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
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
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
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
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 …
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 …
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 …
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
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
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