While her wide-brimmed hat was already partially shielding her face, eagle-eyed viewers noticed that a thick yellow church candle blocked the 41-year-old Duchess of Sussex’s face almost entirely at times during the broadcast, the New York Post reported.
One of these moments came when Markle and her husband Prince Harry, 38, were singing a hymn while standing in the second row behind King Charles III, Queen Consort Camilla, and other senior members of the royal family, including Princess Anne’s very tall spouse, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence.
Prince Harry’s older brother, Prince William, was in the front row with his wife Kate Middleton and their two eldest children, 9-year-old Prince George and 7-year-old Princess Charlotte. The royal brothers were noticeably separated by a church aisle.
The Duchess of Sussex stood alongside her husband Prince Harry during the service for Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, but many noticed that she was hard to spot due to the positioning of a singular burning candle.https://t.co/IHGNesFjHP
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) September 19, 2022
The moment immediately went viral on social media and led to speculation that Markle’s seat in the pews was an intentional snub.
“Have they strategically placed a candle to block Meghan’s face?” another tweeted.
“That candle protecting Meghan from prying eyes who wanna judge everything she does,” a third person quipped.
“I think the spot was chosen to make Harry and Meghan incredibly difficult to see,” one Twitter user suggested. “The one camera shot that’s high and close enough to view them has a massive a– candle in the middle of it that completely obscures Meghan. No way that wasn’t deliberate.”
Another commented, “Most [of] you are here to make an issue about a candle rather than having respect for those who are mourning the Queen. Get over it. Harry’s heart is broken at the loss of his nan, and no doubt Meghan’s been a [huge] comfort to him.”
I don't want to be a conspiracy theorist but that candle is totally blocking the view of Meghan pic.twitter.com/bZ5I5jKvyk
— General Boles (@GeneralBoles) September 19, 2022
According to the New York Post, some viewers have suggested that Prince Harry and Markle’s second-row seats were a deliberate indignity on the part of the funeral’s organizers amid the couple’s falling-out with the royal family following their move to California in 2020 and their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey last year. The Duke of Sussex was also denied the right to wear his military uniform to his grandmother’s funeral.
But despite the conspiracy theories, an unnamed palace source told the outlet that the seating arrangements for Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren were done by age. This was apparently the reason why the oldest of the late monarch’s grandchildren, Princess Anne’s son Peter, 44, and daughter Zara, 41, were seated in the front row despite not being working royals.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were given front-row seats during Queen Elizabeth’s committal service at St. George’s Chapel later that day. The late monarch was buried at King George VI Memorial Chapel after her state funeral and committal service.
There had also been speculations that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, allegedly subtly criticized Prince Harry and Markle while delivering his funeral sermon. “Leaders of loving service are still rarer. But in all cases, those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power, and privileges are forgotten,” he said.
But some royal fans argued that the statement could have been directed at any number of heads of state and politicians present during the funeral.