Why Kate and Meghan Stand on Different Balconies at the Remembrance Day Service

Victoria Murphy
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

From Town & Country

It’s the most important day in the royal calendar, honoring those who have lost their lives in military service. And the royal family are out in force leading the nation’s tributes. As always, some do so by laying wreaths at the foot of the Cenotaph and others by observing the annual Remembrance Sunday service from balconies overlooking the monument.

This year, the Queen, now 93, did not lay a wreath and, for the third year running, stood on a balcony belonging to the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office building. To either side of her were Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex was on another balcony between Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Princess Anne’s husband Sir Tim Laurence.

Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - Getty Images

Who stands where during such events is determined by what is known as the order of precedence, the hierarchy that exists within the royal family. The current order places the sovereign, the Queen, first, followed by the spouse of the sovereign, Prince Philip (who this year, did not attend). Next is the eldest son of the sovereign, Prince Charles, followed by his spouse, Camilla.

Prince William is higher up the order of precedence than younger brother Harry and their wives' positions fall in line accordingly. Managing Editor of Majesty Magazine, Joe Little, explains it this way:

“The monarch is joined by the most senior female members of the royal family—the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge. Following the royal order of precedence, the balcony on Her Majesty's left is used by the Duchess of Sussex, the Countess of Wessex and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, husband of the Princess Royal. Variations occur when special guests are present, such as Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and the President of Germany's wife in recent years.”

The royals who are lined up below the balconies before the Cenotaph to lay wreaths do so in line with the same system. The Queen’s wreath on behalf of the nation is laid first, in this case by Prince Charles. Her husband Prince Philip’s wreath is laid second, in this case by an. Prince Charles is next to lay his wreath, followed by Prince William, Prince Harry, and Prince Andrew. Other royals then follow suit followed by politicians and other representatives.

Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - Getty Images

The order of precedence is different from the order of succession, which is only concerned with who can inherit the throne. For example, Prince Charles is first in line to the throne but he is currently third in order of precedence behind the Queen and Prince Philip.

Depending which members of the family are absent or present at certain events the actual positions of individuals can be different but the order is almost always observed in the same way.

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