Meghan Markle was used to being the centre of attention long before she fell in love with Prince Harry in 2016, but she is the first to admit that the bright lights of Hollywood couldn’t prepare her for the level of fame that comes with being a member of the British Royal Family. "I think there was a misconception that because I have worked in the entertainment industry that this would be something I would be familiar with," she explained during her first interview with Harry following news of their engagement. She added: "I've never been in pop culture to that degree and lived a relatively quiet life."
Fast forward to now, and while she is flourishing in her new role as the Duchess of Sussex, it will take some time for her to familiarize herself with hundreds of years of tradition and royal protocol. Thankfully for Meghan, she has her loving husband by her side helping her every step of the way.
All eyes were on the Duchess of Sussex when she stepped out in public for the first time with the Royal Family on Christmas Day in 2017. The stylish star, who slipped into a chic winter coat by Canadian brand Sentaler for the occasion, didn't miss a beat as she walked arm in arm with her husband-to-be alongside the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. After nailing the procession and enjoying the festive service, Meghan was then faced with the intimidating task of pulling off a perfectly timed curtsy to the Queen on the steps outside St. Mary Magdalene Church. After waiting for Prince Harry to bow his head, Meghan performed a dip perfectly in sync with veteran Kate.
Proving it takes time to perfect royal protocol, Meghan looked to Harry again for guidance during her first official balcony appearance at Trooping the Colour in June. When it came time to curtsy to the Queen, the newly minted duchess was seen asking her husband "Do it now?" to which he replied, "Yes," while bowing his head.
Prince Harry is helping to ease Meghan's transition to royal life by relying heavily on their strong bond and loving relationship. Unlike Prince William and Kate and many other royal couples, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex often arrive to engagements holding hands and are spotted sharing sweet embraces (who can forget the kiss that stole the show at the Sentebale Polo Cup!). He also rests his hand on her back as a way to help guide her in hectic or unfamiliar situations. These small acts of PDA reassure Meghan and remind her that she has help should she need it.
Harry, 33, has said that while he knew from the start that Meghan would be "unbelievably good at the job part" of royal life, she would never face it alone. "We're a fantastic team," he said in his engagement interview, adding "I know that at the end of the day, she chooses me and I choose her. And therefore you know whatever we have to tackle together or individually, will always be us together as a team."
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT
From their first official engagement in Nottingham back in December 2017 to their most recent trip to Dublin, the couple's first royal tour as husband and wife, Meghan's well-being was and will continue to be Prince Harry's top priority. He is often seen asking Meghan if she's okay and checking in with her throughout engagements. The fun prince also loves to joke around to ease any nerves his wife may be feeling.
The Duke of Sussex has more than three decades of royal training under his belt and many key dates in the royal calendar pertain to traditions that align with his own personal interests. For instance, Meghan can expect to attend many military events over the coming years and will look to Harry, a former Army Captain, for his expertise. At the RAF centenary celebrations in July, the redheaded royal was spotted pointing out to Meghan some of the 100 planes taking part in the extraordinary flypast over Buckingham Palace. Like most people, royal traditions are unchartered waters for the California native, but with time, Meghan will learn from Harry the ins and outs of all royal affairs, from state banquets at the palace to Easter in Sandringham to observing Remembrance Day in November.