THE QUEEN did not publicly acknowledge the birthday of Meghan Markle on social media on Thursday. The Twitter and Instagram accounts of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were at pains to wish a happy 41st birthday to the Duchess of Sussex on August 4. On the other hand, the social media profiles representing the Queen remained silent when it came to marking Meghan’s big day.
The Royal Family Twitter account only shared one post on Thursday, strictly focused on an engagement carried out by one of its hardest-working members, Princess Anne. The tweet included three pictures taken during the Princess Royal’s meeting with cadets at the Redford Barracks ahead of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, of which she is the patron.
The post read: “One day to go! The Princess Royal was in Edinburgh this morning where she enjoyed a sneak peek of the @edinburghtattoo rehearsals ahead of their opening night tomorrow. “The Princess, who is Patron of @edinburghtattoo, met piper training cadets at the Redford Barracks.” While the Queen was described as a “notable absence” by the Daily Express royal correspondent Richard Palmer when it came to celebrating Meghan’s birthday, he stressed the lack of public messages was not thought to be a snub.
Looking into the real reason behind this silence, Mr Palmer spoke of a new social media practice Buckingham Palace may be adopting when it comes to marking the birthdays of non-working royals. The expert wrote in the Daily Express: “It is thought the Queen congratulated Meghan privately yesterday but her official website neglected to mention her birthday after deciding it will only mark the birthdays of non-working members of the family when they end in a zero.” Meghan and Harry have remained close to Her Majesty despite their split from the Royal Family and the rumoured ongoing tensions with some members of the institution.
During their interview with Oprah Winfrey aired in March last year, the Duke and Duchess stressed how they have kept in touch with the monarch after moving to California. Moreover, Prince Harry spoke of a “really special relationship” between him and his grandmother during an interview with US broadcaster Hoda Kotb in April, during the Invictus Games 2020 at The Hague. A few days prior, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had flown to Windsor for a private meeting with the sovereign.
A month later, the pair returned to the UK – this time bringing along their two children – to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee. During the brief stay in England, they are believed to have held a private meeting with the Queen during which she finally met in person Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana. Reports that emerged days later claimed the monarch had banned the Sussexes from bringing a photographer with them to take a picture of this sweet encounter amid palace fears they might cash in on pictures to boost the value of their own commercial brand.
Since Meghan and Harry announced their intention to step back as senior royals, the Queen has stressed in public statements the Sussexes would remain much-loved members of her family no matter their status. The social media profiles of the three royal households have traditionally only ever publicly marked the birthdays of senior members of the Firm.
But they have been making an exception for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who stopped being senior members of the family at the end of March 2020, and their children.
In May, the three social media accounts wished Archie Harrison a happy birthday using official pictures taken when he was only a few days and months old. On June 4, the Queen, the Cambridges and Prince Charles’s Twitter accounts published their birthday wishes for Lilibet as she turned one. Noticeably, they did so without adding any photograph, as no official picture of the tot with members of the Firm has ever been made public. While the Queen’s Twitter and Instagram accounts were silent over Meghan’s birthday, Prince William and Kate’s profiles led the way in marking it.
They wrote on Twitter: “Wishing a happy birthday to The Duchess of Sussex!” This message was paired with a picture of Meghan taken outside of St Paul’s Cathedral on June 3, where she joined other royals to attend the service of thanksgiving for the Jubilee. A similar message was shared by Charles and Camilla’s Twitter account, which also posted a photo of Meghan wearing her white outfit at the service alongside a balloon emoji and the words: “Happy birthday to The Duchess of Sussex!”