Queen Elizabeth keeps rare photo of Meghan Markle, Prince Harry in Buckingham Palace

Queen Elizabeth II is keeping her family close.

On Wednesday, the British reigning monarch was photographed alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Buckingham Palace, making it her first in-person audience since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

But eagle-eyed viewers on social media spotted that the 95-year-old had a collection of family photos displayed – including a shot of her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle framed next to a bouquet of flowers.

The never-released snap of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is from their 2017 engagement shoot, Us Weekly reported.

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According to the outlet, fans also noticed a portrait of Harry’s older brother Prince William from his 2010 engagement to Kate Middleton. Nearby was a photo of the queen with her late husband Prince Philip from her 90th birthday.

On June 4, Harry and Markle welcomed their second child, a girl named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. The name pays tribute to Elizabeth, whose family nickname is Lilibet, and the duke’s late mother, Princess Diana.

“Thank you for your continued kindness and support during this very special time for our family,” the couple wrote in a statement that accompanied the birth announcement.

The baby is “more than we could have ever imagined, and we remain grateful for the love and prayers we’ve felt from across the globe,” they continued.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement in 2017.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement in 2017. (Reuters/Eddie Mulholland)

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said the queen and other members of the family had been informed and are “delighted with the news of the birth of a daughter for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”

Royal historian Robert Lacey previously told People magazine the baby name signifies “the remarkable bond” that endures between Harry, 36, and his grandmother even amid the ongoing tensions the prince has recently addressed.

After Diana’s death in 1997 at age 36, Elizabeth “was a sort of stepmother for both Harry and William,” Lacey explained.

“We have all focused on her coaching of William as the future king, but we are realizing now the importance of the emotional bonds that she’s been able to establish with Harry and their ability to talk to each other directly,” he explained. “That affection remains.”

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry attend the annual Chelsea Flower Show at Royal Hospital Chelsea on May 18, 2015, in London, England. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry attend the annual Chelsea Flower Show at Royal Hospital Chelsea on May 18, 2015, in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Simmonds – WPA Pool / Getty Images)

Markle, a former American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married Harry in May 2018 at Windsor Castle. The couple welcomed a son named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in 2019.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departures from royal duties began in 2020 over what they described as the British media’s intrusions and racist attitudes towards the former “Suits” star, 39. The family now resides in the coastal city of Montecito, Calif.

In the wake of quitting royal duties, they gave an explosive TV interview to Oprah Winfrey in March, in which the couple described painful comments about how dark Archie’s skin might be before his birth. Harry later clarified that those comments were not made by his grandparents Elizabeth and Philip. The duchess talked about the intense isolation she felt inside the royal family that led her to contemplate suicide.

Buckingham Palace said the allegations of racism made by the couple were “concerning” and would be addressed privately.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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