Why Meghan Markle was sitting in the second row at the Commonwealth Day service

Why Meghan Markle was sitting in the second row at the Commonwealth Day service

As a newly-minted duchess, Meghan Markle is pretty much guaranteed to steal the spotlight wherever she goes – except when in the presence of her famous new family.

Typically, royal engagements are perfectly choreographed and protocol-focused events, with each person firmly relegated to their place.

For Meghan and Prince Harry, this meant they had to sit a row behind the more senior members of the family during Monday's Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.

With the births of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, Harry has been bumped down to sixth in line to the throne, and was therefore seated near to Prince Andrew, who is seventh in line.

The Queen meanwhile, sat in the front row beside Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William and Kate; the future kings and queens of the Commonwealth.

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International didgeridoo player William Barton performs during the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019, as members of the Royal Family, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge,, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, listen. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leads Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge,, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge,, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in procession during the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge,, Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall walk the aisle to leave after attending the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, talk with British musician Grace Chatto, part of the group 'Clean Bandit', who performed during the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge,, Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall walk the aisle to leave after attending the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, are seated as they attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R front row) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, with (L-R second row) Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, are seated as they attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (R) walk the aisle to leave after attending the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (R) attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (R) attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (R) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (L) attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (R) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (L) attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (2R) talks with Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R) as Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (L) talks with Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, (2L) as they all attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (2R) talks with Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R), Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (4L) talks with Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, (5L) and Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (2L) talks with Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (3L) as they all attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (R) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (L) attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read RICHARD POHLE/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex talk with Grace Chatto part of the group 'Clean Bandit' who performed at Westminster Abbey Commonwealth day service with the song 'Symphony' on March 11, 2019 in London, England. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, with old ties and new links enabling cooperation towards social, political and economic development which is both inclusive and sustainable. The Commonwealth represents a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people, a third of the worlds population, of whom 60 percent are under 30 years old. Each year the Commonwealth adopts a theme upon which the Service is based. This years theme A Connected Commonwealth speaks of the practical value and global engagement made possible as a result of cooperation between the culturally diverse and widely dispersed family of nations, who work together in friendship and goodwill. The Commonwealths governments, institutions and people connect at many levels, including through parliaments and universities. They work together to protect the natural environment and the ocean which connects many Commonwealth nations, shore to shore. Cooperation on trade encourages inclusive economic empowerment for all people - particularly women, youth and marginalised communities. The Commonwealths friendly sporting rivalry encourages people to participate in sport for development and peace. (Photo by Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stand with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Westminster Abbey for a Commonwealth day service on March 11, 2019 in London, England. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, with old ties and new links enabling cooperation towards social, political and economic development which is both inclusive and sustainable. The Commonwealth represents a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people, a third of the worlds population, of whom 60 percent are under 30 years old. Each year the Commonwealth adopts a theme upon which the Service is based. This years theme A Connected Commonwealth speaks of the practical value and global engagement made possible as a result of cooperation between the culturally diverse and widely dispersed family of nations, who work together in friendship and goodwill. The Commonwealths governments, institutions and people connect at many levels, including through parliaments and universities. They work together to protect the natural environment and the ocean which connects many Commonwealth nations, shore to shore. Cooperation on trade encourages inclusive economic empowerment for all people - particularly women, youth and marginalised communities. The Commonwealths friendly sporting rivalry encourages people to participate in sport for development and peace. (Photo by Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (foreground centre), sits with Prince William, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, front row, Prince Andrew, background right, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 11, 2019 in London, England. Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth - a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people, a third of the world's population, of whom 60 percent are under 30 years old. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 11: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends the 2019 Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 11, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Jewellery detail, attends the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 11, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 11, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 11: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend the 2019 Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 11, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
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While it may have looked like a snub, Harry and Meghan's seating simply came down to the royal 'pecking order' and shows how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been pushed further towards the perimeter of the inner-royal circle.

If you watch the royals walk into a formal event, you'll notice the same thing; as first in line to the throne, Charles and his wife Camilla take precedence, and walk immediately behind the Queen.

They are always followed by William and Kate, who are also expected to reign one day, and are treated with a heightened level of seniority at royal events when compared to Harry and Meghan.

At the family's annual Trooping the Colour balcony appearance last June, royal watchers were shocked when fan favourite Meghan again stood behind her sister-in-law Kate.

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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, told PEOPLE .

"There's no slight intended, but William being the older, more senior brother would go out [first] with his wife."

Meghan's physical position at official events is further compounded by the fact she's not a blood royal and often walks a step behind her husband at official events.

"It is standard practice for British royalty to allow the 'blood royal' to walk or stand a few paces in front of the royalty who has married in to the family, as with HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex," etiquette expert William Hanson told the Daily Mail.

"

'Even though TRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently presenting their own, informal, tactile interpretation of British monarchy, they are still adhering to the precedent with Meghan knowing she, as a non-blood royal, should defer to born royalty."

Indeed, looking back on photos of William and Kate while they are on royal tour, the Duchess of Cambridge can be seen walking slightly behind her husband.

And the practice is even more evident with the Queen and Prince Philip, as the Duke of Edinburgh always keeps a respectful distance from his wife.

This article first appeared on Yahoo

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