A move to California, a global pandemic and family tensions have kept Harry and Meghan apart from the royal family for two and a half years, and the distance was evident today as the royal households shared their birthday greetings for the couple’s son Archie.
The youngster will celebrate his third birthday today at home in Montecito with his parents and younger sister Lilibet.
To mark the occasion, the Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla, and Kate and William all shared their greetings on social media at the exact same time.
But in the absence of any family gatherings both Prince Charles and the Cambridges were forced to use two identical pictures to last year, while the Queen chose a famous snap of her meeting her great grandson in 2019.
The toddler, who is seventh-in-line to the throne, was last in the UK in the autumn of 2019, before the Sussexes left to spend Christmas in Canada, with pandemic travel restrictions hampering planned visits in the meantime.
The Royal Family Instagram account shared a story wishing Archie a happy birthday, sharing this snap which was first released shortly after Archie’s birth in May 2019
Meanwhile, Prince Charles’ more informal message reads: ‘Happy birthday Archie’, accompanied by a heart emoji, featuring a snap taken at Archie’s Christening in 2019, which he shared last year to mark the toddler’s birthday
This Instagram story, shared by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, featured a family portrait taken at Archie’s Christening in July 2019, and was shared by the couple last year, as they sent greetings to their nephew
The Royal Family Instagram account, which is managed by the Queen’s staff, shared the message: ‘Wishing Archie Mountbatten-Windsor a very happy 3rd birthday.’
Prince Charles’ more informal message reads: ‘Happy birthday Archie’, accompanied by a heart emoji.
The accompanying black and white photograph shows Harry gazing down at Archie in his Christening robes while proud grandfather Prince Charles looks on, smiling.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge opted for a larger family photograph taken at Archie’s Christening, featuring Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland as well as Princess Diana’s sisters Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale.
The Queen’s birthday greetings to Archie from 2021 was the only message from the senior royals to use a different image than the one shared this year
Clarence House, the account representing Prince Charles and Camilla, shared this Christening snap both in 2021 and 2022
Meanwhile the Cambridges also recycled this 2021 snap from Archie’s Christening (pictured, LR) Prince Charles, Doria Ragland, Princess Diana’s sisters Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and Prince William. Seated: the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with Archie and the Duchess of Cambridge
Last year, on Archie’s second birthday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a photo of Archie, with his back to the camera, in the garden.
They shared the image on their slick Archewell website, along with a call request for people to donate money to support Covid-19 vaccination rollouts in developing countries.
Additionally, it was reported that the young royal would enjoy a video call with his UK-based family members, including the Queen.
For Archie’s first birthday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a video of him reading a book with his mother in support of Save The Children. However, it remains to be seen if fans will be given a fresh glimpse of the toddler today.
Last year, Harry and Meghan marked Archie’s birthday by sharing this image of him on their Archewell website, and calling on their fans to donate to vaccine funds for developing nations
It is also not yet known whether the toddler will have a chance to meet his extended family at the Queen’s upcoming Platinum Jubilee celebrations, as the Sussexes have yet to confirm whether they will attend.
The celebrations will begin on Thursday June 2nd, running to Sunday June 5th, and royals are expected on the Buckingham Palace balcony at either end of the celebration.
But earlier this week, Omid Scobie, a friend of the Sussexes, said the Prince will play the rest of the 12 goal polo season at Santa Barbara, California, with his Los Padres teammates.
Speculation that Prince Harry and his family will miss the Jubilee has been rife, since Omid Scobie, a friend of the Sussexes, revealed earlier this week that Prince Harry will be playing the entire polo season in California
His announcement followed the prince being snapped playing a friendly game of polo with his old friend Nacho Figuera at Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club for the annual Harry East Memorial Tournament last week.
The Finding Freedom author says Harry will participate in the Folded Hills Pope Challenge between May 9th-15th, Lisle Nixon Cup from May 20th-29th as well as the Cheval Athletics USPA Intra-Circuit which runs June 3rd-19th.
While Harry could still attend main events if his schedule permits, royal experts have noted that the Sussexes have yet to confirm whether they will take part or not.