Queen Authorized Harry, Meghan Jubilee Seating Snub: Tom Bower

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's seating snub at the service marking Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee in June was authorized by the queen herself, royal biographer Tom Bower recounted in a recent interview.

Speaking to GB News in connection with the release of his new book Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors, Bower told anchor Dan Wootton that the queen's direction as to where the Sussexes should sit during the national service of thanksgiving—away from Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton—was made to prevent Harry and Meghan from "diverting attention" from the event.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Jubilee Seats
Tom Bower told a British news show of an alleged interaction between Prince Harry and a St. Paul's Cathedral usher during the jubilee thanksgiving service over assigned seating. Photographed at the national service of thanksgiving, June 3, 2022. Aaron Chown/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Bower's comments come as the release of his book has been widely reported on for a number of spectacular claims about Harry and Meghan, most notable of which is that the queen told a group of her closest aides "thank goodness Meghan isn't coming" to the funeral of Prince Philip.

The author told Wootton that the monarch's impetus for stating this was because she feared that Meghan would distract from the focus of the day, which was Philip. Bower claims the same concern prompted the jubilee seating sanction.

"She didn't want to have Meghan diverting attention from her husband, and the ceremony, and knew that if Meghan had come that's what was going to happen" he said of the April 2021 funeral.

"I think that then expressed itself again in the jubilee," he continued. "I mean what was a really remarkable story I heard, was that Meghan and Harry were late to get to St Paul's Cathedral deliberately so that they could make their own grand entrance."

"As they're walking down the aisle and they get to their seats nine and ten, they say 'well everyone should move up so that we can be on the aisle itself.' 'No' says the usher," Bower explained. "'No, you're to sit [in] nine and ten.'"

"'Who told you to tell me where to sit?,'" the author claims was Harry's response.

"'Your grandmother,' says the usher."

The implication was that the queen authorized the usher to ensure that the Sussexes sat in their assigned seats.

When contacted by Newsweek, Bower stated that he had repeated information told to him by an "impeccable source."

Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

Internal footage from St. Paul's Cathedral on the day of the thanksgiving service does show members of the royal family having to move from their seats to allow Harry and Meghan to reach their positions in the middle of the row, but does not appear to show any substantial conversation between the prince and the usher.

Harry, Meghan Jubilee Service Seating
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were shown to their seats in the middle of the second row of seating for royal family members, away from Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton. June 3, 2022. Dan Kitwood/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The members of the royal family who were allotted seats towards the aisle end of the row were Harry's cousins, Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, together with their husbands.

Close in age to Harry, Beatrice and Eugenie—daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson—are reported to share friendly relationships with Harry and Meghan.

Eugenie joined Harry in February to watch the NFL Super Bowl game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams.

Eugenie has also lived for a period of time at the Sussexes' U.K. home Frogmore Cottage in Windsor Great Park with her husband Jack Brooksbank who worked as a brand ambassador for George Clooney's tequila brand, and their son August.

The Sussexes' Platinum Jubilee visit to the U.K. marked the first time that they had publicly visited Harry's home country together since stepping down as full-time working royals in 2020 and since the broadcast of their landmark interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021.

Royal watchers had hoped to see the couple interact with Prince William and Kate Middleton, with whom relations are reported to be strained and with whom Meghan has not been photographed since 2020.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle During Service
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were seated next to Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank for the national service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral. June 3, 2022. Arthur Edwards/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The only occasion where this would have been possible was the national service of thanksgiving, it being the only event the couples both attended in the public view. The fact that Harry and Meghan were seated separately to the Cambridges and entered the cathedral separately meant that any public interaction between the two couples did not take place.

Despite reports of negative feeling towards Harry and Meghan in the U.K. with a series of low popularity polling numbers, when the couple emerged from their car at St. Paul's they received cheers from the waiting crowds with a small number of boos also reported.

Bower's book has so far prompted no official comment from Buckingham Palace or Harry and Meghan though at least one claim has been questioned by a royal source close to the queen who said it was "unlikely" that the queen would have been thinking of anyone but Prince Philip at the time of his funeral, casting doubt over whether the monarch would have made the alleged comment over Meghan's attendance.

Newsweek reached out to representatives for Harry and Meghan for comment.

Update 07/25/22, 9:30 a.m. ET: This article was updated with a response from Tom Bower and Buckingham Palace.

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