Some were predicting it, while others were not. The question over whether Meghan Markle would attend the Opening Ceremony of the Invictus Games was a widely discussed topic, with some saying she would attend, whereas others were less sure.
In the end, Meghan did turn up at the Air Canada Centre, but notably, she was sat in a different section of the stadium to her boyfriend, Prince Harry. Why was this, and what did the couple seek to achieve?
There are two issues that Meghan and Kensington Palace would have taken into account when deciding where to seat the 36-year-old actress. Firstly, as a matter of protocol, Prince Harry was working during the event as he was attending an official engagement as a working member of The Royal Family.
As Meghan is not a royal, and indeed she is not a dignitary, it wouldn’t have been deemed suitable to seat her in the ‘Royal Box’ alongside the ranks of the First Lady of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada.
Despite procedures and protocols, Meghan did receive a tax-payer funded royal protection officer who was positioned next to her during the evening. These protection officers are only ever employed to protect members of The Royal Family, the Prime Minister or other persons deemed at risk.
The fact Meghan had royal protection officer shows that although she isn’t a member of The Royal Family, she is being treated like one (in Toronto at least). Of course, this will further spur rumours that an engagement announcement will be made in the coming weeks.
Another reason why Meghan was sat far away from Prince Harry during the Opening Ceremony was that event organisers did not want to overshadow the athletes with pictures of the couple together.
Harry and Meghan have not been seen together in public before. Kensington Palace, Invictus and Prince Harry would likely be of the opinion that this event should not be the one where they are seen together in public so the media can focus on the athletes.
Of course, this hasn’t been the case, even when they did sit in separate parts of the stand. The public is interested in Harry and Meghan’s relationship; as a result, the media are interested.
For the duration of the Invictus Games right up to the Closing Ceremony, the same can be expected. The media and general public ultimately want the money shot – a picture of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle together.