Why Meghan and Harry stood at the back of the balcony at Trooping the Colour

Bianca Soldani

The Duchess of Sussex has made her first public appearance since giving birth to son Archie, at this year’s Trooping the Colour.

But despite being among of the most senior members of the royal family, Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry, appeared to have been shuffled to the back of the balcony to watch the annual show.

The Queen and Prince Charles took their places at the front, as expected, with William, Kate and their brood standing directly to Charles’ side – a not-so-subtle nod to the line of succession.

Whereas on the other side of the Queen stood her third child Prince Andrew, followed by royal kids Viscount Severn, Isla and Savanna Phillips and their parents Peter and Autumn Philips, while Meghan and Harry were tucked in behind Andrew.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during Trooping the Colour. [Photo: PA]

The positioning did not go unnoticed on social media, with many royals fans confused at why Harry could hardly be seen.

READ MORE: Meghan Markle reveals new 'push present' ring since birth of baby Archie at Trooping the Colour

Harry and Meghan were shuffled to the back of the balcony, behind Prince Andrew, James, Viscount Severn and Isla and Savannah Phillips. Photo: Getty

One person made reference to the widely reported ‘feud’ between William and Harry, and noted the fact that the Sussexes were also standing very far away from the Cambridges.

“If Kensington Palace (sic) wanted to tamp down feuding rumours by having Meghan, Harry, and Kate in the same carriage, it did not work,” they said, “The Cams and Sussexes were miles apart on the balcony, as opposed to last year when they stood together.”

Why Meghan and Harry were at the back

At every royal event, there is a pecking order. It’s why Harry and Meghan usually enter after William and Kate, and why you’ll often see Kate and Meghan walking a step behind their respective husbands.

We all know the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children are in direct line to the throne, while Harry has been bumped down to sixth in line, and baby Archie is seventh.

That explains why William and Kate were out in front, but not why Prince Andrew, who is now eighth in line to the throne, was blocking Harry and Meghan’s view.

READ MORE: Duchess of Cambridge wears McQueen to Trooping the Colour

Prince Andrew stood by the Queen's side, in place of her husband, Prince Philip, who has retired from public duty. Photo: Getty

Tradition gives us more of an answer here. Last year’s Trooping the Colour was the first time the Queen’s husband Prince Philip, was not in attendance, having retired from public duties.

In all previous years, he had taken his place at the Queen’s side for the annual event, while Prince Charles stood at her other elbow.

In the Duke of Edinburgh’s absence in 2018, who stepped up to the Queen’s other side? None other than Prince Andrew, who did the same thing again this year.

Meghan and Harry were standing towards the centre back in 2018 as well, and as royal expert Joe Little explained to People at the time, “She [Meghan] was not as prominent perhaps as some people might have expected, but there’s a pecking order.”

“There was no slight intended, but William being the older, more senior brother would go out [first] with his wife.”

At the 2018 Trooping the Colour, Prince Andrew was also at the Queen's side, while Harry and Meghan stood at the back. Photo: Getty
In previous years, such as here in 2017, the Queen has been flanked by Charles on one side, and Prince Philip on the other. Notice that Harry is still at the back. Photo: Getty

First appearance since Archie’s birth

The Trooping the Colour, which marks the Queen’s official birthday with an annual parade in London, was Meghan’s first appearance in public since the birth of her and Harry’s son Archie.

The Sussexes were among the royals taking part in the carriage procession from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade and they sat alongside the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge.

READ MORE: 'Meghan tried to calm things down between Harry and William'

Harry and Meghan wave to the crowd. [Photo: PA]
The foursome chatted in the carriage as they made their way down The Mall. [Photo: PA]

Meghan looked elegant in a wide-sleeved navy ensemble by Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy, with a matching beret style hat by Noel Stewart, which is very similar to the one she wore to Princess Eugenie’s wedding last year.

What the royals wore

Meghan’s sister-in-law Kate chose a sunny yellow dress by Alexander McQueen with a Philip Treacy floral headpiece.

Camilla wore a green embroidered dress by go-to designer Bruce Oldfield and wide-brim cream hat from Philip Treacy.

Harry was dressed in his full Blues and Royals uniform, and unlike other members of the royal family including Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince William, Harry did not enter on horseback because he does not hold the position of a royal colonel of the Household Division.

The Queen makes her way from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade, in London, ahead of the Trooping the Colour ceremony, as she celebrates her official birthday. [Photo: PA]

The Queen, who actually turned 93 on April 21, was wearing Angela Kelly, and led the other members of her family onto the balcony at Buckingham Palace to watch the RAF fly-past.

Prince Louis’ public debut

Meghan and Harry’s son Archie was not present, but Kate and William’s youngest child Prince Louis, made his balcony debut.

The young royal was pulling some pretty funny faces. Photo: Getty

The 13-month-old was passed between both his parents during the show, and pulled some pretty funny facial expressions while his older siblings watched on in awe.

In a sweet tribute to his uncle Prince Harry, Louis was wearing the exact same outfit the Duke of Sussex wore to the 1986 Trooping the Colour.

Louis wore Prince Harry's outfit from his appearance at Trooping the Colour in 1986. Photos: Getty