When Meghan Markle vowed to take Prince Harry as her husband “from this day forward” on May 19, 2018, she wasn’t just agreeing to be his wife, but was also accepting a royal position and title, the Duchess of Sussex, which was bestowed upon her by the queen.
The couple’s wedding ceremony was charming, elegant, and yet somehow also simple. For many fans of the royal family, it was a day anxiously awaited. We’d finally learn what dress Meghan picked, just who would be in attendance — among many other details. The royal couple’s big day was, for many of us, the culmination of their whirlwind romance. While our excitement may have peaked at the pronouncement of “husband and wife,” for Meghan, her life as a royal was just beginning.
On August 27, 2018, the Duchess of Sussex hit a significant milestone: her first 100 days in the royal family. How did it go? Let’s see.
Her first royal engagement was a success
We didn’t have to wait long to see Harry and Meghan again after their televised wedding. A mere three days later, the brand new royal couple attended Prince Charles’ seventieth birthday celebration. This wasn’t just a family event, though. In addition to hosting a garden party to celebrate the day of his birth, the event was also designed to celebrate “the Patronages, charities and Military affiliations The Prince supports, as well as the emergency service personnel,” an official statement from Kensington Palace read. This also means that the celebration was Meghan’s very first royal engagement — and she killed it.
Dressed in a pale pink knee-length dress with sheer sleeves and a quintessentially British Philip Treacy hat, Meghan looked every bit the part of duchess beside her husband, the Duke of Sussex. Many took to social media to commend the couple writing comments like “gorgeous couple!” and “she is so beautiful.” True, true.
She still made time for a secret honeymoon
Although Harry and Meghan stayed in London for a little bit after their wedding, a honeymoon was in the works. Although a variety of news outlets reported on probable destinations, royal expert Omid Scobie told Elle, “The honeymoon destination has changed a few times since they started planning. If a location leaks prior to travel, it compromises their safety on the trip, and they’ll be advised by their protection team to change plans.”
Scobie further explained that, according to what he’d heard, the royal couple hadn’t even booked their honeymoon by May 24 — five days after they’d married. Even still, by May 30, Harry and Meghan were on their honeymoon, according to ABC News. While the royal family has remained mum about where the couple spent their trip, royal contributor Roya Nikkhah believes they spent at least some of the time in Africa, possibly in Namibia. Others think they went to Canada. Regardless, it’s a pretty incredible feat for such a high-profile couple to be able to sneak away unnoticed.
She caused some waves during the Queen's birthday celebration
Meghan may have looked like a seasoned duchess at her first royal engagement, but her first Trooping of the Colour, which is the Queen’s summer birthday celebration, didn’t go quite as well. “Traditionally, the Trooping the Colour events is seen as a more formal day event,” Myka Meier, royal etiquette expert and founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette explained to People. Typically, women in attendance wear “closed-toe shoes, stockings, hats and dresses or skirts with a modest hemline and with sleeves,” according to the expert.
Instead of playing it safe with conservative attire, Meghan wore an off-the-shoulder blush dress. It may not sound like a huge deal, but when every other adult member of the royal family was wearing either three-quarter length sleeves or long sleeves, Meghan’s outfit stood out in stark contrast. Because there’s no official Trooping of the Colour dress code in place for royals, she didn’t exactly break protocol. Still, you have to wonder if she’ll choose something more subdued for the 2019 event.
Meghan and the Queen are basically BFFs now
Not even a month had passed after Harry and Meghan’s wedding before the Duchess of Sussex was invited on a notable first: a solo engagement with the Queen. This timeframe seems especially fast given that Kate Middleton’s first one-on-one event with her grandmother-in-law came nearly a year after marrying Prince William. Meghan may not have had much time to prepare, but it’s obvious from media coverage that she knocked this one out of the park.
Together, they even boarded the royal train (yes, that’s a thing) and made the outing an overnight trip — talk about nerve-racking. According to ABC’s Good Morning America, the solo trip provided an opportunity for the Queen to “show Meghan the ropes of royal life and public engagements.” As the train isn’t used much by younger members of the royal family, royal correspondent Victoria Murphy told the outlet that it was “a real treat for Meghan.”
The Royal Ascot was an important test
The Royal Ascot is a big to-do within the royal family. According to royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams, it’s Queen Elizabeth’s “favourite week of the year.” Needless to say, the pressure to be well-dressed and well-behaved is only intensified at this event. Exactly one month from the day of her wedding, Meghan made her royal entrance to the event via a horse-drawn carriage, looking stunning, of course.
Unlike the Trooping of the Colour, the five-day horse race has a defined dress code. Women must wear dresses or skirts that fall at or below the knee, their shoulders must be covered, and they also must wear a hat. While Meghan’s lengthy and collared three-quarter sleeved dress fit the requirements perfectly, there was one little thing missing: her name badge.
Per the Royal Ascot’s terms and conditions: “Members and their guests must wear badges.” Good Housekeeping says this rule also applies to royals, with the exception of of Prince Philip and the Queen. Perhaps not wanting to put a hole in her dress, royal expert Marlene Koenig speculated, Meghan made the decision to carry hers in hand instead. We hear that.
Uh-oh, she forgot to do "the Duchess Slant"
As June 2018 drew to a close, the Duchess of Sussex rounded out her busy month by attending the Queen’s Young Leaders Awards at Buckingham Palace alongside her husband and the Queen herself. Meghan’s modest-length pink Givenchy dress was perfect for the occasion, but it didn’t prevent a faux pas from occurring. In a video shared on Instagram, Meghan can be seen taking a seat beside her husband just before — wait for it — crossing her legs. Gasp! Are you wondering why this matters?
Royal etiquette expert Myka Meier informed People, saying that one of the “biggest etiquette mistakes a lady can make” is to cross her legs at the knee. The better alternative, according to Meier, is to sit with knees and ankles together and, instead of crossing at the knee, crossing at the ankle. This is referred to in the etiquette world as “the Duchess Slant.”
Although Meghan has been pictured sitting “properly” in the past, it seems the royal pose simply slipped her mind at the Young Leaders event.
She earned more royal responsibilities
From an outsider’s perspective, it may seem like being a royal is all fun and games, but that’s not to say being a member of the royal family is without responsibilities. Since becoming a duchess, Meghan has been earning her stripes — and her obligations.
In April 2018, when Harry and Meghan were engaged, Queen Elizabeth became the patron of a new youth charity, “which will provide a platform for young change-makers across the Commonwealth in areas such as education, sport, health and the environment,” according to an official statement from the royal family. It was also announced at that time that Harry would become the president of the organization.
When speaking at the Commonwealth Youth Forum in London (via E! News), he made known that Meghan “will be joining [him] in this work, of which she too is hugely excited to take part in.” As the Duchess of Sussex has been attending Young Leaders events with Harry over the summer, it seems they do indeed share this royal responsibility.
She wasn't chosen as Prince Louis' godmother — but that's okay
Ahead of Prince Louis’ christening — and even his birth — many were wondering if Harry and Meghan would be appointed godparents. Though, it didn’t seem likely. Jessica Bridge of the British-based betting company Ladbrokes told Express that she thought it to be “near impossible” for William and Kate Middleton to choose “anyone other than close friends and aides, as they did with George and Charlotte’s godparents.” She added, saying, “Although Meghan is drastically increasing her duties and responsibilities as a Royal, it seems unlikely she will be called upon to be a godparent.”
When Louis was christened, People named who the parents of three decided to pick. Surprisingly, they did select one family member in addition to close friends, but, as expected, Harry and Meghan did not make the list. It didn’t appear that either party was disappointed, however, as the two attended the religious ceremony and posed for formal photographs after the young prince’s baptism.
She traveled in style during her first international trip
Just a month and a half after Harry and Meghan’s wedding, the couple boarded a plane to Ireland, marking Meghan’s first international trip as a royal. Together, the pair met Ireland’s taoiseach, or prime minister, Leo Varadkar as well as attended a litany of other events and meet-and-greets. Although her first royal international trip lasted just two short days, Meghan packed her suitcase full of at least four outfits — one of which was a chic black pantsuit. While it may have been an unusual choice for a royal, being clad in black was appropriate as she and Harry made their way to pay their respects at the famine memorial in Dublin.
Throughout the duration of the trip, Meghan was well-received by well-wishers. The Irish Examiner noted two young girls who brought Irish flags and handwritten postcards for the Duchess of Sussex. “She said hello and asked us what our names are,” 10-year-old Sophie told the publication, “She’s really nice.”
She got a chance to bond with her sister-in-law
The Ladies’ Single Final at the Wimbledon Championships in mid-July 2018 provided Meghan and Kate the rare opportunity to go out alone. With no husbands and no kids in sight, the two sisters-in-law were all smiles when sitting in the royal box and cheering on players Angelique Kerber and Meghan’s personal close friend, Serena Williams.
According to People, the women also got a chance to meet up with former female tennis champs and were able to chat with “ball girls and boys” to learn the ins and outs of playing in a Wimbledon Championship. With ear-to-ear grins, Meghan and Kate definitely appeared to be fans of the sport, which is no surprise. After all, Meghan and Harry’s first public appearance was at the Invictus Games opening ceremony and Kate has apparently been attending matches since she was young. “It is such a quintessential part of English summer,” People quoted Kate as saying about the 2017 tournament. At least if these two don’t have much else in common, there will always be tennis.
She shared a rare PDA with her prince
Since their wedding, there haven’t been too many public displays of affection shared between Harry and Meghan. That is, until the end of July 2018. After Harry and his team won the Sentebale Charity Polo Cup, Meghan celebrated her husband’s win by giving him a quick smooch on the lips.
Harry’s teammate, Nacho Figueras, told reporters (via Hello!) that Meghan had fun watching the game alongside his wife, which he said was “wonderful because she could learn more about the game.” Figueras added that both Harry and Meghan looked very happy.
During Kate Middleton’s first 100 days as a duchess in 2011, she, too, got to celebrate her husband’s charity polo win with a kiss. Though, their PDA was resigned to more of a conservative peck on the cheek and a hand on the shoulder. You can’t blame Meghan for wanting a real smooch with her hubs though, can you?
It hasn't been all smooth sailing (and it could get worse)
Minus a few minor slip-ups in Meghan’s first 100 days as a royal, it would appear things have been going rather well. Behind the scenes, though, Meghan has been enduring a fallout with her father, Thomas Markle. Since shortly before her wedding when it became public knowledge that he would not be walking his daughter down the aisle, Thomas has been talking about the duchess to various news and media outlets. The drama came to a head after Meghan’s father admitted he staged paparazzi photos after being interviewed by Good Morning Britain in June 2018, in which he said he felt like a “footnote in one of the greatest moments in history.” By mid July, Thomas had told The Sun (via TMZ) that he still hadn’t spoken to his daughter. Talk about intense.
Along with family drama, the Queen’s former spokesman, Dickie Arbiter, told The Sun that Meghan’s responsibilities will only increase and she’ll have to pass the “the litmus test” during the royal tour in October 2018. “It will be a real baptism of fire,” he said. We’ve got your back, Megs.
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