Today, siblings-in-law Prince Harry and Kate Middleton attended the Anzac Day service at Westminster Abbey in honor of soldiers who served in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The royals attended without their spouses as Prince William is abroad in New Zealand and Meghan Markle is currently on maternity leave with her due date quickly approaching.
Inside the abbey, the royals were seated according to the order of precedence, or royal rank. The Duke of Sussex was seen sitting closest to the altar, followed by Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester (the Queen’s cousin), and then the Duchess of Cambridge came last. While leaving the service, Harry was also at the front of the procession while Prince Richard and Kate followed behind him.
Duchess Kate is married to the second in line to the throne and is set to be a future queen consort; why was Prince Harry, sixth in the line of succession, sitting up front? (Prince Richard, by the way, is currently 26th in line for the throne.)
People points out that Kate was seated farthest back because she’s “not part of the royal family by blood.” But she would’ve had a front-row seat if she were accompanying Prince William.
Marlene Koenig, royal historian and Royal Musings founder explains to BAZAAR.com: “Catherine, as the wife of a grandson of the sovereign, has a lower precedence, so seating arrangements are different if the wife is alone. If William were there, she would have sat next to him, then Harry and Richard.”
In fact, when Prince William attended Anzac services with Meghan and Harry last year (while Kate was home after giving birth to Prince Louis), he sat in the front seat while Meghan and Harry sat behind him. He was also the first in the group to lead the procession after the service, with the Sussexes behind him.
Koenig previously told BAZAAR that the order of precedence is usually applied at state and diplomatic events or more formal occasions. For example, for affairs like state dinners at Buckingham Palace, the Queen is usually the first to lead the procession into the venue with the guest of honor.
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