‘Place of honour’: Meghan and Harry’s seating arrangement at funeral a ‘sign of favour’

Queen’s funeral: Meghan Markle arrives at Westminster Abbey

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were far from snubbed when it came to the seating arrangements for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral service held on Monday at Westminster Abbey, according to a royal historian. Commentator Gareth Russell argued the Duke and Duchess were given a “place of honour” as, while they sat in the second row, they were positioned directly behind King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort.

He told Us Weekly magazine: “That’s the etiquette. If you know what the etiquette is, it actually is a place of honour.

“To be the one behind the king is actually a sign of favour.”

While Harry and Meghan sat behind the King and Queen Consort during the funeral service, Prince William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales, were in the first row, sitting with their children Princess Charlotte and Prince George.

Members of the Royal Family are normally seated in accordance with the pecking order during official events such as a state funeral.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sat in the second row at the Queen's funeral

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sat in the second row during the Queen’s funeral (Image: GETTY)

King Charles looking distraught during the funeral

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are no longer senior royals (Image: GETTY)

During the service of thanksgiving held at St Paul’s Cathedral on June 3 to celebrate Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, Harry and Meghan sat in the second row, next to other non-working members of the Firm including Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank.

On the other hand, Kate and William were metres away, in the first row right between Queen Camilla and Princess Anne.

While he urged people not to consider the Duke and Duchess of Sussex slighted by where they were located during the hour-long service on Monday, Mr Russell added the focus of the seating plan on Monday may have been on the Queen’s children rather than her grandchildren.

In particular, the expert added, King Charles seems to have paid tribute to his sister Princess Anne following her decades of unwavering service to the Queen and the Firm. 

READ MORE: Public backs King Charles III over slimmed-down monarchy – Poll

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry during the funeral

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are believed to have returned to the US (Image: GETTY)

He claimed: “The King’s major concern has been to give a place of honour to his sister and for the older roles to be relaxed.”

Mr Russell added: “Giving Princess Anne her rightful place in the 21st century in monarchy [shows that] she really is her brother’s confidant.

“She is hugely admired in Britain for her charitable work, and we’ve seen that she is someone who’s dealing with great heartbreak at her mother’s passing.”

Princess Anne was at the Queen’s bedside in her last few hours. 

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The Queen's coffin leaving Westminster Abbey

The Queen’s funeral took place at Westminster Abbey (Image: GETTY)

King Charles and Princess Anne during the funeral procession

King Charles and Princess Anne walked side by side during the funeral procession (Image: GETTY)

Moreover, supported by her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, she accompanied her mother in her last journey from Scotland to London.

In a rare, heartfelt statement issued on September 13, the Queen’s only daughter said: “I was fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest Mother’s life.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys.

“Witnessing the love and respect shown by so many on these journeys has been both humbling and uplifting.”

The Royal Family's family tree mapped

The Royal Family’s family tree mapped (Image: EXPRESS)

After thanking well-wishers and mourners sharing the royals’ “sense of loss”, the Princess Royal added: “We may have been reminded how much of her presence and contribution to our national identity we took for granted.”

Sharing a few words for the new King, Anne went on to say: “I am also so grateful for the support and understanding offered to my dear brother Charles as he accepts the added responsibilities of The Monarch.

“To my mother, The Queen, thank you.”

While Harry and William were far apart at Westminster Abbey, they walked side by side during the processions which took Her Majesty’s coffin from Westminster Hall to St George’s Chapel.

Royals gathered at St Paul's Cathedral on June 3

Royals gathered at St Paul’s Cathedral on June 3 (Image: GETTY)

At the chapel in Windsor, Harry and Meghan were seated between Princess Charlotte and Isla Phillips, one of Princess Anne’s granddaughters.

Meghan and Harry, who relocated to California in March 2020, were already in the UK when the Queen died as they were taking part in events linked to charities close to their hearts.

They are now believed to have returned to the US to be reunited with their children, Archie and Lili, who they have not seen in person since September 3.