The Queen of England gave her annual address at Buckingham Palace this year and noticeably absent was Elizabeth’s new daughter-in-law Meghan Markle, grandson Prince Harry, and great-grandson Archie. According to Page Six, the queen recounted 2019 as a “bumpy” year, but the photos on her desk — which showed the royal family minus the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, their new child, and her disgraced son Prince Andrew — spoke louder than her words.
Elizabeth is facing a conflicted nation. Brexit is looming, new Prime Minister Boris Johnson is leading the government, and Scotland is threatening to leave the U.K. She spoke of the commemoration of D-Day as an example of hope in the current trying times.
“For the 75th anniversary of that decisive battle, in a true spirit of reconciliation, those who had formerly been sworn enemies came together in friendly commemorations either side of the Channel, putting past differences behind them,” the queen said. “By being willing to put past differences behind us and move forward together, we honor the freedom and democracy once won for us at so great a cost.”
While stressing reconciliation for the nation, however, her personal life seems to be just as conflicted. The reported rift between the Sussexes and the rest of the family have often made headlines. Markle is known for bucking tradition and the media reports that she and Harry are battling with the more traditional Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Still, it came as a bit of a shock to see some of her family’s photos conspicuously missing — while others were prominently on display — when the queen sat down at her desk to record her Christmas message, surrounded by beautiful decorations.
“The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a difference,” the queen said in her speech.
Perhaps it isn’t surprising that Andrew was absent from the family photos, given that he is facing an intense scandal for his close ties to reported pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. But the missing Duke and Duchess of Sussex appears to be an intentional slight. Last year, the couple featured prominently in the family display with their wedding photo and a family picture in place.
This year, royal fans noticed the absence right away. Dickie Arbiter, a former press secretary for Buckingham Palace, noted that the missing photo was likely intentional.
“It is a very clear omission,” he said. “Their son Archie was born this year. You would have thought there might be a picture.”
The couple has been on the outs with some of the members of the royal family, choosing to spend their holiday in Canada rather than in England with the rest of the royal clan.