Prince Philip's funeral in April had only family members and close friends in attendance due to coronavirus restrictions, but his granddaughter-in-law Meghan Markle was not on the guest list. The Duchess of Sussex could not accompany her husband Prince Harry to the service as she was heavily pregnant at the time and was advised by doctors not to travel to the UK from California.

According to a new chapter in "Finding Freedom," a biography on Harry and Meghan detailing their exit from the royal family, the family members were "quietly pleased" that Meghan was not able to attend the ceremony. Sources close to the Sussexes claimed that the family feared that Meghan's appearance would mean unnecessary headlines and they "didn't want a circus." One senior royal source also said something along the same lines, noting the family did not want Meghan "creating a spectacle," reports The Independent.

The funeral came just weeks after Harry and Meghan's explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which they made a number of serious claims about the royal family and Buckingham Palace. This was the first time they were coming face-to-face with the royal family since the interview, as well as their exit as senior royals around a year ago.

A source close to the "Suits" alum said at the time that she had a "special bond" with Prince Philip and "adored him," but decided to skip the funeral as she too didn't want herself to be "the centre of attention" at the service. "Meghan said her main concern right now is supporting Harry. She said she left it up to him as to whether or not she would attend the funeral," the insider had claimed. Harry went to the funeral alone where he allegedly received a "frosty" reception from his family members.

The updated edition of "Finding Freedom" is due to come out on August 31 – the 24th anniversary of Princess Diana's death. Omid Scobie, who has written the book with Carolyn Durand, previously revealed that some friends of Harry and Meghan with whom he spoke to for the book said that the couple were disappointed with Queen Elizabeth II's response to their racism allegations.

While the Sussexes denied any relations with the claim, royal experts argued that Scobie's personal friendship with them guarantees that nothing in the book has been published against their wishes.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle during her last visit to the UK in March 2020 Photo: AFP / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS