Heritage

Why It's Significant Where Everyone Is Standing in the Official Royal Wedding Family Portrait

A royal expert on why Kate Middleton is sitting, where Thomas Markle would have stood, and more.
IMAGE ALEXI LUBOMIRSKI/KENSINGTON PALACE
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The official royal wedding portraits are here and they are stunning. But just like many other moments from royal wedding, it appears that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have bucked tradition ever so slightly with their official family portraits, too.

“These portraits cement Harry and Meghan’s place at the heart of the royal family,” former royal editor for The Sun and Prince Harry biographer Duncan Larcombe tells BAZAAR.com.

Meghan’s mum is seen standing next to her daughter and beaming with pride after a wedding that ripped up the rule book,” Larcombe continued. “Even the Queen seems uncharacteristically relaxed as she and the 96-year-old Duke of Edinburgh are joined by three generations of their family.”

While it is tradition for the royal family to release official family portraits following any royal wedding, these photographs also serve as a reminder that neither Meghan’s father Thomas, nor any other blood relative other than her mom, Doria Ragland, was able to attend.

To make up for this, the photographer, Alexi Lubomirski, positioned the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge next to Meghan’s mother so the photograph didn’t appear unbalanced.


In all other family portraits from previous royal weddings, the groom’s family stands on one side, with the bride’s family on the other. In fact, in the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s official royal wedding portraits, Prince Harry, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall stood directly to the right of Prince William, while Kate Middleton’s parents and siblings stood to her left.

Larcombe says that it’s up to the photographer to decide on who sits or stands where, “but it is quite normal for the bride and groom to be standing next to their parents,” so that explains why Ragland is standing next to Meghan just like Charles and Camilla are standing next to Harry.

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If Thomas Markle had made it to the wedding, he likely would have been standing in the same spot where Prince William ended up posing, or even where Ragland stands in the portrait, seeing as Kate Middleton’s father stood directly to her left in her wedding portraits.


In both sets of portraits, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh sit directly in front of Charles and Camilla, but why is the Duchess of Cambridge also sitting down in Meghan and Harry’s photos?

While Larcombe didn’t have a definitive answer, it’s safe to assume that Lubomirski decided the image just looked more balanced that way. But also keep in mind that Kate did just give birth less than a month ago and probably appreciated the chance to sit after chasing Princess Charlotte and Prince George around earlier in the day.

Now that you've had a minute to take in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's stunning official wedding portraits by photographer Alexi Lubomirski, here's a who's who of the bridesmaids and page boys:


1.) Zalie Warren, goddaughter of the groom

2.) Princess Charlotte, niece of the groom

3.) Brian Mulroney, son of the bride's close friend, Jessica Mulroney

4.) Remi Litt, goddaughter of the bride

5.) Rylan Litt, goddaughter of the bride

6.) Prince Harry, the groom

7.) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, the bride

8.) Jasper Dyer, godson of the groom

9.) Prince George, nephew of the groom

10.) Ivy Mulroney, daughter of the bride's close friend, Jessica Mulroney

11.) John Mulroney, son of the bride's close friend, Jessica Mulroney

12.) Florence van Cutsem, goddaughter of the groom

And below is a breakdown of the entire family and wedding party.


1.) Jasper Dyer, godson of the groom

2.) Ivy Mulroney, daughter of the bride's close friend, Jessica Mulroney

3.) Brian Mulroney, son of the bride's close friend, Jessica Mulroney

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4.) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, step-mother of the groom

5.) Prince Philip, grandfather of the groom

6.) Florence van Cutsem, goddaughter of the groom

7.) Prince Charles, father of the groom

8.) Queen Elizabeth, grandmother of the groom

9.) Prince Harry, the groom

10.) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, the bride

11.) Doria Ragland, mother of the bride

12.) Prince William, best man and brother of the groom

13.) Princess Charlotte, niece of the groom

14.) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, sister-in-law of the groom

15.) Prince George, nephew of the groom

16.) Zalie Warren, goddaughter of the groom

17.) Rylan Litt, goddaughter of the bride

18.) John Mulroney, son of the bride's close friend, Jessica Mulroney

19.) Remi Litt, goddaughter of the bride

As royal biographer Duncan Larcombe told Harper's Bazaar, “These portraits cement Harry and Meghan’s place at the heart of the royal family.”

"Meghan’s mum is seen standing next to her daughter and beaming with pride after a wedding that ripped up the rule book,” Larcombe continued. “Even the Queen seems uncharacteristically relaxed as she and the 96-year-old Duke of Edinburgh are joined by three generations of their family.”

Larcombe also shared that where everyone is placed in the portrait is significant. Prince William and Duchess Kate, for example, were moved over to the bride's side so the portrait would look more even. The Duchess is also likely sitting because she gave birth just a few weeks ago.

From: Harper's BAZAAR US and Townandcountrymag.com

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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Lyndsey Matthews
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