Meeting the family in any dating situation is a significant moment. Meeting the family when its members include the Queen of England is something else entirely.
But the Duchess of Sussex didn’t quite understand that, as she revealed in her Sunday night interview with Oprah Winfrey. The former Meghan Markle detailed the occasion when she first met Queen Elizabeth, and the spur of the moment meeting was, as she said, “the first moment the penny dropped.”
When Harry and Meghan were dating, the two were driving to have lunch at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, England, where Prince Andrew resides. As they were driving, they learned that the queen was finishing a church service nearby and would be at there as well.
“I remember Harry and I were in the car and he says, ‘OK, well my grandmother’s going to be there so you’re going to meet her. I said, ‘OK great! I loved my grandmother, I used to take care of my grandmother.’ He goes, ‘Right, do you know how to curtsy?’”
As it turns out, the duchess had no idea that family really curtsied to the queen in private.
“I thought, genuinely, that that was what happens outside. I thought that was part of the fanfare. I didn’t think that’s what happens inside. I said, “But it’s your grandmother.” He goes, “It’s the queen.”
The two quickly practiced in front of the lodge before going in to meet her.
“I practiced really quickly and we went in and I met her and apparently I did a very deep curtsy... And then we just sat there and we chatted. And it was lovely and easy and I think, ‘Thank God I hadn’t known a lot about the family thing. Thank God I didn’t research. I would have been so in my head about it.’”
The duchess told Winfrey later on in the interview that it’s important for people to understand that the royal family is just that: a family. But that there are people running the institution behind it.
“Those are two separate things and it’s important to be able to compartmentalize that,” she said, adding that the queen “has been wonderful to me.”
“She’s always been warm and inviting and really welcoming.”