Each year on November 11, the UK holds the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in London. The service, as the British Legion explains, commemorates the “contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women involved in the two World Wars and later conflicts.” This year’s event was especially historic: It marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Both women wore elegant all black for the celebration. Meghan wore a black coat with sleeve detailing and a fascinator, plus several pinned poppies, while Kate wore a military-inspired coat believed to be by Alexander McQueen in addition to the Remembrance Day poppies.
At the event, Kate stood alongside the Queen and stepmother-in-law Camilla. Meghan wasn’t by her side, though: Instead, Meghan was over on a separate balcony, alongside Elke Büdenbender, First Lady of Germany. And yes, that’s a change to normal royal protocol: According to Hello!, the two duchesses would typically be positioned together for such an event. However, the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, could not attend, so Kate had to take his literal place. And, just to dispel any other rumors as to why Meghan was separated from the pack, People reported that the balconies are simply too small to fit everyone on one.
During the ceremony, Kate and Meghan both took part in one minute of silence and watched as their husbands, alongside the brothers’ father, Prince Charles, laid down wreaths in remembrance of all of Britain’s veterans.
While it certainly was a somber event, the ceremony itself likely held a bit of joy for Kate, Meghan, Harry, and William: People reported that the weekend’s events marked the first time the four royals have been photographed publicly together since July. The foursome are less likely to be photographed together in the future as well. According to reports, Prince Harry and Prince William may decide to split up their joint “court” at Kensington Palace to have their own separate offices instead.
“The arrival of Meghan has changed the dynamic of the relationship in a fairly significant way,” royals author Sally Bedell Smith shared with People. “It is inevitable and practical because it gives Harry and Meghan some freedom to build up their own collection of interests and charities. Meghan has very strong views on what she is interested in and that may be what Harry shares, but not what William and Kate share.”
But, Smith added that it’s not like they are breaking up as a family.
“I think it really is just a shift in priorities and interests,” she adds. “William is a husband and father of three and his focus is primarily on them, and Harry will soon be a father. Each of them will continue the very strong representative of the Queen in carrying out tasks and assignments that she, and probably their father, wants them to do. They are going to be sharing in this diffusion of activities on behalf of the Queen.”