Meghan and Harry joined stars at the NBA basketball last night – but despite her husband’s enthusiasm, the giggling former Suits star declined a kiss when they appeared on the big screen in front of 20,000 fans including Kim Kardashian, Adam Sandler and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs.
In their first public appearance together for a month, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took their Archewell staff to watch the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Memphis Grizzlies in game four of the NBA playoffs.
The royal couple, who will not be going to the Coronation together next month, were all smiles in a box at the Crypto.com Arena, where they appeared on the jumbotron at the stadium in downtown LA.
Thousands began clapping and cheering, encouraging them to kiss. Harry then appeared to lean in for a smooch but his wife, wearing a $1,400 pink linen suit and heels, laughed and grabbed his arm instead of bowing to the crowd. Harry then pulled a comical grimace.
But despite the light-hearted snub, Meghan and Harry did enjoy a snuggle as the Lakers won the game 117 to 111, taking a 3-1 lead in the first-round playoffs against the Grizzlies. Sat next to them was Rick Genow, an LA power lawyer and adviser to the couple since Megxit. Footage of them enjoying the match was also featured on the NBA’s official Twitter feed with the hashtag #NBACelebRow.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic at around the same time this morning, Harry’s brother Prince William joined veterans at dawn to lay a wreath for Anzac Day at the Australia Memorial at Hyde Park Corner in London.
Meghan is seen laughing as Harry leans in towards her for a kiss, which his wife politely declined, watched by 20,000 Lakers fans in LA last night
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were spotted laughing and smiling in their first public appearance since it emerged that Prince Harry would be attending the King’s Coronation without his wife
Harry then pulled a comical grimace to the crowd when his PDA was refused
Arpound 20,000 LA Lakers fans encouraged them to kiss on the big screen but despite lots of laughs, they didn’t
Meghan and Harry were seen clapping and cheering as Harry stares intently during the third quarter of the NBA playoffs round
Meghan rubs her husband’s face and laughs as they enjoy a date night, with their staff
Harry and Meghan were clearly enjoying themselves at the Lakers game
Meghan was was wearing a £360 ($450) pink linen Sarah Staudinger suit jacket, matching tailored shorts for £235 ($300) and what appeared to be £525 ($650) Purist Pump heels
Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Saint West attend the big NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies
Adam Sandler also attended the big match
The Prince of Wales lays a wreath at the dawn service in commemoration of Anzac Day at the Australia Memorial at Hyde Park Corner in London at dawn
Meghan and Harry were animated throughout the tight contest on the court where several members of Archewell staff were also watching, including Maren Thomas, who works in their communications department.
Business manager Andrew Meyer and Miranda Barbot, former president Barack Obama’s PR wonderwoman who now works for Archewell in comms, were also in the posh seats with their bosses.
It came hours after a beaming Meghan broke cover for the first time since it emerged she will not attend King Charles’ Coronation – as her PR team insisted she has ‘moved on’ and is ‘going about her life in the present’.
Introducing her photographer friend Misan Harriman in a video ahead of his Ted Talk, the Duchess of Sussex said she was ‘thrilled’ to welcome the Nigerian-born Briton on stage where the audience heard him speak about experience capturing the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.
Meghan and Harry are very close to Mr Harriman and his wife Camilla Holmstroem, and the royal couple asked him to photograph them for their second pregnancy announcement, in a black-and-white picture in which they lie barefoot together under the trees in their California garden.
Mr Harriman, who worked in finance before becoming a photographer in 2016, was also asked to take pictures at Lilibet’s first birthday party at Frogmore Cottage during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last June.
In the video introduction, Meghan said: ‘Our next speaker has an unmatched eye for a good photograph. I have experienced his talent first hand as he has captured many meaningful milestones for me and my family.’
Referencing his activism and his work capturing the Black Lives Matter protests, she said: ‘His lens has captured everything from events that have changed the world, moments that we all desperately needed to see along with some of the planet’s most recognisable faces.
‘But this was not always his path, and you might be surprised to hear not who, but what, he credits for his success.’
Harry, Meghan and the rest of the box stand up and cheer as the Lakers win the crucial playoff game
Meghan touches Harry’s knee as she moves away from her seat
Meghan chats to someone as she walks to her seats through a small bar area
The royal couple, who will be apart at the start of May when Harry heads to his father’s Coronation
Rick Genow (left), an LA power lawyer and adviser to the couple, was sat to Meghan’s right
Meghan spent some time chatting with Mr Genow
The spotlight fell on the couple during the win for the Lakers
Harry winces, as does a woman to his left, but Meghan was all smiles
Kim Kardashian watches the match in downtown LA last night
Corey Gamble, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Saint West
Her appearance came after the duchess hit back at claims she is dodging the Coronation because she believes the Royal Family failed to tackle its ‘unconscious bias’ before the Sussexes left for the US.
The Duchess of Sussex’s spokesman said she is not thinking about ‘conversations from four years ago’, having reportedly written to King Charles following the explosive interview she and Harry gave to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, when they claimed a senior royal had ‘concerns’ about how ‘dark’ their unborn son Archie’s skin would be.
Meghan had reportedly written to Charles in response to a letter he had sent to her. She wrote of unconscious bias but said the comment about Archie’s skin was not made with malice. But a source told The Daily Telegraph that the duchess would not attend the Coronation on May 6 because she received an unsatisfactory response from the King.
But in a statement to US magazine Harper’s Bazaar, press secretary Ashley Hansen insisted: ‘The Duchess of Sussex is going about her life in the present, not thinking about correspondence from two years ago related to conversations from four years ago.
‘Any suggestion otherwise is false and frankly ridiculous. We encourage tabloid media and various royal correspondents to stop the exhausting circus that they alone are creating.’
Omid Scobie, the Sussexes’ preferred royal reporter, was the first to post the statement from Meghan’s press team yesterday.
Meghan Markle has broken cover for the first time since it emerged she will not attend King Charles’ Coronation, introducing her friend Misan Harriman via videolink before his Ted Talk
Misan later posted: ‘The Duchess of Sussex was kind enough to introduce me on to the stage for my @ted. Thank you for the support, Meg’
The Duchess of Sussex has denied reports that she is not attending the King’s Coronation because of letters exchanged with Charles over unconscious bias in the Royal Family
It is understood that the letter was sent in reply to one from the King – the only senior member of the Royal Family to make contact with the Duchess after Meghan and Harry were interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 (pictured)
Misan Harriman, a close friend of the Sussexes, took a photo of Lilibet on her first birthday at Frogmore Cottage during the Platinum Jubilee
Harry and Meghan announced they were expecting their second child in February 2021, posting this photo taken by Misan Harriman
Misan Harriman, Lilibet’s photographer, with one of his children wearing face paint in a garden
In this picture from last year, Lilibet is seen in her mother Meghan’s arms beside photographer Misan Harriman’s family including his wife Camilla Holmstroem
Harry will attend the celebration on May 6 alone, while Meghan looks after Prince Archie on his fourth birthday and Princess Lilibet in California.
The Duke of Sussex’s relationship with his family has been poor since the Sussexes left for the US and stood down as working royals.
It worsened following the Oprah interview, when the late Queen declared that ‘recollections may vary’ after the couple made claims about racism in the Royal Family and Meghan’s allegation that the Firm failed to care for her when she was pregnant with Archie and felt suicidal.
Relations have continued to sour after the Sussexes’ six-part Netflix docuseries and the publication of the Harry’s revealing memoir, Spare.
Charles, who at the time of their press campaign was Prince of Wales, is said to be disappointed that Meghan and Harry felt the need to make such damaging allegations public.
It comes as Prince Harry recently gave backing to a research project into the monarch’s historical links to the transatlantic slave trade, having previously expressed ‘personal sorrow’ over the history. He has touched on unconscious bias in the past and in January this year, spoke to Tom Bradby on ITV about it.
The presenter, also a friend of the duke, said ‘in the Oprah interview you accused members of your family of racism’ – Harry responded by saying ‘no I didn’t’, adding ‘the British Press said that’.
After Bradby said the duchess claimed troubling comments were made about Archie’s skin colour, Harry said: ‘There was – there was concern about his skin colour.’
Asked if he would describe that as racist, the duke said: ‘I wouldn’t, not having lived within that family.’ He continued: ‘The difference between racism and unconscious bias, the two things are different.’
The Duchess of Sussex’s letter reportedly named the individual accused of speculating about her unborn son Archie’s skin colour – but went on to claim the person was not racist (pictured with Prince Archie in Cape Town in September 2019 while touring South Africa)
Meghan wrote to King Charles about unconscious bias in the Royal Family after her bombshell Oprah interview, it was claimed (the Duchess of Sussex is pictured with King Charles, Harry and William in March 2019 at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey)
Meghan said the comment over Archie’s skin was not made with malice. But a source told The Daily Telegraph that the duchess will not attend the Coronation on May 6 because she received an unsatisfactory response from the King (pictured with the King and Queen Consort in Mary 2018)
‘But once it’s been acknowledged, or pointed out to you as an individual, or as an institution, that you have unconscious bias, you therefore have an opportunity to learn and grow from that so that you are part of the solution rather than part of the problem.’
It has also been reported that Prince Harry was ‘desperate’ to be at the Coronation to publicly support his father because he is ‘homesick’.
The Sun said on Friday that despite the duke having made repeated attempts to contact the King to discuss the plans during his time back in London, his father has only been able to pencil in time for one conversation.
It is understood that Harry was ‘missing aspects of British life’ and ‘may start spending more time’ in the UK.
A source told the publication: ‘Harry was desperate to come back for the Coronation and spend quality time with his family.’
The Duchess will remain at the couple’s residence in Montecito with one-year-old Lilibet and Archie, whose fourth birthday is on the same day as the ceremony.
Mr Scobie confirmed Archie’s birthday ‘played a factor in the couple’s decision’ and he expected it would be a ‘fairly quick trip to the UK’ for Harry. The Duke will only attend the ceremony itself, which is likely to last a few hours.
A royal observer told MailOnline: ‘Charles will be pleased. The rest of the family will be relieved that Meghan won’t be there – it would have been particularly uncomfortable for Kate.’