Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reportedly declined to join the royals for a family gathering at London's Guildhall after the Thanksgiving service because they wanted to avoid Prince Wiliam and Kate Middleton.

It is said that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex returned to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor shortly after the service at St. Paul's Cathedral. There was supposed to be a VIP reception afterwards but they opted to go back home to their children Archie and Lilibet.

A palace aide told The Sun that on the way to the service, they were "happy to swing by Clarence House" to see Prince Charles and Camilla. But afterwards, they were "less keen to spend time hobnobbing with the family at the reception where they would rub shoulders with William and Kate."

The alleged rift between brothers Prince Harry and Prince William was said to be evident during the Thanksgiving service. Even though they were seated far apart from each other, there was reportedly no eye contact or acknowledgment between the Sussexes and Cambridges during the Thanksgiving service.

The Duke of Sussex was left having to make small talk with Jack and Lady Sarah Chatto, the daughter of the late Princess Margaret, who was seated beside the Duchess of Sussex.

Meanwhile, Meghan Markle was believed to have been forced to fix a smile on her face during the service. At one point, she also reassured her husband, "Yeah, we'll be fine" as TV footage showed him reaching inside his suit pocket.

On the other hand, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge fixed their eyes forward. They also did not walk closely with the Sussexes or appeared together at any point during the service. It is believed that palace aides made sure that the brothers would not be photographed together.

Last Friday's Thanksgiving Service at St. Paul's Cathedral was Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's first public appearance together in the U.K. since they quit their royal duties in 2020. It was also their first public appearance at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, although they were photographed watching the Trooping the Colour parade from one of the offices at Buckingham Palace.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Thanksgiving Service at St. Paul's Cathedral on June 3. Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage Karwai Tang/WireImage