Two months before she marries into the royal family, American actress Meghan Markle appeared alongside Queen Elizabeth II at an official event for the first time.
On Monday, Markle and Prince Harry attended the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey with the Queen, Prince William, Duchess Kate and other members of the royal family. Donning a cream coat, white hat and navy high heels, the actress broke protocol by attending the event prior to her nuptials. However, it’s not the first time the Queen has made an exception for her, having invited her to attend Christmas Day service and spend the holiday with the family.
“She is already effectively being treated as a full-blown member of the royal family, even if she hasn’t married Prince Harry yet,” Roya Nikkhah, royal correspondent for The Sunday Times newspaper, said. “I think that gives you an indication of just how warmly she has been welcomed into the fold, but also effectively she is living as a member of the royal family.”
The Commonwealth Service is the largest inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom and was also attended by Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex and more. This year’s theme is “Towards a Common Future,” which “emphasizes how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness.” After the service, Markle, Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with school children.
Prince Harry and Markle are set to wed at Windsor Castle on May 19 after dating for over a year. About 1,200 members of the public with be included in the wedding as it will feature a carriage ride around town following the service to allow the pair to greet the public as a married couple for the first time.