On Saturday, Prince William and Prince Harry reunited for the first time publicly since the passing of their grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. The former Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle joined their husbands to pay tribute to a memorial for the late royal, who on Thursday died at the age of 96.
A spokesperson for Prince William told TODAY: “The Prince of Wales invited the Duke and Duchess to join him and the Princess of Wales earlier.”
The couples were dressed in black and seemed somber as they paid their respects. The brothers walked side by side, with their wives on either side of them. They greeted the throngs of mourners pressed up against the barricades, shaking hands and accepting flowers and cards. The Prince and Princess of Wales already were seen publicly, while this was the first time the public got to see Harry and Meghan since the death of the queen.
During his first public speech as King Charles III on Friday, the newly minted monarch unexpectedly mentioned his son and daughter-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, wishing them the best.
“I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas,” King Charles said in his inaugural address to the United Kingdom.
According to Wendy Naugle, editor-in-chief of People magazine, the remark was seen as an "olive branch" as the couple decided to take a step back from the royal life in 2020 and raise a family in California.
On Saturday, the Accession Council marked the start of a 10-day period of both mourning the former queen and swearing in the new king. The ceremony consists of two parts, with only members of the Privy Council and "certain others invited" allowed to the first. The latter part, which is only open to council members, is the king's first meeting with the group.
Prince Harry notably did not the ceremony, though Prince William, other politicians and advisers who served the queen did.
Though it is unknown whether or not Prince Harry received an invitation, he is not a member of the council. According to the official royal website, the Privy Council is comprised of cabinet ministers and some junior ministers, all of whom advise the monarch.
Kim Hjelmgaard, a world affairs correspondent at USA TODAY, previously told TODAY that it is possible Prince Harry used to be a member, but has since been removed from the list.
“It could be that he was taken off (the list) for one reason or another,” he said.
Hjelmgaard noted that Prince Harry not attending his father's ceremony Saturday was likely because he and Meghan have been distancing themselves from the royal family over the last couple of years.
“Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan Markle ... have obviously retreated from royal life over the last number of years for a number of different reasons. They, themselves, seem to feel that they did not want to be part of the royal family as much. I mean, they still have the royal titles, but there was claims of mistreatment against them by the Sussexes. Allegations of casual racism to do with the Sussexes’ child, Archie, the firstborn anyway, and they’ve moved to California ... So there is this kind of like withdrawal from the royal family that obviously plays into it," Hjelmgaard said.
After a nationwide 10-day mourning period, Queen Elizabeth will be laid to rest in a funeral ceremony on Monday, Sept. 19 at 11 a.m. BST at Westminster Abbey. For four days leading up to the ceremony, the former queen will Lie-in-State in Westminster Hall, according to Buckingham Palace.
On Monday, Sept. 12, royal officials said a procession will be formed on the forecourt of the Palace of Holyroodhouse to bring her coffin to St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland. King Charles and members of the royal family are expected to take part in both the procession and a service at the church.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com