Royal butler claims the Queen had a cake for Lilibet's birthday but the Sussexes 'never showed up'

They had organised a party for their youngest child at Frogmore Cottage

Prince Harry Meghan Markle Queen
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Princess Lilibet famously turned one year old during the late Queen's Platinum Jubilee last year, but unfortunately, the family milestone wasn't without its drama.

While Queen Elizabeth II finally got to meet her tiny namesake over the weekend of celebrations, apparently she didn't get to see the little girl on the day of her actual birthday, Saturday 4 June — or so claims a former royal butler, at least.

"Even on Lilibet's first birthday the Queen didn't see her. She saw her the day before," Paul Burrell told the Mirror

"But on her birthday, the Queen had a birthday cake made with one candle in it. And they never turned up. That candle was never lit."

Instead, that day the Sussexes held a birthday celebration for their youngest child at Frogmore Cottage, with the Tindall family in attendance alongside friends of the family. Prince William and Princess Kate were also invited as an "olive branch," but they skipped the event — most likely because they were busy with Jubilee engagements, though the Sussexes were reportedly hurt by their no-show.

Burrell continued: "The next day [the Queen] asked if maybe they'd like to come up for tea again and was told they've gone. 'What do you mean they've gone?’ she said. They’ve gone back to America. 'Oh no, they never said goodbye.'"

It's important to note at this stage that Paul has not worked for the Royal Family since 1997, as he was Princess Diana's butler until the time of her death. While he may well still have contacts in the royal household, he wouldn't have personally witnessed these interactions (or lack thereof) between the Queen and the Sussexes.

Obviously, if things did happen the way Paul described them, it sounds like there were a lot of hurtful moves going on during the historic royal event. 

Still, we're sure that Harry and Meghan did the best they could under extremely tense circumstances. 

Iris Goldsztajn
Iris Goldsztajn is a celebrity and royal news writer for Marie Claire. As a London-based freelance journalist, she writes about wellness, relationships, pop culture, beauty and more for the likes of InStyle, Women's Health, Bustle, Stylist and Red. Aside from her quasi-personal investment in celebs' comings and goings, Iris is especially interested in debunking diet culture and destigmatising mental health struggles. Previously, she was the associate editor for Her Campus, where she oversaw the style and beauty news sections, as well as producing gift guides, personal essays and celebrity interviews. There, she worked remotely from Los Angeles, after returning from a three-month stint as an editorial intern for in New York. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, she interned at goop and C California Style and served as Her Campus' national style and LGBTQ+ editor. Iris was born and raised in France by a French father and an English mother. Her Spotify Wrapped is riddled with country music and One Direction, and she can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.