Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 'farewell' was marred by backstage tension after they were 'snubbed' by the Queen, it's claimed.
The Sussexes were allegedly not invited to be part of the main VIP party at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, alongside the monarch and William, Kate, Charles and Camilla.
Meghan and Harry, set to begin their lives away from the Royal Family in North America later this month, were said to be upset at having to follow the protocol.
They were told to find seats elsewhere at the abbey, but William and Kate stepped in and offered to join them as they waited for the other main royals to arrive, the Daily Mail claims.
- 1 UK paper being sued by Meghan disputes her concern about privacy
- 2 Barbados says it will remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state
- 3 Prince Harry refunds house repair bill from Netflix deal
- 4 The Duke of Trans-Nzoia-shire? Youth receives Royal family Award
The Cambridges' involvement came after 2,000 orders of service had already gone out clearly placing them in the main party and failed to ease any tensions, according to the newspaper.
Kate appeared to give Harry and Meghan the cold shoulder on arrival, while the two princes hardly said a word to each other.
The Sussexes did chat happily with Prince Edward, however, who was seated on the same row and Meghan curtseyed for the Queen and the Prince of Wales.
But they departed clasping hands tightly and sped off to start their new lives with more independence from the Firm.
Buckingham Palace played down any question of tensions, saying there was "no set format" for the service and seating depends on how many royals attend.
But didn't address why William and Kate were initially billed to accompany the Queen at the front before opting to sit with Harry and Meghan prior to Her Majesty's arrival.
An aide told the Mail it's "not unusual" for some royals to be off abroad during Commonwealth week, with only Charles, Camilla and The Queen "in the procession" for the event.
"There is no further comment," they added.
The decision on whether or not to omit the Sussexes was given to Edward Young, the Queen's private secretary, it is understood.
But with it being their final public engagement before they officially abdicate their roles on March 31, they were said to have been "quite emotional", according to one source.
Despite stepping down and being stripped of certain titles and privileges, Harry and Meghan will continue as president and vice-president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, while the duchess retains her Association of Commonwealth Universities patronage.
One insider told the Mail they are both "quite preoccupied" with what status they will have once they step down, something referred to on their website recently.
This time last year The Queen had personally asked the Sussexes to be her flag bearers at the event as they took pride of place at the service - Meghan pregnant with baby Archie at the time.
Meanwhile, the pair’s Buckingham Palace office will close on April 1 and all 15 staff members will lose their jobs.