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Buckingham Palace Balcony: Reason Duke and Duchess of Sussex Are Standing in the Back

Updated on June 14, 2019
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks is an online writer who writes about the royal family.

People all over the world have seen the famous Buckingham Palace balcony where select members of the British royal family stand on special occasions. There are some rules about who gets invited and where they are required to stand.

Not all members of the royal family get invited to stand on the famous balcony for every event. It depends on the celebration, and the group is tailored to each occasion. There is a definite order for where members should stand which changes with each event.

Photos of the royal family on the iconic Buckingham Palace balcony have not been identical over the years. More people have become part of the invited group. For instance, Prince William's family has grown and it takes up a lot of space. Duchess Meghan is now part of the royal family and is included along with her husband Prince Harry. Their newborn, Archie Harrison, was not on the balcony with his parents, but he will be there next year. Prince Louis made his balcony debut this year.

Famous Buckingham Palace
Famous Buckingham Palace | Source

Why Duke and Duchess Were on the Third Row

It was rumored on social media that the Duchess of Sussex was snubbed and put in the back to keep her away from the Duchess of Cambridge. That was not the case at all.

Since Prince William is second in line to the throne, he and his family were close by the monarch. Also, there were lots of children in the royal family who were on the front row so they could see the planes. Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan had no problem with where they were standing. The public shouldn't have a problem with it either.

Who Stands Where?

There is a pecking order. Of course, Queen Elizabeth usually stands in the center of the balcony wearing bright colors so she can be seen. If Prince Philip is present, he stands next to her dressed in his military clothes. If it is after a wedding, the newlyweds stand in the center, but the Queen stands on the front row. The first and second in line to the throne with their family are also on the front row. In recent years, Prince Philip has been absent from the balcony several times because of illness.

Sometimes Prince Charles and his wife are on the left and Prince William and his growing family are on the right. It doesn't matter as long as they are on the front row grouped around Queen Elizabeth since they are the first and second in line to the throne. Children are always near the Queen on the front row so they can see and be seen.

Occasions for Buckingham Palace Balcony Appearances

The most recent occasion for the royal family to be on the balcony was on Saturday, June 8 at the Trooping the Colour annual celebration of Queen Elizabeth's 93rd birthday. Her official birthday was on April 21. She has a private celebration with her family at that time. Trooping the Colour is always held on a Saturday in June when the weather is better and more people can attend.

Queen Elizabeth inspects her troops. Then her family rides in carriages back to Buckingham Palace where they make their appearance on Buckingham Palace balcony. This year 42 members stood on the balcony. Trooping the Colour is the largest event for that number of people to be invited. The group has grown over the years. Usually, there are about 30 family members.

Origin of the Balcony Tradition

Queen Victoria started the tradition with the opening celebrations of the Great Exhibition in 1851. She was the first monarch to appear on the balcony as a way to greet her subjects.

Seven years later in 1858, her family went out onto the balcony to acknowledge the crowds who had gathered for the wedding of her daughter Princess Victoria. Since the tradition of newlyweds kissing on the balcony began, it has happened only three times.

  1. Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer were the first to kiss for the crowds on July 29, 1981.
  2. Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson were seen kissing after their wedding on July 23, 1986.
  3. Prince William and Duchess Kate kissed twice as the crowds cheered wildly for the newlyweds to do so on April 29, 2011.


A much smaller group appeared on the balcony for Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee in 1977. Only nine family members were present when she marked her 25 years on the throne. Those present included her husband, their four children, and her mother, sister, and cousin. For her Golden Jubilee in 2002 to mark her 50 years on the throne, a larger crowd appeared. They were the monarch's children along with their spouses and their offsprings.

Just five people appeared on the balcony for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee to celebrate her 60 years on the throne in 2012. At the time, Prince Philip was in the hospital. Therefore the list included Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry. Since there were so few, all of them took center stage.

Prince Harry hasn't been on the first row since then. In the most recent balcony scene, he and his wife were on row three. They were among 42 people even with Prince Philip being absent.


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    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      16 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Miebakagh Fiberesima, there is a protocol for where the royal family members stand on the Buckingham Palace balcony. They do not stand anywhere they want to. I explained it as clearly as I could in the article. There is a rule where people should stand.

      I wrote the article because some people on social media said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were snubbed for having to stand in the back, They were where they were supposed to be. I hope this helps.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      16 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      I could not understand what is being said here.

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      I’d tea served after the balcony people enter the Palace ??

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      16 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello, revmjm, thanks for sharing this royal tradition. I enjoy the story. Have a nice weekend.


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