Why Prince William Didn't Ride With Meghan, Harry, and Kate at Trooping the Colour

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and Kate Middleton all rode together during the parade, but the fourth member of their carriage was Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, not Prince William.

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(Image credit: Dominic Lipinski - PA Images)

This morning, the royal family gathered to celebrate the Queen at the Trooping of the Colour, the official parade marking the monarch's birthday. The whole gang was there, including Meghan Markle, who made a surprise appearance (she's officially on maternity leave following the birth of her son, Archie Harrison, on May 6). Trooping of the Colour is a family affair, celebrating the 93-year-old Queen, so it makes sense that the Duchess of Sussex made an exception for the event, just like her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton did following the births of Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

There was one moment, however, that might have appeared odd during this family gathering: Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and Kate Middleton all rode together during the parade, but the fourth member of their carriage was Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, not Prince William.

Rumors of a feud between the Fab Four have persisted for months—they split households earlier this year with the Sussexes eventually leaving Kensington Palace to move to full-time to Frogmore cottage in Windsor and recently, reports emerged that Meghan and Harry have decided to break away from the Royal Foundation, the charity they share with Will and Kate. But today's parade wasn't proof of any kind of rift. In fact, there's a very simple reason why Prince William wasn't riding with the rest of the foursome today, and it all comes down to roles.


(Image credit: TOLGA AKMEN)

Prince William is the Colonel of the Irish Guards, a regiment in the Household Division, which means he rode horseback in full Irish Guard uniform. Alongside him rode his father, Prince Charles, the Colonel of the Welsh Guards, Princess Anne, the Colonel of the Blues and Royals, Prince Andrew, the Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, and Prince Edward, the Colonel of the Scots Guards. The Queen, who is the Head of the Armed Forces, has also ridden horseback during the parade in years past, though recently she's chosen to go the carriage route.

With their husbands and future kings on horseback, the Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Cornwall have ridden in a carriage together ever since Kate Middleton officially joined the royal family in 2011. That year they were joined by a very young-looking Prince Harry and the Duke of York for their ride. Prince Harry doesn't ride horseback as he's not a royal colonel.

Trooping The Colour - London

Camilla, Kate, and Harry at Trooping the Colour in 2011.

(Image credit: Mark Cuthbert)

So while it's sad not to see our favorite four royals hanging out together for a casual carriage ride, it all comes down to protocol. But have no fear, Meghan, Harry, Kate, and Will will all appear together on the Buckingham Palace balcony (joined by the Cambridge kids) for the Royal Army Airforce fly-past.

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Sally Holmes

Sally is the Editor in Chief of Marie Claire where she oversees coverage of all the things the Marie Claire reader wants to know about, including politics, beauty, fashion, and celebs. Holmes has been with Marie Claire for five years, overseeing all content for the brand’s website and social platforms. She joined Marie Claire from ELLE.com, where she worked for four years, first as Senior Editor running all news content and finally as Executive Editor. Before that, Sally was at NYMag.com's the Cut and graduated with an English major from Boston College.