Perhaps it was too much to expect of a couple that prized money and personal freedom above royal traditions of service and duty to suddenly rediscover those noble virtues.
Or perhaps the differences that saw Harry and Meghan choose well-rewarded exile over the humdrum obligations of being working royals were simply unbridgeable.
But if there were to be an opportunity to give the greatest gift of all – photographic proof of family unity – it was won and lost in the hour or so when the Duke and came face to face with their royal relatives in a viewing point overlooking the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horse Guards Parade.
Rationing their public appearances to just the odd glimpse, they were certainly careful to avoid accusations of hogging the limelight or of upstaging anyone.Indeed it seemed they were quite content to retreat to the shadows.
When they did edge into sight through the open windows of a VIP viewing area they were seen only with the most junior or most obscure of Royal Family members.
There was a blink-and-you-miss-it encounter with the Queen’s elderly cousin, the Duke of Kent, and two delightful moments when Harry and Meghan – both offering a playful shush – knelt down to share a joke with Princess Anne’s grandchildren Mia and Lena Tindall and Savannah and Isla Phillips.
Charming as these episodes undoubtedly were, imagine the value of a snapshot of them with the Duchess of Cambridge.Was the absence of it deliberate?
Meghan Markle appeared to shush the royal children as she appeared inside the Major General’s Office overlooking the Whitehall parade ground, with Savannah and Isla Phillips and Lena and Mia Tindall
Meghan Markle is seen with Savannah Phillips and Mia Tindall at Horse Guards Parade in London this afternoon
Meghan Markle with Savannah Phillips and Mia Tindall inside the Major General’s Office overlooking the Whitehall parade ground on day one of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations on Thursday
Prince Harry speaks to the Duke of Kent with Meghan Markle as they attend Trooping the Colour in London on Thursday afternoon
Prince Harry also appeared to shush the same group of young royals as they appeared at the window to watch Trooping the Colour
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news halfRHS" data-version="2" id="mol-83754700-e2b2-11ec-b862-171ca916de73" website and Meghan were careful to avoid claims of hogging limelight'