As expected, a lot of attention this weekend was on The Invictus Games as the Sussexes, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, made their first international appearance together since their move to the United States. But before that it was confirmed that during a pitstop to England before heading to The Hague, Harry and Meghan visited the Queen, in person, at Windsor Castle on Thursday.
According to Omid Scobie:
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex went virtually unnoticed as they were driven from their Frogmore Cottage residence to nearby Windsor Castle on a day that much of Britain’s royal press was gathered outside the estate’s St George’s Chapel, where Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were standing in for the monarch at a traditional coin-giving ceremony known as Maundy Service.
Meghan and Harry are understood to have also met with Charles and Camilla for the first time since March 2020.
Buckingham Palace aides and senior royal sources tell BAZAAR that they did not learn of the couple’s reunion with the monarch until after it took place. However, Harry and Meghan’s visit didn’t go completely missed. Eagle-eyed pensioners on a bus after the church ceremony—which saw "Maundy coins" given to 192 pensioners for their contributions to the community—told Britain’s The Sun that they spotted the couple as they left the palace.”
So the visit happened with no leaks, even though royal reporters were in the vicinity. Which tells you who usually feeds the British tabloids, or who was feeding the British tabloids, before Harry and Meghan stepped down as senior members of the royal family. Their visit with the Queen was meant to be private – and they were able to keep it that way because they locked it down, protecting their plans and their movements from the palace courtiers. Harry figured out how to bypass those vipers and spend time alone with his grandmother… so if the courtiers want to know what they talked about, they’d have to question the Queen herself.
And then it was on to Invictus where the Sussexes were, of course, the main attraction. And by design. As I mentioned last week, putting the spotlight on Invictus means putting the spotlight on the Sussexes. If all goes to plan, Harry will never be King of England, but if he is the head of anything, it’s Invictus, and watching him and Meghan this weekend, it really did feel like it was a President and First Lady moment. It was Meghan who introduced Harry at the Opening Ceremony, not unlike the way it all goes down at one of the political conventions during an American election year:
"This is service. This is dedication. And this is the Invictus family."— Omid Scobie (@scobie) April 16, 2022
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex gives a speech at the @InvictusGamesNL opening ceremony before introducing Prince Harry to the stage. pic.twitter.com/L3v6fDucZh
Over the last few days, Harry and Meghan visited with the athletes, toured the venue, were followed around by fans and media, all while surrounded by heavy security. It’s been the most Sussex content we’ve had since their trip to New York last year – and on that point I think back to those rumours a couple of weeks ago about them possibly attending Brooklyn Beckham’s wedding in Miami. It was the Sun that reported that they “could” be there, a sure sign of bullsh-t, because that’s just about the loosest verb to use when it comes to celebrity gossip. Anybody “could” be anything and go anywhere.
But where the Sussexes are concerned, knowing the heat that they’d soon be bringing to Invictus, and being the savvy media players that they are – let’s not pretend that Harry and Meghan aren’t fully aware of their own celebrity and don’t wield it accordingly – they’d well understand how to maximise their profile, and not dilute the impact of the power of their joint presence at the Games. And why would they share any of that for the Beckham wedding, right?
More on the Sussex media strategy in the days to come.