About one month after Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018, Meghan did a day-trip with Queen Elizabeth in Chester. They had a day of events and Meghan was allowed to travel on the Queen’s private train for the trip. It was big news at the time, and a major signal that the royal family was doing a lot to welcome Meghan into the fold. It’s still interesting to me to examine the timeline of *when* things began to change – it really was immediately following Harry & Meghan’s wildly successful South Pacific tour that fall, where they were greeted with adoring crowds wherever they went. And, I mean, as soon as Meghan got pregnant, it seemed like all of the palace staff went absolutely haywire. But sure, let’s go back to a simpler time, the moment when the Queen showed significant support for Meghan:
The Queen had a level of confidence in Meghan, because as a Palace source shared, “she handles these situations flawlessly because she’s always well prepared and respectful. She’s very clever and good at understanding what’s required.”
Sure enough, Meghan, in an elegant cream cape Givenchy sheath dress from her wedding gown designer, Clare Waight Keller, gave a near-flawless performance on the train trip. (Although she was criticized by the tabloids for not wearing a hat, despite the fact it was not required.)
“The Queen was wonderful, warm, and generous toward the new Duchess,” a source close to Her Majesty said. “She made sure Meghan knew what was going on and made her feel very much at home because it was her first trip.”
Indeed, before the two stepped off the train, the Queen gifted Meghan with a delicate pair of pearl-and-diamond earrings.
Meghan, an avid learner studying all she could on royal protocol, was often seen carrying binders full of research so she didn’t put a foot wrong. She took her new role incredibly seriously. That day was different, though; she was getting a royal master class in training from the Queen herself.
“They had a very warm happy day out and introduction to royal life—because the Queen has so much knowledge to pass on and Meghan is a keen student,” a source close to Meghan shared.
Despite all her careful preparation, Meghan was unsure about how to proceed when she and the Queen had to get into Her Majesty’s Bentley. She politely asked the Queen, “What is your preference?”
“You go first,” the Queen answered.
“Oh, okay,” said Meghan, who tried her hardest to get everything right—which made her father’s public display on national TV in England all the more dispiriting.
[From Finding Freedom: Harry, Meghan, and the Making of a Modern Royal Family]
What’s that, Protocol Police? Are you saying it was just the courtiers and the nasty, racist press trying to make it sound like everything Meghan did in front of the Queen was somehow “breaking protocol”? Even to this day, there are royal commentators claiming that Meghan should have been tossed out of the royal family for failing to wear a hat or holding her purse in the wrong hand or walking in front of the Queen when the Queen clearly told her to go first. HOW DARE SHE! Also, I find it hilarious that FF made that little dig about how the Queen had, at the time, never done these kinds of events with Kate.
Still, this excerpt makes me so sad. Meghan really tried, you know? She approached this like a job, she prepared, she had binders full of information, she did everything she could to be prepared. And they still smeared her and attacked her and bullied her out of the country.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red, Backgrid.
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