According to Richard Kay, Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Meghan Markle, met the Queen for tea at Buckingham Palace last Thursday. Or as Kay put it:
The Ford Galaxy with blacked out windows was discreetly waved through the gates of Buckingham Palace and cruised to a halt at the Queen’s private entrance. Out stepped Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Harry, I understand, was introducing his American actress girlfriend to the Queen. They were there for tea.
The meeting was purposefully kept informal to discourage gossip from Palace staff. Harry and Meghan were reportedly received by the Queen in her private sitting room on the first floor and the meeting lasted nearly an hour. The Duke of Edinburgh wasn’t home – he is currently at Sandringham, though he and the Queen only returned from Balmoral early last week.
Unfortunately we don’t know what the Queen thought of Miss Markle, but that’s not really surprising given we don’t know what the Queen thinks about really anything. We have heard, however, that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are big fans. According to Kay, Charles was “very impressed” after meeting her and Camilla has referred to her as “a very nice girl and very pleasant.”
There’s been speculation for months now about when Meghan had or would meet the Queen, so it’s good to get a fairly reliable nod that that box has been checked. I don’t remember when it was reported that Meghan met with Charles and Camilla, but at this point I had basically taken that for granted.
As for what this means about a possible engagement, well, it doesn’t really change things too much. All signs point to “imminent,” as they have for a while now. The Queen signing off is certainly a part of that, but it was never really in jeopardy. The Duchess of Cambridge, for example, first met the Queen in the spring of 2008 and she didn’t become engaged until the autumn of 2010 – in other words, this has no bearing on timing. And so we keep waiting!
In the meantime, though, let’s all take a moment to contemplate the reality of “meeting the grandmother” and having it be, well, tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. I’m getting stressed just thinking about it.