The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were pictured arriving in Santa Barbara, California (Picture: Getty/REX)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have returned to the US after stepping back into the royal spotlight for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Photos show the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s plane touching down in California after their fleeting visit to London.

Along with children Archie, 3, and Lilibet – who celebrated her first birthday on Saturday – the pair are thought to have left the UK before Her Majesty surprised the crowd outside Buckingham Palace.

The monarch was joined by Prince Charles, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their children.

The family of four were nowhere to be seen as they were already on their way home, the Mirror reported.

It is thought their trip cost more than £150,000, but it is not clear who footed the bill.

According to The Sun, they were driven from their Frogmore Cottage residence to the airport and took off in the afternoon, in the midst of the £15 million Platinum Jubilee Pageant.

Harry was spotted in the front of a car at the US airport (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

The family-of-four are believed to have flown private (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

While Harry and Meghan only took part in one official Jubilee event as royals, they were welcomed back with mostly cheers by the public.

They made a brief appearance on Thursday – spotted at the Trooping the Colour event – and later joined other senior royals at the Thanksgiving service on Friday.

This was their first official return to the UK after they moved to the US two years ago to lead a more independent life, but their two young children were not seen over the weekend.

Since their departure from royal duties, the Sussexes have become divisive figures in British culture.

Speculations about a feud between Kate Middleton and Meghan were also only intensified during their visit as the two duchesses were never pictured together.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee 2022

Dust off your Union Jack bunting, Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee is well and truly upon us.

Taking place from Thursday, June 2, to Sunday, June 5, the celebrations mark Her Majesty’s record-breaking 70th year on the throne.

Across the UK, there will be street partiesconcerts, and other special events attended by the Queen and senior members of the Royal Family.

Queen shares new portrait and special message to nation for Platinum Jubilee
70 facts about the Queen to mark her 70 years on the throne
Where to go in London to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend
Latest Jubilee weekend weather forecast
Best Platinum Jubilee merchandise and where to buy
When is the actual Platinum Jubilee day?
Everything you need to know about the Platinum Jubilee Pageant
Queen Elizabeth II’s best ever style moments through the years

Visit Metro.co.uk’s Platinum Jubilee page for all the latest updates.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee 2022

Dust off your Union Jack bunting, Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee is well and truly upon us.

Taking place from Thursday, June 2, to Sunday, June 5, the celebrations mark Her Majesty’s record-breaking 70th year on the throne.

Across the UK, there will be street parties, concerts, and other special events attended by the Queen and senior members of the Royal Family.

Queen shares new portrait and special message to nation for Platinum Jubilee
70 facts about the Queen to mark her 70 years on the throne
Where to go in London to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend
Latest Jubilee weekend weather forecast
Best Platinum Jubilee merchandise and where to buy
When is the actual Platinum Jubilee day?
Everything you need to know about the Platinum Jubilee Pageant
Queen Elizabeth II’s best ever style moments through the years

Visit Metro.co.uk’s Platinum Jubilee page for all the latest updates.