The meaning behind everyone's places in the official Royal wedding family portrait

Junie Sihlangu
May 23, 2018
07:36 A.M.
Share this pen

The official Royal Family portrait was a bit different from others in the past. Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan keep breaking barriers in the traditional family.


Their family portrait was adjusted in many ways and one of them was to accommodate the fact that Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, never made it to the event. Harpers Bazaar deciphered some other oddities in the image.

The former Royal editor for The Sun and Prince Harry’s biographer, Duncan Larcombe, had some insight into the placement of people in the Royal portrait. “Meghan’s mum is seen standing next to her daughter and beaming with pride after a wedding that ripped up the rule book,” Larcombe stated.

He added that the Queen also seemed uncharacteristically relaxed in the image. She was joined by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, 96, and three generations of their family.


The portrait also served as a reminder that neither Meghan’s father nor any other blood relative other than her mother, Doria Ragland, was able to attend. The photographer, Alexi Lubomirski, found a smart way to make up for this.

He positioned the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge next to Meghan’s mother to balance the image. All the other previous Royal weddings had the groom’s family standing on one side, while the bride’s family stood on the other.

“These portraits cement Harry and Meghan’s place at the heart of the royal family.”

Duncan Larcombe, Harpers Bazaar, May 21, 2018


For example, Prince William and Duchess Kate’s official portraits saw Prince Harry, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall standing to the right of Prince William. Kate’s parents and siblings stood to her left.

Larcombe shared that it was up to the photographer to decide where everyone stood or sat. However, he added that it was quite normal for the bride and groom to be standing next to their parents.


This explains why Ragland was standing next to Meghan just as Charles and Camilla stood next to Harry. If Thomas had made it to the wedding, he would’ve probably been standing in the same place where Prince William stood.

In both sets of portraits, the Queen and Prince Philip sit directly in front of Charles and Camilla. Kate is also seated in Prince Harry and Meghan’s photos.

Larcombe wasn’t sure what this meant but it’s assumed that the photographer felt the picture was more balanced this way. The other reason could be that due to Kate having given birth a month ago, she just wanted to sit down.

She might have also been taking a breather after chasing Princess Charlotte and Prince George around during the wedding.