Every year on the second Sunday in November, senior members of the royal family gather to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in war — and the royal family continued the tradition for Remembrance Day 2019. But why didn’t Meghan Markle join the other immediate female members of the royal family on their balcony? And where was Prince Philip? The royal family’s presence sparked a few questions that, although they may seem salacious, have simple explanations.
The commemorations for Remembrance Day started earlier in the week, with the royal family being joined by cabinet ministers, religious leaders, representatives of Commonwealth nations and members of the armed forces to honor the armed force’s community at Saturday’s Remembrance Festival. The earlier events culminated in the annual Remembrance Day service held at the Cenotaph in London on Sunday. After a service in which wreaths were laid at the war memorial, the Royal Air Force sounded the bugle call, Rouse, followed by 10,000 veterans marching slowly past the memorial in a somber procession.
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Photos from the services, once shared, led to some speculation and general curiosity about the ritual side of the ceremony as well as the relationships in the royal family. So, let’s examine.
Why weren’t Prince Harry and Meghan Markle seated with the Queen?
At the Festival of Remembrance on Saturday, Kate Middleton and Prince William were seated near the Queen, while Harry and Meghan were seated several rows back. Since the couples used to sit together, the distance made fans wonder if this was indicative of rumored tension between the two households.
However, the distance is more likely a reflection of the royal family’s order of precedence. Queen Elizabeth is clearly always front and center, with Prince Charles — the next in line to the throne — beside her. Since William is second in line to the throne, he and Kate sit in close proximity to the queen, too. Harry is sixth in line to the throne, which explains why he is seated further away. Now that the two households have separated, they’ll likely be treated according to their individual orders.
Why didn’t Meghan join Kate Middleton, Camilla and the Queen on the balcony?
At one point during Sunday’s ceremony, Queen Elizabeth, Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, stood together on a balcony outside the Cenotaph war memorial. Meghan watched from another balcony, standing between Sophia, Countess of Wessex, and Sir Timothy Laurence, Princess Anne’s husband. According to People, this is also nothing more than a reflection of the royal pecking order.
Why did the Queen wear five flowers?
One of the most distinctive hallmarks of Remembrance Day is the way everyone wears red poppy pins to honor the fallen. Most people wear one, but the Queen has been known to wear several — this year, she wore five. Per the U.K.’s Metro, the Queen hasn’t specifically addressed her decision to wear numerous poppies. However, it’s thought by some that each poppy could represent each service in the World Wars: the Army, the RAF, the Navy, the Civil Defence and women.
Others speculate it could be a way for the Queen to set herself apart as the most senior dignitary on Remembrance Sunday.
Why wasn’t Prince Philip in attendance?
While it was special to see Queen Elizabeth flanked by two future queens (Camilla and Kate) on the balcony, it also made it that much more apparent that Prince Philip wasn’t in attendance. No need to worry, though! He wasn’t expected to accompany the queen. He wasn’t at last year’s service, and he wasn’t announced as an attendee this year. Since he retired from royal duties in 2017, whether or not he attends an event is at his discretion.
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