You’ll Never Guess the Real Reason Prince William Left an Empty Seat Next to Him During the Royal Wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had plenty of time to prepare for their wedding. They participated in planning every detail, from the official wedding cake to the young members of their bridal party. Even the seating arrangements for the ceremony were planned in advance — including who sat next to whom, depending on how they were related to the bride or groom.

One member of the royal family left an open space beside him — but it wasn’t for the reason you’re thinking (page 9).

The people closest to Harry took up the first two rows of his side of the chapel

Prince William, Prince Charles, Camilla, and Kate Middleton at royal wedding

The seating arrangement had special meaning. | WPA Pool / Pool

The seating arrangements for the ceremony were carefully planned. This included his brother, Prince William; his father, Prince Charles; his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, and other members of the British royal family.

Next:¬†Seating plans aren’t that simple

No easy task

Meghan Markle walks the aisle | Danny Lawson/AFP/Getty Image

Organizing and arranging the seating chart for a royal wedding isn’t simple. Of course there are the personal preferences of the bride and groom to consider, but there are other factors involved. Social status, politics, and etiquette make arranging the seats a challenging process.

Next: Where did Doria sit?

Markle’s mother had a place of honor

Meghan Markle and her mother Doria Ragland at the wedding

Doria Ragland on the wedding day. | Phil Harris – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Doria Ragland was seated alone in the second row. Some people thought this seemed insulting, but in fact, Doria was sitting directly across from the Queen herself. Her position also allowed cameras to capture her emotional reaction to the wedding.

Next: Only one member of the royal family sat next to an empty space.

There was only one empty seat

Meghan Markle sits next to the royal family.

Royal fanatics were quick to spot this empty seat next to Prince William. | Jonathan Brady – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince William was the only one who sat with an empty space next to him during the ceremony. This was planned intentionally, but even though many assumed the reason was entirely sentimental, it was actually quite practical.

Next: If you think you’ve guessed the reason, you’ve probably guessed wrong.

It wasn’t to honor Princess Diana …

Meghan Markle with her pageboys and bridesmaids.

It wasn’t to honor Princess Diana. | Owen Humphreys – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Of the many celebrities that did not attend the wedding, Prince Harry’s mother was the most notable. Many first thought the empty seat beside Prince William was meant to honor the late Princess Diana, but that wasn’t entirely accurate.

Next: But they did honor her in a few special ways.

Meghan and Harry honored her with flowers …

Prince Harry walking alongside Meghan Markle.

The flowers in Meghan Markle’s bouquet came from Princess Diana’s garden. | Ben STANSALL – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Their floral arrangements included white garden roses, one of Princess Diana’s favorite flowers. Meghan also carried a bouquet containing Forget-Me-Nots, another favorite. Harry hand-picked them from the garden at Kensington Palace.

Next: They arranged their photos carefully.

… and in their wedding photos …

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle posing with their pageboys and bridesmaids.

Can you spot the green sofa? | Kensington Palace via Twitter

In the photo featuring the bride and groom surrounded by their bridal party, Prince Harry sat on a green couch. It’s the same green couch photographed in 1984, showing Princess Diana holding her son on the day of his christening.

Next: Harry also gave Meghan a subtle, but meaningful, gift.

… and with a ring

Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex wave as they leave Windsor Castle after their wedding to attend an evening reception at Frogmore House, hosted by the Prince of Wales on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England.

This ring belonged to Princess Diana. | Steve Parsons-WPA Pool/Getty Images

On their way to their wedding reception, Meghan was spotted wearing an aquamarine ring on her right hand. The ring originally belonged to Harry’s mother, and sources believed he gave it to her as a gift on their special day.

Next: The real reason William left the seat empty is still precious.

The space was left empty so the Queen could see the ceremony

Prince William and Prince Harry sitting together.

The queen’s view would have been blocked. ¬†Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth sat in the second row of the chapel next to her husband, a row behind her grandson. To make sure she got a clear view of the ceremony, Prince William left open the space next to him.

But, technically, Diana probably would have been sitting in the front row, too, if she could have. It ended up being a nice way to remember her nonetheless.

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Additional reporting by John Wolfe