Queen Elizabeth could meet her Sussex great granddaughter, Lilibet, for the first time on her birthday, which falls on Saturday, it has been reported.
British tabloid the Sun reported Monday that there is mounting expectation that Her Majesty will be the guest of honor at Harry and Meghan’s daughter’s first birthday party on June 4.
The queen has never met Lilibet, who was born in America and has never visited the U.K. There was controversy at the time of her birth around the child’s name, which is the same as the queen’s childhood nickname. Harry and Meghan suggested they had sought the queen’s blessing to use the name, but official sources at the palace then briefed the BBC that the queen was not asked for permission to use the name in advance. Harry and Meghan then threatened to sue media outlets which they said distorted the narrative of the child’s naming.
All that, however, appears to be in the past, as the royals set out to provide a united front in the days ahead, and the queen attending Lilibet’s birthday party would certainly give a clear lead in that direction.
The queen has apparently told her family that she expects them to come together without confrontation or drama over the jubilee.
The Daily Mail reported a source saying she wants it to be “an occasion in which the country, including her own family, comes together,” with an “insider” adding: “Her Majesty is typically very keen that the Platinum Jubilee be a celebration not of herself and her own longevity, but of the institution of the monarchy and the people that support and sustain it. It is also a chance for people to come together after a very difficult period for this country. She doesn’t want anything to overshadow it—and that includes any family issues.”
As part of this unity drive, Meghan and Harry have reportedly agreed to undertake only official and centrally-sanctioned events and appearances. It has also been reported that William and Harry are back on “buddy terms” after a series of weekly FaceTime calls.
Harry, Meghan, Archie and Lilibet are expected to fly into the U.K. in the next few days, and are believed to be heading to their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, on which, the Sun also reports, they have recently signed a rolling lease, dispelling rumors that they intend to abandon their U.K. base. The home was lavishly refurbished at the taxpayer’s expense as an official home for Harry and Meghan, who subsequently paid back the renovation costs when they departed public life.
It has been lent for over a year to Harry’s cousin Eugenie while the Sussexes have been living in America.
It is understood that Lilibet’s birthday party will be taking place at Frogmore Cottage, where the Sussexes will be based for the duration of their sojourn in the U.K., with Eugenie and family reported to have temporarily moved out.
Reports that the queen may be planning to attend the birthday party comes after growing speculation that she will miss the Derby on Saturday. The famous horse race remains one of the few major prizes the Queen has never won, and she has no runners in the race this year.
However The Daily Beast understands that this is not the main reason why the queen is not attending, rather it is because the Palace believes the long day of public scrutiny risks exhausting her.
Palace sources have told The Daily Beast that they are “cautiously optimistic” that the queen will make a balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, and will attend a special church service on Friday with her entire family.
Sources have told The Daily Beast that there is a hope that by resting on Saturday, the queen may be strong enough to observe in person the finale event of the Jubilee, a procession through central London named the Platinum Jubilee Pageant.
As the run-up to the Jubilee enters its final days, the queen is believed to have repaired to Craigavon Lodge, a small home on the Balmoral estate in Scotland.
She is believed to be staying there to gather her strength for the celebrations.