During Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding on May 19, eagle-eyed viewers noticed that there was an empty seat at the royal wedding next to Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge. Many media outlets and watchers speculated that the seat was kept empty for Princess Diana, however, it turns out that wasn’t the case. Later on Saturday, May 19, Daily Mail royals reporter Rebecca English confirmed via Twitter that Buckingham Palace said the chair was left empty for a different reason: it was for Queen Elizabeth II.
Btw – I’ve seen some reports about the spare seat by Prince William in the chapel as having being left in memory of Princess Diana. It wasn’t empty for that reason. The seat in front of the Queen is always left empty, I am told by BP
The "BP" in that tweet likely stands for Buckingham Palace, the residence of the Queen of the United Kingdom.
Another Twitter user named @theRoyalBoxBlog asked English, "Why is the seat in front of the Queen always left empty?" and English replied:
"She needs to be seen — and the seat she was sitting in today is her favourite seat in that chapel, apparently!"
Of course, Queen would get first dibs on the seating choice for her grandson’s wedding. After all, she is the Queen.
Rumors of the empty chair’s symbolism circulated throughout the morning, with many viewers getting emotional that Prince Harry made sure the seat was left open for his late mother, the Princess of Wales. As touching as that tribute would have been, it seems like the empty chair was left that way for a completely different reason.
But the late Princess Diana’s presence was definitely felt throughout the wedding ceremony of Prince Harry and Meghan, now officially titled as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. According to People, Prince Harry handpicked Meghan’s bouquet flowers from the gardens around Kensington Palace and he included Diana’s favorite flower: forget-me-nots. Another one of Diana’s favorite flowers, garden roses, were used in the display outside of St. George’s Cathedral, where the wedding took place, according to People.
Diana’s relatives were also present at the wedding. Earlier this month, Kensington Palace announced that Princess Diana’s sister Lady Jane Fellowes was set to give a reading during the ceremony at the request of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The May 4 statement from the Palace read:
All three siblings of Diana, Princess of Wales will be in attendance and Lady Jane Fellowes will give the reading. Prince Harry and Ms. Markle both feel honoured that Lady Jane will be representing her family and helping to celebrate the memory of the late Princess on the wedding day.
Diana’s siblings Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and Earl Charles Spencer were also present at the nuptials. The late Princess of Wales’ close friend Sir Elton John also attended the wedding and performed at the lunch reception. Kensington Palace issued a statement on Saturday, May 19 to confirm John’s royal wedding reception performance:
Sir Elton John has performed at the Lunchtime Reception for guests celebrating the Wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle.
Prince Harry asked Sir Elton to perform at the Reception which was hosted by Her Majesty The Queen at St George’s Hall, Windsor Castle.
Sir Elton performed for the newly married couple in recognition of the close connection he has with Prince Harry and his family
The legendary musician reportedly sang several of his classic songs, including "Tiny Dancer," "I’m Still Standing," "Your Song," and even "Circle of Life," from The Lion King soundtrack, according to the UK publication The Mirror.
Later on May 19, Prince Harry and Meghan left for the evening wedding reception at Frogmore House, according to Kensington Palace. According to People, Meghan was spotted wearing an aquamarine ring that once belonged to Princess Diana.
So while the chair may not have been a tribute to Princess Diana, her presence was definitely felt throughout the royal wedding.