MEGHAN Markle and Prince Harry’s photo is missing from the Queen’s Christmas speech table – where she will acknowledge her family’s “bumpy” 2019.
As well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Andrew is also missing from the photos on the Queen’s desk in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.
Last year she had two photos of the Sussexes – an official wedding portrait of the royal couple and a family picture of them celebrating Charles’s 70th birthday.
In the year of Archie’s birth, she might have been expected to include one of him with Harry and Meghan.
Dickie Arbiter, the former Buckingham Palace press secretary, said: “Their son Archie was born this year. You would have thought there might be a picture. It is a very clear omission. I am surprised but whether there is a clear message being sent out I don’t know.”
The rest of the senior royals, including William, Kate and children, are included.
One picture shows the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – perched on and around a motorbike and side car – an image used for the couple’s Christmas card.
There is also a black and white image of the Queen’s father King George VI sending a message of hope and reassurance to the British people in wartime 1944.
Other royal commentators believe this year’s photos have been chosen to represent the direct line of succession.
Palace sources dismissed speculation the absence of a photograph of Harry and Meghan was a snub.
The full text of the message has not been released and it remains possible that Harry and Meghan may feature.
In her Christmas Day TV message the Queen will refer to her family’s “bumpy” 2019 and the nation’s Brexit divisions.
The year has been labelled her second “annus horribilis” – the Latin phrase she used to describe 1992 after the marriages of three of her children collapsed.
In the car crash Newsnight interview, Andrew failed to express any sympathy for the victims of Epstein, who was found hanged in jail in August while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.
Following a public backlash, Andrew was sacked by the Queen and stripped of his royal duties and £249,000 sovereign grant.
The duke faced criticism for taking too long to contact the occupants of the other car and for being seen driving without his seat-belt in the days that followed.
Brexit has divided the country and Parliament, leading to huge uncertainty.
But speaking about the life of Jesus and the importance of reconciliation in tomorrow’s broadcast to the nation and the Commonwealth, the Queen will say “how small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding.
“The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.”
Her Majesty’s comment is thought to be her first public reference to the personal events her family has experienced this year.
The Queen will highlight the 75th anniversary of World War Two’s D-Day landings, and how former “sworn enemies” joined together in friendly commemorations to mark the milestone in 2019.
Meanwhile, Prince Philip, 98, who has spent four nights in hospital treatment relating to a “pre-existing condition”, left at 8.49am today after he was discharged by his doctor.
The Queen is wearing a royal blue cashmere dress by Angela Kelly, first worn during the 2013 Trooping the Colour ceremony, and the sapphire and diamond Prince Albert brooch, a present from Albert to Queen Victoria on the eve of their wedding in 1840.