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LONDON — With smiles and backward glances, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, took part in their final engagement Monday, honoring the British Commonwealth at Westminster Abbey, before they decamp for one of its frontier outposts, western Canada, and an uncertain new life as semi-royals.
As bagpipes played and cameras flashed, the couple walked in just before Prince William and his wife, Kate, and took their seats a row behind them. Megan greeted her sister-in-law, but the brothers scarcely spoke — their icy formality a metaphor for a once-close relationship that has all but unraveled.
When Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles entered under the abbey’s vaulted ceiling to “God Save the Queen,” the familiar pomp was tinged with sadness. They, too, said little to Harry and Meghan, who once symbolized the future of the royal family and whose decision to leave almost ruptured it.
Harry has busied himself with a series of appearances in recent days, including an Abbey Road recording session with rock star Jon Bon Jovi and a travel conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, at which he told participants, “Just call me Harry.” Meghan paid a surprise visit to a classroom in London on Friday to mark International Women’s Day.
最近几天，哈里一直忙于个人事务，例如在艾比路与摇滚明星乔恩·邦·乔维(Jon Bon Jovi)录音，以及在苏格兰爱丁堡出席一个旅游会议。在会议上，他对与会者说，“叫我哈里就行了。” 上周五，为了庆祝国际妇女节，梅根令人意外地造访了伦敦一所学校。
But as of March 31, the couple will no longer be full-time working members of the House of Windsor. They are expected to return soon to Canada, where they have left their son, Archie, in the care of a family friend.
The choice of venue for the couple’s final appearance was laden with symbols of the life Harry is leaving behind: It is where Queen Elizabeth was crowned in 1953; where Prince William married in 2011; and where 30 kings and queens are buried, going back to Edward the Confessor in 1066.
“It’s quite a significant moment,” said Valentine Low, royal correspondent for the Times of London. “It means that just because you’re in the royal family doesn’t mean you have to stay in the royal family.”
“这是一个非常重要的时刻，”伦敦《泰晤士报》的皇家记者瓦伦丁·洛(Valentine Low)说。 “这意味着出生于王室并不意味着必须留在王室。”
Buckingham Palace headed off one potential bit of awkwardness when officials backtracked on a plan to give William and Kate a place in the queen’s procession while sending Harry and Meghan straight to their seats. Both couples ended up skipping the procession.
The order of service, as the palace’s planning document is known, was distributed to the royal press corps before it was finalized, according to palace officials. While there is precedent for senior family members not to be in the procession, some royal watchers took it as a telling moment.
Prince Andrew, the queen’s second son, was absent altogether, his banishment the result of the furor over his friendship with the disgraced financier, Jeffrey Epstein.