Meghan Markle Was Not Invited to Join Royal Family Amid Queen Elizabeth's Death, Royal Expert Says (Exclusive)

Queen Elizabeth died on Thursday at the age of 96.

Meghan Markle did not appear alongside her husband, Prince Harry, as he made his way to Balmoral Castle, following the news of Queen Elizabeth’s death. According to royal expert Katie Nicholl, an invitation to join the family at the estate was not extended to Meghan.  

“It's understood that the family wanted Prince Harry to be there, even though he was unable to get to Balmoral in time to see his grandmother,” Nicholl tells ET. 

“But Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, was not, we understand, invited to join the family," Nicholl adds. "She has said she will go to Balmoral another time. But I think it is quite significant that Prince Harry traveled to Balmoral on his own without his wife.” 

Harry, 37, and Meghan, 41, were scheduled to attend the WellChild Awards in London. Following an earlier announcement that Queen Elizabeth’s health had taken a decline, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex canceled their appearance, and the duke embarked on a plane, solo, from London to Scotland.  

Harry’s plane landed shortly after the news of the queen’s death was made public. The duke was seen arriving at the estate in a black SUV, with his hand covering a portion of his face.  

Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images

The queen’s son, King Charles III, his wife, Camilla, the Queen Consort, and Princess Anne were all already in Scotland for prior engagements. Prince William, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Sussex, all arrived in Scotland earlier in the day

It has not been confirmed which -- if any -- family members were with the queen at the time of her death.  

Kate Middleton did not join her husband as she was seen in Windsor, picking up her children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, from school. William and Kate, who are now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Cornwall, were seen a day earlier attending a school event with their children.  

 According to Nicholl, as the immediate members of the family have gathered, the photos of them arriving at the castle confirm their moods. 

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“I think the pictures that we saw of family members arriving at Balmoral really said it all,” she tells ET. “This is a family in mourning now, and of course, the queen was a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother." 

Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday at the age of 96. Her death was confirmed by an official statement from the royal family’s social media accounts. Following the news, Charles, who is now the king, made the family’s first public statement.  

"The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” the new king said.  

"We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world," the statement continued. "During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held." 

For updates on Queen Elizabeth's death, visit ET's ongoing coverage here.