Meghan Markle did not stand with the other members of the royal family during Sunday's Remembrance Day Service, sparking speculation that it was a sign of the deepening rift between the royals.
The Duchess of Sussex joined the royal family for the Armistice Day in London on 10 November.
During the solemn ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II, Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall stood together at one balcony to oversee the Cenotaph war memorial.
However, Meghan Markle positioned herself on a separate balcony with Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Sir Timothy Laurence, Princess Anne's husband.
During official events, the royal family arrange themselves according to a royal “pecking order,” or the order of precedence.
For instance, when Meghan and Harry, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, made their first joint appearance since introducing son Archie to the world at Trooping the Colour in June, they weren’t front and centre on the palace balcony.
Similarly, last year, when Meghan Markle made her debut appearance, she was not as prominent as some people might have expected.
“There’s a pecking order,” Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, was previously quoted by PEOPLE.
There is also a practical reason why Markle did not stand in the same balcony as the Queen, according to royal experts.
"The balconies overlooking Whitehall occupied by the Royal Family are very small," Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliam is quoted by The Sun.
Experts claim it is nearly impossible for more than three women to fit in, hence, for safety purposes, Markle had to be separated from the Queen.
Nonetheless, the separation led some to speculate this was a sign of serious issues within the royal family, as fans took to Twitter to make their observations.
The press making a mountain out of a mole hill. It's called protocol..it's not a snub geez.😕😕 Fake News 😉😉— christine ann trout (@ctrout64) November 10, 2019
Because she's the wife of the sixth to the throne???— borsalino is not my president (@thassia_ps) November 10, 2019
Because she has lower status and lower ranking than the Queen, Camilla and Kate. .... she has to go stand on a different balcony!!! AHAHAHAHAH!!! It’s the best.— Game Theory (@MsGameTheory) November 10, 2019
She’s not near as important as she thought she would be! 🤣🤣🤣— The_Queen_B (@QueenB_2509) November 10, 2019
One the balcony isn’t that big and 2 she isn’t married to one of the next Kings. It’s not a drama.— Lisa Gill (@gill_lmgill2) November 10, 2019
Are we going to have to post these articles every single year? How do people still not understand hierarchy?— No Seriously Stop (@torymisspelling) November 10, 2019
The balcony with the monarch is reserved for the future monarchs (if first-born daughters) or wives of the future monarchs.— Iola Proinsias (@IolaProinsias) November 10, 2019
Exactly! This was explained last year - it’s all about ranking not about exclusion due any other reason. Thank you for not being petty as some in this thread have chosen to do.— Pamela (@pst8367) November 10, 2019
Is this really THE most important talking point this Veteran’s Weekend, @people ?— Debbie Laughton (@DebLaughton) November 10, 2019
The current sighting comes shortly after Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, revealed their struggles with public life and Harry's relationship with his brother William, in ITV’s documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.
Speaking about the pressures of their jobs in the royal family, Prince 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.”
In March, Meghan and Harry officially split from Kate and William, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, 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.