Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not return for Prince Andrew's 60th family birthday dinner because they 'already have commitments' - but plan to send a video message, royal expert claimsby Hayley Richardson For Mailonline
- Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently residing in Canada with son Archie
- Prince Harry and Meghan quit as senior members of the Royal Family last month
- Prince Andrew turns 60 on February 19 but Sussexes will not attend his party
- Queen is believed to be holding a 'small family dinner' to mark the milestone
- Sussexes have 'commitments on day' but plan to send a gift and video message
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not return to the UK to celebrate Prince Andrew's 60th birthday - but will send a gift and a video message to be played at his party, a source has claimed.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been residing in Canada since they quit as senior members of the Royal Family last month.
British media correspondent Neil Sean told Fox News it is an 'open secret' that the couple declined the invite to celebrate Harry's uncle's birthday.
'It's not very nice for the Queen as, whatever people say and think, [Andrew] is [still] her son and she wanted her close family around her,' he said.
'The reason given is that they already have commitments on the day but also plan to send a gift/card and a video message to be played at the party.'
In November it was reported the monarch has scrapped plans to host a party for Prince Andrew to mark his 60th birthday in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.
The Duke of York was sacked from his royal duties following a now-infamous Newsnight interview, after which he was accused of showing a lack of empathy with Epstein's victims.
The Queen, 93, is said to be 'privately supportive' of her second son but also 'deeply frustrated' that the scandal is overshadowing the rest of the family's work.
It is believed Prince Andrew will still walk his daughter Princess Beatrice down the aisle at her wedding at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace on May 29.
The pair share a close relationship, and her sister Eugenie will also play a role in the wedding.
It was reported last week that the Queen has offered to hold the wedding reception at Buckingham Palace to give her granddaughter a 'morale boost'.
Yesterday it emerged the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have axed all 15 of their staff and closed their Buckingham Palace office.
It is the surest sign yet that the couple and their son Archie, who turns one in May, are unlikely ever to return to the UK to live.
The couple broke the news to their team in person in January following the announcement that they were stepping down as senior working royals.
While one or two may be absorbed back into the royal household, most are now negotiating redundancy packages.
They are the latest casualties of Harry, 35, and 38-year-old Meghan's bombshell decision to move to North America and make their fortunes outside the Royal Family.
Last night Buckingham Palace said it did not comment on staffing matters.
It is understood senior royals, including the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William are aware of the office closure and redundancies.