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The independent move Meghan Markle made during her first solo engagement

The down-to-earth Duchess…

Fiona Ward

The Duchess of Sussex wowed royal watchers at her first solo engagement on Tuesday, stepping out to attend the opening of the Oceania exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts – but she also made a very modern move as she arrived at the event. Many were quick to notice that as she stepped out of the car, she shut her own car door behind her after warmly greeting one of her hosts, instead of leaving a member of her team to do it as per usual tradition.

Meghan closed her own car door behind her

In fact, this isn't the first time Meghan has made this independent move. On arrival at the launch of Together: Our Community Cookbook with her mother Doria Ragland earlier this month, she also closed the door of their Range Rover herself – as did Prince Harry – while a member of royal staff held the door for Doria.

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The Duchess chose a black midi gown by her favourite designer, Givenchy, for her first solo occasion – teaming it with co-ordinating heels and a box clutch. The event proved to be the perfect fit for the new royal, who will be touring Australia next month with Prince Harry. As ever, Meghan delighted the guests throughout the evening as she admired the artwork from different regions including New Zealand, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga and Australia.

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Meghan also performed a hongi - a Maori nose rubbing greeting - with several of her hosts, including New Zealand’s high commissioner Sir Jerry Mateparae and his wife Janine. Just before she left, she did the same again with performers from Ngati Ranana, the London Maori Club, who had entertained the royal party with a waiata or song. It was not, however, her first hongi. That came in April this year when she and Harry attended a dawn service on Anzac Day in London to commemorate Australian and New Zealand war dead.

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