The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s story about when Meghan first met Queen Elizabeth II hasn’t changed since we first heard it, although new details keep getting added. In Harry’s memoir, he also takes a moment to describe the scene and everything around it. We’ve known that Meghan didn’t actually know she was going to meet QEII that day, that she and Harry happened to be in Windsor and they were going to Royal Lodge (Prince Andrew’s home) to have lunch with Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank. QEII unexpectedly turned up at Royal Lodge, so Meghan only had a few minutes to prepare, and Sarah Ferguson was the one to teach Meghan how to curtsy. Here are more details from Spare:
Prince Harry and Meghan, still in the early stages of their courtship, were heading to lunch at Royal Lodge when Harry, 38, “got word” that his grandmother had stopped by Royal Lodge “on her way from church back to the castle.” Harry had picked that destination for Meghan to meet Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie‘s mother, Sarah Ferguson, who resides on the property.
Initially, Meghan was excited about the opportunity to chat with the queen, telling her husband: “Fun! I love grandmas.” Harry quickly informed her that the encounter wouldn’t be an ordinary “meet the family” moment. “You’re about to meet the queen,” Harry told the former Suits star before asking if she knew how to curtsy. When Meghan “shook her head,” Ferguson, 63, gave her a quick tutorial upon their arrival at Royal Lodge. The Duchess of York “demonstrated once” and Meghan “imitated her.” Harry noted that they didn’t have time to practice more since they “couldn’t keep Granny waiting.”
When they entered the manor, Harry saw his “granny” was wearing a “brightly colored dress and matching hat,” which was vastly different from his wife’s casual getup. “I could see Meg regretting her jeans and black sweater,” the BetterUp CIO wrote in his book. “I was also regretting my shabby trousers. We didn’t plan, I wanted to tell granny, but she was busy asking about Meg’s visit.”
“We entered the large front sitting room and there she was. Granny. The monarch. Queen Elizabeth II. Standing in the middle of the room. She turned slightly. Meg went straight to her and dropped a deep, flawless curtsy.”
“It was all very pleasant,” the Duke of Sussex recalled of Meghan’s first meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in October 2016. Her Majesty wanted to ask the California native about her opinion of former President Donald Trump’s first political campaign, Harry wrote in his 2023 memoir, Spare. Meghan, for her part, thought getting into a political conversation was a “no-win game,” and seemingly changed the subject to talk about her residence in Canada. “Granny looked pleased. ‘Commonwealth. Good, fine,’” Harry writes, before noting that Elizabeth revealed her departure plans 20 minutes later.
As the queen took the Duke of York’s arm to leave the room, she apparently turned back to say goodbye to her guests. “She locked eyes with Meg, gave a wave and a warm smile. ‘Bye,’” Harry wrote.
Following the meeting, Harry penned that “everyone complimented Meg on her curtsy, ”praising how it was “so good” and “so deep” despite not having an advanced tutorial prior.
I would guess that QEII was very curious about meeting Meghan, and maybe QEII even stopped by Royal Lodge specifically because she was trying to get a glimpse of (what sounds like) her favorite grandson’s girlfriend. While the Windsors seem to loathe Americans, they seem somewhat curious about Americans too, and it was probably already big news within the family that Harry was dating a Black American actress. Liz wanted to see Meghan for herself. It was smart of Meghan to not get roped into a political conversation too.
Anyway, while I think Liz could have and should have done more to help and protect Harry and Meghan, it’s always been abundantly clear that they both adored her. So it is what it is. It’s especially crazy because they’ve always gone out of their way to be protective of QEII and then they’re accused of trashing her anyway.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images, Netflix.