Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Join Royal Family to Receive Queen Elizabeth’s Coffin at Palace

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are continuing to honor the royal family’s matriarch Queen Elizabeth.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined King Charles IIIQueen CamillaPrince WilliamKate Middleton and other members of the royal family to receive the late monarch’s coffin as it arrived at Buckingham Palace in London on Tuesday evening. The casket, which will rest overnight in the Bow Room, was flown in from Scotland accompanied by Princess Anne. The Queen “peacefully” died at age 96 at Balmoral Castle on September 8.

The royal family was somber as the coffin reached the palace, poignantly on English soil for the first time. 

The Queen’s coffin will process through London on Wednesday to the Palace of Westminster, where it will lie in state at Westminster Hall as visitors pay their respects until the funeral, which will be held at Westminster Abbey on Monday.

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The coffin was carried on the state hearse, which was designed by the Royal Household and Jaguar Land Rover. The Queen was consulted on the plans. The vehicle also features the Queen’s personal royal cypher and was designed to allow members of the public to have a clear view of Her Majesty’s coffin as it travels through London and Windsor.

On Saturday, Prince Harry and Meghan joined Prince William and Kate for a surprise walkaboutoutside Windsor Castle as they greeted well-wishers who had come to pay their respect to the late monarch.

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Dressed in black, the couples toured the deluge of tributes and greeted well-wishers for about 40 minutes.

According to Kensington Palace, William invited Harry and Meghan to join him and Kate at the Windsor gates, while another source added that security didn’t expect both couples at the walkabout.

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Prince William thought the moment “was an important show of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family,” a royal source told PEOPLE.

A palace insider echoed: “It’s such an extraordinary historical moment and also a deeply personal one for the family that you’d hope and think that all members of the family would unite and support [the King] especially. And perhaps some of those wounds can be healed in the process.”

Relations have been strained between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the rest of the royal family in recent years, though grieving the Queen could bring them back together again.

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Releasing a heartfelt statement following his grandmother’s death, Harry mourned the monarch and voiced support for the accession of his father, King Charles.

“Granny, while this final parting brings us great sadness, I am forever grateful for all of our first meetings — from my earliest childhood memories with you, to meeting you for the first time as my Commander-in-Chief, to the first moment you met my darling wife and hugged your beloved great-grandchildren,” he wrote in part. “I cherish these times shared with you, and the many other special moments in between. You are already sorely missed, not just by us, but by the world over. And as it comes to first meetings, we now honour my father in his new role as King Charles III.”

Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Harry in 2019
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“Thank you for your commitment to service. Thank you for your sound advice. Thank you for your infectious smile,” Harry said. “We, too, smile knowing that you and grandpa are reunited now, and both together in peace.”

Harry and Meghan will attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday.

It remains unclear whether or not the Queen’s great-grandchildren — including William and Kate’s children, Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4, and Harry and Meghan’s kids, Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1 — will be in attendance.

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