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Why is Megan Markle's first royal engagement so much sooner than Kate's?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement on Monday

meghan markle
Sharnaz Shahid
Sharnaz ShahidDeputy Online Editor
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It took the Duchess of Cambridge three months to attend her first royal event following news of her engagement to Prince William. But Meghan Markle has taken a very different approach. The future royal stepped out in Nottingham on Friday - just four days after she and Prince Harry announced their happy news to the world - for her first day of public engagements. There has a great deal of speculation as to why the former Suits actress has undertaken her first royal visit so quickly - and it seems that it's simply down to the fact that Meghan is ready to throw herself into work alongside her husband-to-be Harry.

meghan markle© Photo: Getty Images

Harry and Meghan on their first joint royal engagement in Nottingham

Kate and Meghan Markle: their first public appearances with their Princes

Earlier this week, Prince Harry's spokesman, Jason Knauf, said that Meghan is really keen to get out there and meet people, and see the communities Harry has been working with. However, the US star will also be making sure she spends time over the next couple of months with her friends and family ahead of her wedding day, and she will also do some travelling. On Friday, the newly-engaged couple appeared to be in relaxed spirits as they visited the Nottingham Contemporary, displaying their love for one another by holding hands and putting their arms around each other.

kate middleton rnli 2011

Kate and William undertook their first official engagement as a couple in February 2011

What will Meghan Markle do before the royal wedding in May?

It's clear that Kate, 35, and Meghan, 36, have taken different approaches to their early public outings with their Princes. In February 2011, three months after their engagement was announced, William and Kate undertook their first official engagement as a couple, with the future Duchess cracking a bottle of champagne over a new RNLI lifeboat at Trearddur Bay in Anglesey. A palace spokesperson confirmed that the couple had asked for their first joint engagement to be on the island, where they were renting a home. They did not show their affection for one another in public, as they were at "work" and it would be "unprofessional" to hold hands as members of the royal family.

STORY: Harry and Meghan delight crowds on first joint royal engagement

Kate and Meghan will, of course, face different expectations and protocols. As the wife to the third-in-line to the throne, Kate will one day be queen, and as such will need to adhere to stricter guidelines when it comes to her public appearances. Meghan, meanwhile, will face far less scrutiny; Harry will be bumped down to sixth-in-line to the throne when William and Kate welcome their third child next year, and therefore both he and Meghan have much more freedom to carve out their own path.

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