Inside Meghan Markle's First 100 Days in the Royal Family
For most Disney princesses, the story ends with a wedding. Marrying a prince is the prize, the be-all, end-all, the culmination of their narrative. But for Meghan Markle, who once wrote about focusing "less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings," walking down the aisle was just the beginning. Over the past few months, she's started to find her footing as a royal, taking on responsibilities, researching future patronages to champion, and revolutionizing a staid, centuries old institution simply by being part of it. Below, a look back at her first 100 days as a member of the royal family.
Right after their fairytale wedding, the Sussexes attend a garden party in honor of Prince Charles's 70th birthday.
Just days after marrying Prince Harry, the newly named Duchess of Sussex hit the ground running in her royal duties by attending a garden party at Buckingham Palace in honor of her new father-in-law Prince Charles’s 70th birthday. She and Harry reportedly delayed their honeymoon to attend, confirming just how eager Meghan was to start her life as a working member of the royal family.
Harry and Meghan take a secret honeymoon.
Even now, Kensington Palace hasn’t confirmed where Prince Harry and his new bride spent their romantic post-wedding vacation. “Kensington Palace have said that the honeymoon is very much a private trip and they won’t be releasing details to the media," royal correspondent Omid Scobie told Elle.com. "The couple shared so much during the wedding and now is the time for them to enjoy some privacy. They deserve it,” he said.
But that hasn’t stopped the speculation. It’s been rumored that Harry and Meghan jetted off to everywhere from Namibia to Alberta, Canada, to Ashford Castle in Ireland. Wherever they went, they were back in the UK by June 7, when Harry attended a gala dinner at Kensington Palace in support of the charity Onside Youth Zones.
In early June, Meghan paid tribute to her new grandmother-in-law at Trooping the Color, the Queen’s annual birthday parade.
After arriving via carriage alongside Prince Harry, she made her Buckingham Palace balcony debut in a blush pink, off-the-shoulder dress by Carolina Herrera.
No, Meghan is not breaking royal protocol.
The idea that Meghan is constantly “breaking royal protocol” with everything from her wardrobe to the way she wears her hair became popular before her wedding to Prince Harry, but false narrative remains prevalent in click-baity headlines and on social media today. Critics of the Duchess employ the concept as a way point out flaws that aren't there, a tactic that sometimes comes from a rhetoric of racism. Her fans, too, use the phrase as a way to amplify how Meghan is pushing boundaries.
But as commentator Victoria Arbiter told T&C earlier this year, “When it comes to the royal world, protocol is a code of conduct. It’s etiquette; it’s custom; it has nothing to do with clothes.”
“She is very respectful of the institution, and when she’s ready to make her mark, it won’t be what she’s choosing to wear to Trooping the Colour," Arbiter continued. "It’ll be the causes she decides to support or the charities that she champions or the people she gets behind."
Meghan and the Queen visited Cheshire, marking the Duchess of Sussex’s first solo engagement with the monarch.
The pair appeared to have a lovely time together on the full day of events, which included officially opening a bridge, spending time at an arts and community center, and meeting with the public during a walkabout.
The situation with Meghan's family goes from bad to worse.
While Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle Sr. had initially intended to walk his daughter down the aisle, he had to bow out of the royal wedding ceremony for health reasons, reportedly brought on by stress after news that he staged photographs for the paparazzi got out. In the chaotic lead up to his daughter’s big day, when the public was questioning whether or not he’d be there for Meghan, he communicated almost exclusively through the American gossip publication, TMZ.
Now, unwilling to give up his 15 minutes of fame, Markle continues to speak to the press about his daughter’s private life. On June 18, he gave an interview to Good Morning Britain, the first of many. Since then, Markle Sr. has shared the contents of his private conversations with Prince Harry, speculated about Meghan’s future children, and even likened the royal family to a “cult.”
It has gotten to the point that Kensington Palace is reportedly considering an “aggressive” strategy to deal with him and his press appearances, though according to the Sunday Times, “Harry and Meghan ‘are not going to engage’ with Markle or try to ‘set the record straight.’" Other members of Meghan’s family including her half-sister Samantha Grant Markle also continue to give interviews, but Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland has remained out of sight since the wedding. She will reportedly be moving to the UK to be closer to her daughter in the coming months.
Meghan made her debut at the annual horse racing festival in a carriage alongside Prince Harry, Prince Edward, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
Royal Ascot is not only a highlight of the British social calendar, but it’s also said to be Queen Elizabeth's favorite event of the year.
The Duchess of Sussex attended the Queen’s Young Leaders award ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The annual event honors young people who are making a positive impact in their communities around the Commonwealth. In a brief speech during the reception, Harry mentioned that he was looking forward to working with the Queen's Young Leaders award winners "together with my wife Meghan."
Meghan stepped out in a bright yellow dress for the 'Your Commonwealth' Youth Challenge Reception, where she met with young people from around the Commonwealth, a group of 53 countries, many of which have historical ties to the British Empire.
Throughout her first 100 days, Meghan has shown an interest in the intergovernmental organization, and it’s likely she will focus her attention on causes related to association moving forward.
Meghan was all smiles attending the christening of her nephew Prince Louis.
She and Harry were not chosen as godparents for the young royal, as they already occupy the roles of aunt and uncle.
Just one day after Prince Louis's christening, Meghan attended a number of events in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force.
Channeling Audrey Hepburn in a bespoke Dior dress, Meghan was present at a service at Westminster Abbey and a reception with servicemen and women, and made her second appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
Meghan’s first official international visit, which was made at the request of Her Majesty's Government, kicked off on July 10 when her plane touched down in Dublin. Over the course of the two-day itinerary, Harry and Meghan visited a number of cultural attractions including a Gaelic Sports Festival and Trinity College. They also met with Michael Higgins, the President of Ireland and Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach, and attended a summer garden party at the British Ambassador's residence. As the UK prepares to exit the European Union, the royals are taking on the role of pseudo-Brexit ambassadors, and diplomatic visits like this one will become increasingly important.
Meghan makes a statement with her outfit.
For the month following her wedding, Meghan wore a rather restricted color palette of blush and beige to her public appearances, a choice that was, by all accounts, a personal one. But when she stepped off the plane in Dublin wearing a rich forest green, she followed in the footsteps of Princess Diana and Duchess Kate by sending a subtle message through her appearance. By wearing the national color of Ireland, Meghan indicated that she and Harry were there to strengthen ties. It’s highly likely she’ll continue the royal family’s tradition of sartorial diplomacy on her upcoming royal tour to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga.
Sisters-in-law Meghan and Kate ventured out to Wimbledon for their first joint outing.
The women were seen laughing and chatting as they watched Meghan’s friend Serena Williams play in the Ladies' Singles final. There is a long history of royals attending the tournament, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the two Duchesses make this an annual event.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent one morning in mid-July honoring the legacy of Nelson Mandela at a new exhibition centered around the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s life and work fighting injustice.
While there, Harry and Meghan met with Mandela's granddaughter and several other people close to the former South African president including his friend Andrew Mlangeni, who was also imprisoned at Robben Island during the campaign against apartheid.
Unlike other members of the British royal family, Meghan and Harry are never shy to show a little PDA.
That was more than clear at the Sentebale Polo Cup trophy ceremony where they kissed for the cameras. Polo player Nacho Figueras, who witnessed the moment first-hand later wrote on his Instagram, "This girl really rocks. The more I know you the more I am convinced that you both found each other to change the world. Let’s push the envelope!! Let’s make the world a better place."
Prince Harry worries there's too much hysteria over Meghan.
Interest in the royals, and in particular in the newly wedded Meghan and Harry, has reached fever pitch, and earlier this month, royal writer Katie Nicholl reported that Prince Harry is concerned over the media's obsession with their lives. "[Harry] worries there is too much hysteria around Meghan and he wants to row back a bit," a source reveals in Nicholl's story for Vanity Fair.
The couple has been out of sight in recent weeks, but that wasn’t entirely unexpected. Traditionally, August is a slow news period for the royals as the Queen takes her annual trip to Balmoral in Scotland. What will be interesting to see is if the Sussexes continue to eschew the spotlight next month as they return to a regular schedule of appearances and engagements.
This year, Meghan spent her birthday at someone else’s party.
She celebrated her 37th at the wedding of Prince Harry’s childhood friend Charlie Van Straubenzee and his bride, Daisy Jenks. The Duchess, who wore a colorblocked dress, was spotted mingling with guests outside the church including Princess Diana's niece Celia McCorquodale and her husband George Woodhouse.
Over the course of her first 100 days as a Duchess, Meghan has had a number of new experiences, but there are still many royal firsts to come. For example, she has yet to publicly announce her first patronage or to have her first solo engagement, two things to expect in the second half of 2018.
October will bring not only her first major international tour, an official visit to Australia, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga and New Zealand alongside Prince Harry, but also Princess Eugenie’s wedding, her first royal nuptials as a guest. But first, it’s back to business as usual. After a slow August, September is shaping up to be a busy month for the newlyweds. Expect to see them at a number of events over the course of the month.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.