The Surprising Reason Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie Had to Leave 1 Front-Row Seat Empty During Their Weddings

Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie shared several similarities the day they got married. The women each wore headband tiaras on loan from Queen Elizabeth II, their bouquets included Myrtle from Osborne House, and they were both married in St. George’s Chapel with afternoon receptions held at Windsor Castle. Another thing they had in common is the seating chart inside the chapel needed to have an empty seat in the very front row. But why?

(L): Meghan Markle leaves St. George's Chapel after her wedding, (R): Princess Eugenie on wedding day at St. George's Chapel
(L): Meghan Markle leaves St. George’s Chapel after her wedding | Brian Lawless – WPA Pool/Getty Images, (R): Princess Eugenie on wedding day at St George’s Chapel | Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry tied the knot months before Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said “I do” at St. George’s Chapel on May 19, 2018.

The wedding was televised to millions of viewers around the world. The bride wore a Givenchy gown by British fashion designer Clare Waight Keller. The dress was made of silk and featured a boat neckline. It was paired with a 16-foot long veil which took 500 hours to embroider. 

Meghan and Harry’s wedding was a star-studded affair with many celebrities in attendance including George and Amal Clooney, Serena Williams, Oprah Winfrey, and Idris Elba. With so much star power some fans didn’t even notice that there was an empty seat in the front row to the right of Meghan throughout the ceremony.

Meghan Markle seated near the royal family in St George's Chapel for her wedding to Prince Harry
Meghan Markle seated near the royal family in St George’s Chapel for her wedding to Prince Harry | Jonathan Brady/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Why the empty seat in the same spot was left open during Eugenie’s wedding as well

Following Meghan and Harry’s wedding, the royal family gathered at the chapel to witness Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s daughter, Princess Eugenie, marry Jack Brooksbank on Oct. 12, 2018.

Eugenie’s gown had a low-back which the princess chose in order to reveal the scar she has as a result of scoliosis surgery she underwent when she was 12 years old. Eugenie said that she felt it was important to show her scar because of how much she values having gotten that life-changing surgery.

Unlike Meghan and Harry’s nuptials, Eugenie’s wedding was not televised. However, pictures from the event were released soon after the ceremony took place and in those there was again one empty seat in the front row.

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank look towards Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson during wedding ceremony
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank look toward Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson during wedding ceremony | Danny Lawson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Fans wondered what the reasoning for that was especially since there weren’t any other empty seats inside the chapel on those days. Was the seat open in case of some emergency? Or was it to represent a former monarch or senior royal who has passed? Well actually it’s neither.

The Express noted that the real reason the seat had to remain empty is for Queen Elizabeth. The royal family matriarch prefers to sit in the second row of the chapel because she finds the front row to be uncomfortable. Therefore, that seat directly in front of her must be vacant as royal protocol dictates that no one can sit in front of the queen and obstruct her view. 

This was confirmed hours after Eugenie and Jack’s wedding by a royal commentator who explained: “The seat in front of the queen is always left empty, I am told by BP [Buckingham Palace]. She needs to be seen — and the seat she was sitting in today is her favorite seat in that chapel, apparently.”

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