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TL; DR: 

  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle traveled to England for Platinum Jubilee weekend. 
  • They left before festivities ended, which a royal expert thinks may have been due to seating arrangements at the Platinum Jubilee pageant. 
  • Another royal commentator thinks Prince Harry’s probably happy as a “second-tier royal.” 
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, who left Platinum Jubilee weekend early before the Platinum Jubilee pageant, look on outside St. Paul's Cathedral
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry | Samir Hussein/WireImage

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle didn’t stick around for the entire Platinum Jubilee weekend. They made one official appearance at a church service on June 3, 2022. 48 hours later, they were headed back to California. 

Meanwhile, outside Buckingham Palace, the Platinum Jubilee pageant was getting underway. It marked an end to the four-day festivities. So why did the Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave early? A royal expert thinks it might’ve had something to do with the seating arrangement for the pageant.  

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attended 2 Platinum Jubilee weekend events

After much speculation surrounding the events they’d attend, Harry and Meghan were largely out of the spotlight during Platinum Jubilee weekend. They didn’t have an active role in Trooping the Colour, the monarch’s annual birthday parade.

Meghan and Harry didn’t stand on the Buckingham Palace balcony with Queen Elizabeth II after she invited only working royals. As a result, there were merely glimpses of them from the Major General’s Office. 

On June 3, 2022, the pair made their one and only official Platinum Jubilee appearance. Harry and Meghan attended a National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral. 

They smiled — and engaged in some of their signature hand-holding PDA  — as they took their seats in the second row. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex sat with Princesses Beatrice, Eugenie, and their husbands. In a move that didn’t go unnoticed, they sat on the opposite side of the church from Prince William and Kate Middleton. 

Following the 50-minute service, Harry and Meghan weren’t seen at any other festivities. They celebrated the first birthday of their daughter, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, on June 4, 2022. And by June 5, Meghan, Harry, Lili, and Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, 3, were on their way back to the US. 

A royal expert thinks Meghan Markle and Prince Harry didn’t stay for the Platinum Jubilee pageant because they knew they wouldn’t be front row

Katie Nicholl, an expert and Vanity Fair’s royal editor, believes the seating arrangements were the reason Meghan and Harry didn’t stay for the pageant. Per the UK’s Mirror, she told True Royalty TV’s The Royal Beat they left because they wouldn’t be in the front row. 

“I honestly think it’s [because] … they knew that they wouldn’t be in that front row,” Nicholl said. 

She continued, saying it goes back to why stepped back from their roles as senior royals in 2020. “And why did they leave the Royal Family?” she asked. “They left because they weren’t in the front row. I believe that’s why they weren’t at the other celebrations as they did not have [sic] centre stage seats.”

Not surprisingly, senior royals sat in the front row for the pageant. The likes of Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their children, were all in the royal box. 

Another royal commentator thinks Prince Harry is probably ‘genuinely happy’ about being a ‘second-tier royal’

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, who didn't attend the Platinum Jubilee pageant because of seating, according to a royal expert, walk the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral during Platinum Jubilee weekend
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry | Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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While Nicholl feels Harry and Meghan might’ve been absent from the pageant because of the seating arrangement, another commentator thinks the Duke of Sussex’s OK with it. Amid reports Harry felt furious about sitting in the second row, Celia Walden said she thought he’d be happy about his “second-tier royal” status

“There would surely have been a time when being shunted from the front row would have would have left Harry and Meghan smarting. Well, Meghan at least,” Walden wrote in The Telegraph.

“Rightly or wrongly, I’ve always assumed that, whereas the duchess’s Garbo-esque ‘I want to be alone’ act is just that, Harry is probably genuinely happy to be relegated to a second-tier royal,” she said.

Whether or not Harry and Meghan didn’t go to the pageant because of the front row, the Duke of Sussex previously shared he’s happy living in California