Royal in-laws: Meghan Markle, Sarah Ferguson and more eventful first meetings

This is what happened when they were first introduced

Meeting the in-laws is a big step in any relationship, but imagine if your partner's parents and siblings were part of the royal family?

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That was the case for the likes of Zara Tindall's husband Mike and Prince Harry's wife Meghan Markle. Although many of the royals are very close to their in-laws today, take a look back at what they have said about their initial introductions…

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When Sarah Ferguson met the Queen

Although Sarah, the Duchess of York and the Queen bonded over their love of horses following Sarah's wedding to Prince Andrew in 1986, their first meeting did not go very smoothly.

According to royal author Ingrid Seward, Fergie accidentally tripped over one of the Queen's pet dogs in front of a room full of people – oops! In the Channel 5 documentary When Fergie Met the Monarchy, she said: "Sarah was invited to Sandringham for a shooting weekend because the Queen always believed that the only way her children are ever going to get to know anyone is to entertain them in one of the royal homes.

"Her own mother and father had been to Sandringham for shooting weekends and obviously they had told her what to do so she was not completely ignorant of how it was going to work, but she was very nervous.

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"When she walked into the double sitting room at Sandringham, she tripped over one of the Queen’s corgies, she spilled her drink and then in her fluster, she just thought ‘who are all these people’ so she just curtsied to everyone, because she knew that way she wasn’t making a faux pas."

When Meghan Markle met Kate Middleton

When Meghan first met her sister-in-law Kate Middleton, she offered a thoughtful birthday gift. Finding Freedom authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote: "Meghan bought a present for the duchess, who had celebrated her birthday just a day earlier. The soft leather Smythson notebook helped to break the ice, as did Meghan's cooing over then 20-month-old Charlotte."

Harry was also asked about introducing his fiancée to his brother and sister-in-law during his engagement photocall at Kensington Palace on 27 November 2017. He told the BBC: "It was exciting I mean I've – you know I'd been seeing [Meghan] for a period of time when I – literally didn't tell anybody at all. And then William was longing to meet her and so was Catherine, so you know being our neighbours we managed to get that in a couple of – well quite a few times now and Catherine has been absolutely …"

"She's been amazing," Meghan added.

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When Meghan Markle met the Queen

During the early stages of their relationship, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were driving to have lunch at the Royal Lodge in Windsor when Harry realised that they had the opportunity to meet with his grandmother, who was finishing a church service nearby. But Meghan told Oprah Winfrey during the Oprah With Megan and Harry that she didn't realise she would have to curtsy!

"There wasn't actually a huge formality the first time I met Her Majesty the Queen," she said, continuing: "He says, 'Do you know how to curtsy?' I thought genuinely that that was what happens outside.

"I thought that was part of the fanfare. I didn't think that's what happens inside. And I said, 'But it's your grandmother,' and he goes, 'It's the queen.' And that was really the first moment that the penny dropped."

When Prince Harry met Doria Ragland

Not many details are known about Prince Harry's first meeting with Meghan's mother Doria Ragland, except that it took place in Los Angeles at the home of Arthur Landon, according to Finding Freedom. The royal reportedly stayed there for the week, and the authors explained: "Harry also wanted to impress Meghan's mother when he first met her. Not with gifts, but through his words and actions."

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When Kate Middleton met the Queen

The Duchess of Cambridge's first introduction to the monarch was not as low-key as the Duchess of Sussex's – in fact, it was in front of lots of guests at Peter and Autumn Phillips' wedding in 2008, which Prince William was not able to attend. He was abroad in Kenya at the wedding of his ex-girlfriend Jecca Craig's brother, and Kate attending the royal nuptials in his place was an indication of the seriousness of their relationship.

"Well I first met her at Peter and Autumn's wedding and again it was in amongst a lot of other guests and she was very friendly," she said during the couple's joint engagement interview with the BBC in 2010.

William added: "She was very welcoming, she knew it was a big day and everything was going on with Peter and Autumn, she had wanted to meet Kate for a while, so it was very nice for her to come over and say hello, we had a little chat and got on very well."

When Countess Sophie met the Queen

Prince Edward's wife the Countess of Wessex reportedly took a relaxed approach to meeting the royal family – which has clearly paid off in the long term, since she now has a very close bond with Her Majesty.

The couple met in 1993 and got married in 1999, but Ingrid Seward, author of Prince Edward, that the Queen's first impression was: "You wouldn’t notice her in a crowd."

Ingrid added that this wasn't necessarily a negative thing, explaining: "After the egregiousness of her daughters-in-law, Diana and Sarah, Sophie’s sensible and low-key approach to the situation was to be welcomed and the Queen gradually warmed to her.

"If she had wished, the Queen could have terminated the affair, or t least made it very difficult to continue by making it clear to Prince Edward that she would not welcome Sophie in any of her royal homes.

"That she did not is a measure of her approval and Sophie became more assimilated into Edward’s way of life."

When Mike Tindall met Princess Anne

Mike Tindall had a gradual introduction to his future wife Zara's family. "We'd go on a Friday night to watch the match and stop over at Zara's," he told the Sunday Times Magazine

"Sometimes we'd all go out for lunch with Zara's mum on Sunday before we went home. We spent quite a bit of time with her dad too. Prince Harry would often be round watching the rugby, so, slowly and quietly, we got to meet them all – and that's how it went on for quite a few years."

The two sets of parents also had a very smooth meeting. "Mum and Dad met Princess Anne early on," he added. "And it was incredibly relaxed. Zara was living in a little two-bed flat in Nailsworth, so it wasn't exactly grandiose."

READ: Mike Tindall talks renewing wedding vows with wife Zara

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