(This article has been updated with new information that has been released since publication. — Ed. note)
Losing a parent at any age is a heavy burden to bear, saying goodbye to loved ones is never easy.
When you’re really just a child, it’s even more difficult to bear and impossible to understand.
For Princes William and Harry, that meant dealing with harsh realities at the tender ages of 15 and 12.
Even 20 years after Princess Diana’s passing, Prince Harry still struggled to explain the situation in a BBC interview.
“One of the hardest things for a parent to have to do is to tell your children that your other parent has died. How you deal with that, I don’t know.”
A wedding is a wonderful celebration of family, love, and life. Prince William was married years ago and had to deal with the same situation Prince Harry had to face today: celebrating one of the biggest days of his life without one of the most important people there to witness it.
Princess Diana was there in spirit, though, and her son and daughter-in-law have included her memory at almost every step of the way.
At the wedding ceremony itself, for example, the couple left a seat open for her. Had she been alive, that’s where she would have been to watch her youngest exchange vows.
The engagement ring that Prince Harry gave Meghan Markle used two diamonds from his mother’s collection, further incorporating his mother’s legacy into his current life.
Markle’s classic bouquet featured some of the princess’ favorite flowers: forget-me-nots. The prince handpicked them the day before the wedding, adding another personal touch to the nuptials — and even the name of the flower is perfect.
The happy couple was eager to involve Lady Jane Fellowes, Princess Diana’s sister, in the ceremony. They had her read from Song of Solomon at St. George’s Chapel.
Markle (and Middleton before her) also upheld another tradition Diana started. Princess Diana was the first person to leave out the word “obey” from her otherwise traditional vows, and since then, others have followed suit.
As the couple left the church, they rode in the Ascot Landau carriage, which the prince’s mother was known to use.
Each of these carefully crafted elements was a beautiful way to honor the woman who was so important not only to her sons but to the world. No doubt she’d wish the happy couple all the best.
At the time of publication, multiple sources were stating the seat had been left open to honor Diana. Since that time, other sources have stated the seat was instead requested to remain open by the Queen as to not obstruct her view. Others have questioned, if that was the case, why she didn’t just sit there herself. Supposedly, where she was seated at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding is her favorite seat in the chapel. However, during Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding, she did in fact sit in the front row. Kensington Palace has yet to confirm or deny any of these reports.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.