Why Meghan Markle didn't sit with Prince Harry at their first official appearance together

Meghan Markle attends the Opening Ceremony of the 2017 Invictus Games but didn’t sit next to Prince Harry [Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire]

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry made their long-awaited first official appearance together at this weekend’s launch of the Invictus Games.

But fans were disappointed to see the ‘Suits’ actress sat three rows away from her royal beau.

However, there is a reason for the distance between the couple.

Apparently because Meghan is not a royal or a dignitary (although an engagement is expected to be on the cards), it would have breached protocol to have her sat next to Harry, the US First Lady, Melania Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (and his amazing socks!)

But though she might not have been in touching distance of her Prince, Meghan did have a royal protection officer at her side, which broke with tradition and serves as proof the actress could soon be ready to take up an official Princess role.

Melania Trump, Prince Harry (far left) Meghan Markle (far right) at the Invictus Games [Photo: Rex]
Meghan Markle sat three rows away from Prince Harry [Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire]

It’s not the first time the couple have broken with royal protocol since they officially started dating last October.

Last year, Kensington Palace issued a rare statement confirming their relationship, and unhappy with the furore and incessant trolling, implored the public for privacy and respect.

Considering the royals rarely issue statements concerning William and Harry’s private lives, this was a pretty bold move.

And it didn’t stop there, following speculation that Prince William hadn’t reacted indicating he might not be on board with the release of the original statement, he was forced to issue his own statement about the couple’s relationship.

Prince Harry sat next to Melania Trump [Photo Danny Lawson/PA Wire]

In another unprecedented move, the Palace issued a second release to The Telegraph putting an end to the rumours of a lack of sibling support and confirming that The Duke of Cambridge was fully behind his brother’s original decision to release the statement.

“The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him,” the statement read.

There’s also the fact that Meghan is the first American woman that Prince Harry has officially been linked with, something that’s also a first.

“Traditionally, years ago, a member of the royal family did not ‘court’ anyone outside of a royal or noble family from Britain or Europe,” William Hanson, a leading etiquette coach told Refinery29.

Because of this, there’s little precedence or protocol for how Prince Harry’s girlfriend might conduct herself in public while dating him.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t expectations for how you should act while dating a royal.

One of the most important ‘rules’ Meghan will need to observe is always walking, sitting, or standing in the same position, in relation to the other royals because royal rank is a protocol which all the family still follow.

According to the Mirror, it currently goes the Queen first, followed by Prince Philip, then Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and lastly Prince Harry.

If they did get wed, Meghan would take her place at Harry’s side.

It’s likely that as their relationship continues, Kensington Palace will want Meghan to scale back her publicity commitments too.

Earlier this year, senior royal officials were supposedly unhappy with Meghan’s recent Vanity Fair interview in which she opened up about her relationship with Prince Harry for the very first time.

“We’re a couple. We’re in love. I’m sure there will be a time when we have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time,” she said.

“This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that it’s just ours. But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been breaking with royal protocol [Photo: PA Images]

Yet another bend in the royal rules has meant that Meghan has reportedly been introduced to Prince Harry’s grandmother, the Queen.

Royal protocol dictates that this is only really meant to happen an official engagement announcement.

But according to US Weekly, the special occasion took place at the Queen’s Scottish residency, Balmoral Castle on September 3rd, after the young couple had returned from a romantic trip to Botswana.

The meeting may come as a surprise to many, as it is well-know that it took the Duchess of Cambridge five years to come face to face with the Queen.

The fact that Meghan has been fully welcomed into the royal family so quickly has once again sent rumours flying that a royal engagement could be on the cards.

Dum dum dee dum. Dum dum dee dum…

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