The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend celebrations began on Thursday with the annual Trooping the Colour military parade. The next four days (which are officially bank holidays in the United Kingdom) will salute the Queen's 70-year reign: the longest of any ruler in British history.
Trooping the Colour is one of the biggest events for the royal family every year, because it's one of the few occasions where all of the members of the Mountbatten-Windsor family — even the children — appear in public.
For this year's Trooping the Colour, however, there has been a lot of controversy over who will appear on the balcony next to the Queen for this very important moment — newspapers and royal commentators made speculations for months.
Well, first of all, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, in February settled a sex abuse lawsuit filed against him by a woman who claimed she was forced to have sex with him while she was under the control of his longtime friend, financier Jeffrey Epstein. (The amount of the settlement has not been disclosed publicly, but it's estimated to be in the multimillions.) He was forced to step back from public duties after the accusations were raised in 2019, and shortly before the settlement, the Queen stripped Andrew of his honorary military titles and royal patronages. Given that and his status as a nonworking member of the royal family, it was controversial when he escorted the Queen to a memorial service for Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in March raising questions about whether he would appear on the balcony alongside the Queen and future kings on Thursday.
Then there's the fact that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (aka the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) stepped back from life as working members of the royal family in 2020 and last year gave a controversial interview about their royal lives to Oprah Winfrey. They are officially no longer taxpayer-funded royals; Harry is also currently suing the UK government to obtain police protection for his family whenever he's in the country. It wasn't even confirmed that the Sussexes and their children would be attending the Jubilee Central Weekend celebrations until last month. Would they be included after everything they'd said about the royal family?
Ultimately, no. The Palace announced on May 6 that balcony appearances would be "limited to Her Majesty and those Members of the Royal Family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of The Queen."
A spokesperson for the Sussexes told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday that Harry and Meghan would be watching the event from the Major General's Office overlooking Horse Guards Parade, with other members of the royal family.
So who are those members of the royal family who made the balcony list?
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Prince Charles is first in line to the throne and will become king upon the death of his mother; Camilla is his longtime love and wife of 17 years.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is Prince Charles' eldest son and will become king after the death of his father. His wife is Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (maiden name Kate Middleton). They have three children: Prince George of Cambridge, 8, who is also a future king; Princess Charlotte, 7; and Prince Louis, 4.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, is the Queen's third son and youngest child (he's 14th in line to the crown). His wife is Sophie, Countess of Wessex. They have two children, James, Viscount Severn, 14, and Lady Louise Windsor, 18.
Anne, Princess Royal, and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence
Princess Anne is the Queen's only daughter. Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence is her (second) husband of 30 years.
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is the Queen's first cousin, the son of her uncle Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester. His wife is Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester.
The Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and Princess Alexandra, the Honourable Lady Ogilvy, are first cousins of the Queen (they're brother and sister). They are the children of the Queen's uncle, Prince George of Kent.
And there you go!