Royal biography Finding Freedom has revealed surprising new details about Meghan Markle's first official encounters with the Queen and her family. The Duchess of Sussex was formally introduced to Her Majesty in 2017 in the monarch's private apartments, and according to the newly released book, the Suits star was understandably a little "nervous".
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An extract reveals: "Despite a very brief encounter with Her Majesty earlier in the year ("she and Harry literally bumped into her," a source laughed), Meghan was still nervous to meet his grandmother – it would be the first time she was sitting down with the monarch as Harry's fiancée."
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"The truth was that the sovereign was simply delighted for Harry," the book continues, while also revealing that Meghan and her stylist, Jessica Mulroney, discussed what outfit the former actress would wear for the 12 October meeting. "After reviewing dozens of ideas, they settled on a conservative pastel dress."
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Harry and Meghan made the short drive from Kensington Palace to Buckingham Palace, where they were waved in by the armed Scotland Yard police guards that man the front gates. The car drove discreetly to the side of the palace, pulling up next to the glass-covered sovereign's entrance.
Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, £13.60, Amazon
"Harry and Meghan rode the Queen's elevator – a stunning wrought-iron lift from the previous century – up to the monarch's private entrance… The inner sanctum of the Queen's private apartment was not at all what Meghan expected. Not that she really knew what to expect. Harry kissed his grandmother on both cheeks as they walked into her sitting room. Meghan knew she needed to curtsy and had practised a dozen times before that day."
The chapter goes on to reveal that the meeting took place at 5pm and ran ten minutes over the allotted one-hour time slot – "It was a good sign." Meghan was quickly put at ease as the Queen's two dorgis, Vulcan and Candy, took to her right away. "As the dogs lay at her feet and wagged their tails, Meghan was also put at ease by the Queen, as warm and loving as Harry had told her his grandmother would be. The conversation flowed naturally before Meghan had to leave."
Meghan was formally introduced to the Queen in October 2017
Finding Freedom, written by royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, also reveals the exact moment Meghan was introduced to Prince William, in November 2016 at Kensington Palace. Meanwhile, Kate was with the children at the couple's country home in Norfolk. While Meghan "prepared herself for a grilling", she needn't have worried, as William invited her in and said: "I was looking forward to meeting the girl who has put that silly grin on my brother's face."
William, Harry and Meghan sat down for tea in the heart of the Cambridges' home: the kitchen. "No fuss, no servants, just the three of them and the tea they were about to drink," the extract reads. "William made his feelings known to his brother when he shared how he was happy to see Harry smiling."
Finding Freedom was released on Wednesday 11 August. A spokesperson for the couple has previously told HELLO!: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom. This book is based on the authors' own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting."
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