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It was one of the highlights of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations - the Red Arrows’ patriotic plumes of red, white and blue filling the skies over Buckingham Palace, to the delight of the Royal family on the balcony.
Yet The Telegraph has learned that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were in such a rush to leave last month’s Trooping the Colour ceremony in honour of the Queen’s 70 years on the throne that they missed the flypast altogether.
As the aerial show featuring the Royal Air Force aerobatics team captivated the nation, the couple were already making their way back to Frogmore Cottage, their Windsor home, to see their children Archie, three, and Lilibet, one.
Although prevented from watching from the balcony, they could have joined their fellow “non-working” royals on the roof of St James’ Palace for the display by 70 aircraft including Typhoon fighters, but opted to go home instead.
The swift exit meant the couple also avoided a family lunch with royal cousins, including Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, after watching the parade of pomp and pageantry together from the Major General’s Office overlooking Horse Guards.
According to several sources, the cousins had planned to pay Harry and Meghan a visit at Frogmore later that day, but the “celebratory” lunch went on much longer than planned. As one insider put it: “It was quite boozy and went on well into the early evening, by which point there was no time to get to Windsor to see the Sussexes.”
The details of exactly what happened when the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex were reunited with the Royal family for the first time since their bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview have emerged amid talk of an “uneasy truce” between the couple and “The Firm” over allegations of bullying against the Duchess, which she denies.
On Thursday, it emerged that an official investigation into the handling of claims made against Meghan would be kept secret, with even those who participated kept in the dark about its findings.
The review, conducted by an independent legal firm, will never be published, nor will staff be updated on the changes made as a result.
The decision has raised serious questions about transparency at the publicly funded institution and its responsibility towards members of staff working closely with the Royal family.
The unusual silence on either side about the issue has also led to speculation that Buckingham Palace and Sussexes, who work closely with their lawyers, are both moving to downplay the long-running dispute.
Both sides are understood to be hopeful of drawing a line under the episode - after the Duke and Duchess met with the Queen at Windsor Castle as soon as they arrived in the UK on June 1.
Contrary to reports they introduced her to Lilibet after the Trooping ceremony, they actually flew into Farnborough airport the day before and headed straight for Her Majesty’s private apartments.
The couple had hoped to bring their own photographer to capture the first meeting between the sovereign, whose family nickname is Lilibet, and her great-granddaughter.
However, the Queen personally intervened to prevent an official image being taken, apparently advising the couple that she had a bloodshot eye and did not want to feature in any pictures for public consumption. It came after aides expressed fears that publicising a private meeting could set a dangerous precedent, not least if any photographs were shared with US television networks or Netflix, with whom the couple have signed a multi-million dollar contract.
The Duke is thought to have expressed a desire to get an official photograph of the two Lilibets together at some point in the future.
The Telegraph has also learned that the Sussexes’ decision to take a solo walk down the lengthy aisle of St Paul’s Cathedral for the service of thanksgiving on June 3 “raised eyebrows” behind palace walls - not least when they could have walked with Beatrice, Eugenie and their husbands, who were seated next to them in the pews.
One of the reasons the couple were spotted leaving Clarence House that Friday morning was because they were in a security “pod” with the Duke of York’s daughters, having apparently expressed concerns about their level of protection throughout the whistlestop visit.
Clive Alderton, the Prince of Wales’ private secretary, was strategically seated at the end of the row behind the Sussexes - who had no contact with the Duke of Duchess of Cambridge during the hour-long service, nor throughout the weekend.
Although the wider family were invited to Lilibet’s first birthday party on the Saturday, only the Tindalls’ and Mr Phillips’ children attended, while their parents spent the afternoon at the Epsom Derby.
According to one source: “There was a bit of reluctance among the royals to admit to having any involvement in Lilibet’s birthday party.”
That day, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took Prince George and Princess Charlotte on their first official engagement to Wales, carrying out a series of duties in Cardiff. There was no interaction between the couples or their children.
The Sussexes were offered the opportunity to attend both the Party at the Palace on the Saturday night and Sunday afternoon’s Platinum Pageant, but declined both - leaving the UK before the colourful carnival swept down The Mall.