We finally know why Kate wasn't a bridesmaid at Meghan and Harry's wedding

When us common folk tie the knot, we usually have our wedding parties composed of our nearest and dearest — it allows our inner control freak to round up all our friends and family, make them wear ridiculous costumes, and rehearse them like we're directing (and starring in) a high school musical.

Well, one high-profile bride who tied the knot not so long ago had a wedding in which her equally famous sister-in-law was not asked to be a member of the wedding party, and ever since then, we've been wondering why Meghan Markle didn't ask Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton to be at the very least a bridesmaid, if not her matron of honor. Meghan's own family, after all, didn't offer any likely candidates, as she's on the outs with her only half-sister.

So why was Kate merely a guest at the wedding, rather than attending the bride? Was it because you just don't ask a senior royal — especially one who outranks — to dress up in a poofy monstrosity? Or was Kate's exclusion from the wedding party the spoiler that — had we been able to interpret it — would have given us a clue that Megxit was on the way? As it turns out, the real reason why Kate wasn't included in the wedding party was just that royals do things differently than the rest of us.

Royal wedding party protocol

An expert on British and European royalty who spoke with Town & Country prior to Meghan and Harry's wedding revealed that it's not customary for royal weddings to feature grown women as bridal attendants. According to Marlene Koenig, "Most royal brides do not have adult bridesmaids. It would be unusual for a royal bride to have a woman in her late 30s as a maid or matron of honor." While Kate Middleton did have her sister Pippa serve as a bridesmaid at her wedding to Prince William, this was considered unusual. As Kate and Meghan weren't all that well-acquainted before Meghan married into the family, they didn't have the kind of relationship that would have been worth breaching protocol for.

Kate's and Meghan's granny-in-law, known to the rest of us as Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith (at least the BBC tells us this is what we should be calling her – don't you dare try shortening it to Liz!), did have a number of adult women in her own wedding party. She married Prince Phillip back in 1947, however, when Great Britain was still struggling its way out of wartime devastation. Royal weddings for the past 60 years have (with the sole exception of Pippa) featured bridal attendants no older than their early teens.

Who were the bridal attendants at Meghan and Harry's wedding?

Meghan did not have to forego bridesmaids altogether at her wedding, however — CNN reported that she had she had six of them. The oldest, at the venerable age of 7, was Meghan's goddaughter Rylan Litt. Another little Litt (and goddaughter), 6-year-old Remi, also accompanied Meghan down the aisle, as did 4-year-old Ivy Mulroney, daughter of Meghan's BFF Jessica Mulroney, 3-year-old Princess Charlotte, Prince Harry's 3-year-old goddaughter Florence van Cutsem, and the baby of the bunch — another Prince Harry goddaughter – 2-year-old Zalie Warren.

A few lucky little boys made the cut as wedding party members, too, serving as page boys. Brian and John Mulroney, Ivy's twin brothers, were the oldest at 7. Next came Harry's godson Jasper Dyer at age 6, and the youngest was the future king (and Harry's nephew) Prince George. The boys looked handsome in blue uniforms, while the girls were pretty in puffy-sleeved silk. A TV audience of millions said "aww!" at their adorableness and somehow everybody managed not to trip on the bridal train, spill their milk, puke on camera, or otherwise mess up the picture-perfect wedding.

How are Kate and Meghan post-Megxit?

While the stress of life in the royal fishbowl was famously hard on Meghan, who'd been used to a different (and far less restrictive) kind of spotlight in her career as an actress, the fact is she and Kate Middleton actually did enjoy a rather close relationship before Meghan and Harry stepped down from their role as royals. But when the two women, along with their princely hubbies, were reunited for the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in March of 2020, their post-Megxit public interaction appeared to be somewhat strained.

The Daily Mail reported that Kate, in particular, was very upset by Prince Harry's and Meghan Markle's departure for Canada, describing her as being "very sad" over how things turned out. Still, once the two couples grow used to the new situation, perhaps in time they might become closer again, even though they are geographically thousands of miles apart.