The Daily Beast reported yesterday that it was “highly unlikely” that Queen Elizabeth was planning to “attend a rumored first birthday party for her great-grand-daughter Lilibet at Frogmore Cottage on Saturday,” and so it turned out.
The Sun reports that the “relaxed” birthday party for Lilibet, held by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, was absent real royals, with only the Tindall and Phillips kids—the grandchildren of Princess Anne—expected to show up.
Their parents—Zara and Mike Tindall, and Peter and Autumn Philips—are not HRHs, which makes their attendance entirely uncontroversial.
The queen, who was not well enough to make most of her own Jubilee celebrations, did not attend. Laid up at Windsor with mobility problems, she was in her “comfy clothes” watching the racing on TV, as Zara later told reporters at the Derby horse race. HM is believed to be gathering her strength in the hope she can make a balcony appearance Sunday to wrap up the four-day weekend.
William and Kate, meanwhile, made it amply clear they were not attending Lilibet’s first birthday party, and nor were their children, by the simple expedient of making a high profile public appearance hundreds of miles away in Cardiff with George and Charlotte Saturday.
Online joy was visible however, with birthday wishes for Lilibet issuing forth from the social media accounts of the Royal Family, Charles and Camilla, and Will and Kate. In private, it is known that the queen met her namesake for the first time at a private meeting with Harry and his family.
The Sun says Harry and Meghan “held an informal garden party at Frogmore Cottage, on the royal estate, with a birthday cake, balloons, party games and picnic snacks.”
Whoever has spoken to the paper is well-briefed on the event; and whatever else, it serves to show that the Sussexes have enjoyed at least one occasion over these last few days of Platinum Jubilee events—a period of time which, at least visually, has seemed to have underscored their isolation from the rest of the royals. Has Harry even spoken to William? No one knows. Not a smile has been exchanged the pair in public at least.
Sources told the Sun: “It was a lovely do and had everything you’d expect from a child’s birthday party. But there was no formal entertainment. The idea was for it to be very relaxed and casual, with people free to pop in and out as they wished. It was a nice opportunity for the other royal children to meet Lilibet for the first time. And as her first birthday is such a milestone, there was lots of discussion ahead of time about the presents that she would be given on the day. One idea that proved very popular was a £75 pink Volkswagen Beetle ride-on toy, which had been spotted in Selfridges.”
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