Meghan Markle Didn't Stand with the Queen, Kate & Camilla at Remembrance Ceremony — Here's Why
Meghan Markle stood apart from some of her royal family members at a Remembrance Day Service on Sunday, but it wasn’t a slight against her.
During the solemn ceremony honoring those who lost their lives in World War I, Queen Elizabeth, Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall stood together at one balcony, while Meghan watched from the balcony of another window outside the Cenotaph war memorial in London.
As the balconies of each window are small, it’s nearly impossible to fit more than three or four women on each.
While last year, Meghan didn’t join her family members, instead watching with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s wife Elke Budenbender, this year she stood by a pair of much more familiar faces: the Queen’s daughter-in-law, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, as well as Sir Timothy Laurence, Princess Anne‘s husband.
During official events, the royal family also arranges themselves according to a royal “pecking order.”
For instance, when Meghan and Harry made their first joint appearance since introducing son Archie to the world at Trooping the Colour in June, they weren’t front and center on the palace balcony — just as it was the previous year, when Meghan made her debut appearance.
“She was not as prominent perhaps as some people might have expected, but there’s a pecking order,” Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, previously told PEOPLE. “There was no slight intended, but William being the older, more senior brother would go out [first] with his wife.”
Last year, a palace source told PEOPLE: “There’s no one laying this out, telling her where to stand. And there were a lot of kids who everyone would want at the front.”
During Sunday’s event, Meghan wore a belted black coat with a wide-brimmed hat while Kate sported a sleek black coat with military-style embellishments and a veiled hat. Both women wore red poppies, the symbol of remembrance for World War I and veterans.
The previous day, the royal couples attended the Festival of Remembrance Service at Royal Albert Hall together, marking their first public appearance as a foursome since their family playdate at a polo match in July.
Harry recently opened up about the rumored rift between him and his older brother in ITV’s documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.
Speaking about the pressures of their jobs in the royal family, Harry said, “Inevitably stuff happens. But we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers. We’re certainly on different paths at the moment. I’ll always be there for him and as I know, he’ll always be there for me. We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we’re so busy but I love him dearly.”
The royal dad of one added, “The majority of stuff is created out of nothing. As brothers, we have good days and we have bad days.”
In March, Meghan and Harry officially split from Kate and William, breaking up their joint “court” at Kensington Palace by creating two separate offices. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have since moved out of London to Windsor Castle’s Frogmore Cottage – about 25 miles away – and launched their own Instagram page and charitable endeavor.
“It was only going to work until they married — and it went on a while longer than perhaps was originally thought,” one palace courtier previously told PEOPLE.