
You report on Friday for ZDF from the service in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. What can viewers expect?
Julia Melchior: It will be a very dignified and solemn service full of rituals in a gigantic setting that pays homage to the Queen for her life’s work as head of state and also as head of the Anglican Church. Despite the large number of guests from politics, diplomacy and the many institutions to which the Queen is also associated as patron, it will be very familiar among the participants.
Because the day before at the “Trooping the Color” birthday parade in honor of the Queen and the Queen’s subsequent appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, only the nuclear family with the so-called working or senior royals, i.e. Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla, Prince William, shows up and Duchess Kate with their children, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie.
So the entire royal family is expected at church on Friday, including Harry and Meghan?
Melchior: Yes, they will officially make their first appearance that day. It’s the pair’s first joint appearance in the UK since Megxit over two years ago. The children, Archie and Lilibet, are also on this journey. For the royal family, it will be the first meeting with little Lilibet, who also celebrates her 1st birthday on Saturday (June 4).
I don’t know if the two children will be seen. Great care is taken that Harry and Meghan do not steal the show from the jubilarian. If they used the celebrations as their platform, many would be upset. You’re certainly smart enough to avoid that.
Do you really think Harry and Meghan will hold back?
Melchior: I think so, because England is no longer a home game for the two. Harry and Meghan have lost their supporters in the kingdom. In America they can afford more than in England. Self-marketing in America at the expense of the monarchy in Great Britain is not well received at home. However, the concern that worries the royal family that they will continue to use the family history for their own purposes is justified. Harry is willing to chat about family internals in a way that members of the British royal family do not or do not want to. The couple has already shown that in the television interviews they have given over the past two years.
Of course, the viewers are interested, and that in turn increases the market value of the Sussexes. The royals are massively displeased. They are not just the actors of a soap opera, but people doing a public service. But they also need a space that no outsider can see into. Revealing indiscretions is a betrayal of one’s family. That hurts and destroys the relationship of trust.
Could trust be restored and wounds healed?
Melchior: It’s a good sign that Harry and Meghan are attending the jubilee. But the Queen has always emphasized in all statements about the so-called Megxit that the two and their children “will always be beloved members of the family, even if they are no longer members of the royal family”. To be present at the celebrations despite so much china being smashed shows the Queen means what she says. And it shows the size of the Queen: her stoic handling of family crises – Harry and Meghan are just a small piece of the puzzle.
What do you know about Saturday’s concert and party at Buckingham Palace?
Melchior: The participating artists from Queen and Diana Ross to Elbow and Duran Duran, the stage constructions and light installations in front of Buckingham Palace promise a bombastic anniversary concert. With the massive concert in front of the Palace in 2012 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the royal family set a standard by which they can now be measured and will not disappoint. The English can simply stage themselves. The fact that they can present themselves so well is one of the key success factors of this royal house.
Did the Queen have a say in choosing the artists?
Melchior: No, I don’t think so. But every artist has a special connection to royalty like Elton John, who was very close friends with Princess Diana. Others have been recognized or honored by the Queen.
On Sunday, in addition to the parade in London, there will also be the so-called Big Lunches throughout the UK. What can you imagine?
Melchior: At the Big Lunches, people are encouraged to celebrate together. There are 60,000 registered events. This ranges from small barbecue parties in the garden to the world record attempt to organize the longest street party in the world. The neighborhoods decorate everything, sit down and celebrate a folk festival. You won’t see the queen yourself there. But this way of celebrating is also an expression of their understanding of their ministry. She wants to connect society.
Hopefully she will continue to do so for a very long time. What is your impression of the Queen’s health?
Melchior: To be honest, I personally also expected that we might have to broadcast a funeral service instead of a throne jubilee. Old age and dwindling strength have often given cause for concern in recent months. The Queen has recently been represented at important events such as the State Opening of Parliament. It wasn’t that far off the mark.
But a week ago she celebrated the comeback of a radiant queen with the opening event for her throne jubilee, the Horse Festival in Windsor. That was very gratifying. In these difficult times, she breathes a little hope back into people with her comeback.