Joining the British royal family is likely a rather daunting affair, as Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle may have found. If anyone understands the pressures of life in the public eye, though, it’s Queen Elizabeth II, and it seems that the monarch has taken it upon herself to show off a softer side when with her granddaughters-in-law. Take these 40 occasions, for instance…
40. The Queen and Kate share a giggle
It’s sometimes said that families that play together stay together. That may bode well for both the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge, then, as they seemingly couldn’t contain their giggles during one occasion in 2012. Although it’s not known exactly what the pair found funny, they were attending a sports event in a park in Nottingham, England, at the time.
39. The Queen and Kate sit front row at a fashion show
The students at England’s De Montfort University had some very important people visiting back in 2012, when the Queen and Kate attended a fashion show together at the institution. Perhaps the monarch got a taste for the catwalk at this event, too, as she would go on to make her first London Fashion Week appearance in 2018.
38. Kate greets the Queen with a kiss
When the royals attend official engagements, they are basically at work – meaning we usually only get to see them acting with the utmost professionalism. So, when Kate leaned in to greet her grandmother-in-law with a kiss on Christmas Day 2013, it reminded us all that the Queen and her clan are just people after all.
37. The Queen and Meghan share a joke
When the Queen and Meghan Markle attended their first official engagement together just weeks after the actress had married Prince Harry, the pair seemingly got on like a house on fire. Certainly, both women couldn’t contain their laughs as they attended the unveiling of the Mersey Gateway Bridge near Widnes, England, in June 2018.
36. The Queen takes Kate for tea
The Queen and Kate’s inaugural official engagement together came in March 2012, when the pair joined Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, on a visit to London’s Fortnum & Mason. And while at the upmarket retailer, the trio received hampers before joining some of the store’s staff for a tea party.
35. Kate smiles at a portrait of the Queen
It appears that the mere sight of Elizabeth II is enough to bring a smile to Kate’s face. At least, when the Duchess of Cambridge unveiled a portrait of the monarch at a 2014 reception in Wellington, New Zealand, she seemed to approve of the artwork – if her expression is anything to go by, anyway.
34. Kate curtsies to the Queen on her wedding day
While the bride is usually the most important person at her wedding, it’s a little different if you have the Queen in attendance. As a result, then, when Kate married Prince William in 2011, she paid her respects to the monarch with a quick curtsy as she left the church with her new husband.
33. Meghan joins the Queen for her first royal Christmas
When a newly engaged Meghan joined the royals for their annual Christmas celebrations in Sandringham, England, in 2017, her presence marked a break from convention. That’s because it was the first occasion on which Harry had ever been accompanied by a partner for the day. What’s more, Harry’s sister-in-law, Kate, had only begun to join in the royal festivities following her marriage to William in 2011.
32. The Queen and Kate admire her royal wedding dress
Following William and Kate’s wedding, the bride’s stunning gown went on display at Buckingham Palace. The dress was designed by Sarah Burton, who worked at the Alexander McQueen fashion house at the time; and, according to reports, the garment received the thumbs-up from the monarch, too.
31. The Queen and Kate share a moment at Princess Charlotte’s christening
Following Princess Charlotte’s christening in July 2015, the Queen was seen chatting to the Duchess of Cambridge as she transported her infant daughter. And there’s a good chance that the monarch may have recognized the pram Charlotte was in, given that she’d once used it for her own kids.
30. Kate and Meghan curtsy for the Queen
Curtseying is an important sign of respect within the British royal family. And while the rules on when and to whom to curtsy are complicated, in brief Meghan must curtsy for Kate, while both women should make the gesture towards the Queen while in her presence.
29. The Queen and Kate are amused by Charlotte and George
As a mother of four, a grandmother of eight and a great-grandmother of seven, the Queen is well versed in the antics of children. And despite her years, it appears that the youngsters in her life still make her smile, as this photograph of her proudly grinning at Prince George and Princess Charlotte proves.
28. The Queen and Kate pay their respects to the fallen
Elizabeth and Kate looked somber while dressed in black at a wreath-laying ceremony on Remembrance Sunday 2018. And the event was particularly poignant, as it took place exactly 100 years to the day after the armistice that ended the First World War.
27. The Queen and Kate bond over matching blooms
As royals, the Queen and Kate must receive gifts all the time. However, that didn’t prevent the pair from looking elated when they accepted these bright blooms from well-wishers during an engagement in Leicester, England, in 2012.
26. The Queen checks in on Kate and William at George’s christening
Kate and William looked happy to see the Queen as they arrived at George’s christening in 2013. The toddler, who was only three months old at the time, was baptized by the Archbishop of Canterbury at St. James’s Palace, with only 22 people having attended the gathering.
25. The Queen beams at Meghan at Ascot
When the Queen attended Royal Ascot in June 2018, she seemed pleased to meet her grandson Harry and his new wife, Meghan, at the racecourse. The monarch – in a rather sunny yellow ensemble – chatted to the couple just one month after their stunning wedding day.
24. The Queen and Kate catch a train
Proving that royal transport isn’t always about gilded horse-drawn carriages, the Queen, Prince Philip and Kate took a train to Leicester as part of Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee tour in 2012. The British sovereign is said to be a fan of rail travel, too.
23. The Queen demonstrates her royal wave for Meghan
Before Meghan married Harry, she had a lot to learn about royal procedure. The Duchess of Sussex could take her cues from the Queen herself when it comes to waving, though; after all, Elizabeth has had plenty of practice.
22. Kate joins the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee celebrations
In 2012 Elizabeth II celebrated 60 years on the British throne. And to mark the occasion, the royal family took to the Thames to watch a river pageant featuring 1,000 boats. Yet while the weather on the day was wet and miserable, Kate’s spirits seemingly weren’t dampened.
21. Meghan joins the Queen center stage on the palace balcony
When Meghan joined the rest of the royals at Buckingham Palace to mark the 100-year anniversary of the British Royal Air Force in 2018, you certainly couldn’t miss her. And perhaps her position right next to the Queen means that she’s been thoroughly welcomed into the family, too.
20. The Queen and Kate open the annual summer show together
In July 2011 the Duchess of Cambridge joined the Queen for Buckingham Palace’s yearly opening to the public. And there was a treat in store for visitors that season, as an exhibition at the palace featured a variety of objects from Kate and William’s wedding.
19. The Queen and Meghan meet children
While out on their first official engagement together, the Queen and Meghan were greeted by some children at Chester Town Hall in England. And the reigning monarch looked delighted to receive her bouquet from young Jack Jackson. School pupil Abigail Grimes, who was celebrating her birthday, also gave Meghan some flowers.
18. The Queen and Kate join other royals to pose in their finery
The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge looked very regal when they attended a reception for the Diplomatic Corps in 2016. For the event in Buckingham Palace, the pair were joined by their respective husbands as well as Charles and Camilla, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.
17. Meghan and the Queen arrive in style
On their way north to Runcorn, Cheshire, the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex traveled overnight on the Royal Train, which has been used by the monarchy since 1840. And during their journey, both women will have had their own bedrooms – perhaps why they looked suitably refreshed at their location.
16. The Queen can’t hide her love for Charlotte
As the Queen and Charlotte stood side by side on Buckingham Palace’s balcony during the 2016 Trooping the Colour, Elizabeth appeared to be peering at her great-granddaughter. Some royal commentators have noted the striking physical similarities between the young princess and the monarch; the pair are also said to share a passion for horses.
15. Meghan and the Queen meet young leaders
The Queen and Meghan both looked suitably splendid at the last Queen’s Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2018. The special event celebrated boys and girls from the Commonwealth who have all made real differences to the world.
14. The Queen and Kate converse at a public outing
It appeared that the Queen and Kate had a lot to chat about during their visit to Leicester in 2012. And according to the Duchess of Cambridge herself, the monarch was welcoming to her from the get-go. As she told the Press Association in 2010, “[When] I first met [the Queen], she was very friendly.”
13. The Queen and Meghan greet crowds together
Wherever the Queen goes, she draws impressive crowds. And Meghan got a taste of her grandmother-in-law’s fame when members of the public greeted her and Elizabeth on their visit to Chester. Luckily, though, the new duchess took to her duties like a duck to water. She simply followed the Queen’s lead by chatting and smiling to individuals in the crowd.
12. The Queen and Kate catch eyes across the balcony
Even though they were very much on public view, the Queen and Kate still managed to share an intimate moment on the palace balcony at 2012’s Trooping the Colour event. The pair grinned at each other warmly as they watched the traditional ceremony alongside other members of the royal family.
11. Meghan’s first balcony moment
Meghan attended her first Trooping the Colour in the weeks after her wedding to Harry. And it was the first time that the public had seen the new royal on Buckingham Palace’s famous balcony. But rather than stealing the limelight, she stood back, allowing the Queen to be the focal point on her official birthday.
10. The Queen greets baby Charlotte at her christening
The Duchess of Cambridge was all smiles as she greeted guests for Charlotte’s christening in 2015. And as Kate cradled her new daughter in her arms, the Queen approached her outside the church – with this lovely photograph capturing the resulting moment.
9. Meghan beams as Harry chats to the Queen
Rather adorably, Harry makes the Duchess of Sussex smile quite often. And at no time was this more evident than at Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank in 2018. During the occasion, Meghan was spotted grinning from ear to ear as her husband and the Queen engaged in some light-hearted conversation.
8. Kate and the Queen talk across William
William was forced to play third wheel when he joined his grandmother and wife at a carriage procession for the Diamond Jubilee in London in 2012. The two women leaned across the future monarch in order to chat with each other – practically ignoring Will’s presence on the balcony.
7. The Queen and Meghan have different reactions to an RAF flypast
When Meghan joined the rest of the royals to celebrate 100 years of the Royal Air Force, she may have been keen to soak in every moment of the momentous occasion. The Queen, however, appeared more relaxed in her approach. She smiled happily, while her granddaughter-in-law looked slightly more serious.
6. The Queen and Kate go underground
While the royals’ natural habitats include palaces and stately homes, they often venture to more mundane locations on official visits. Back in 2013, for example, the Duchess of Cambridge joined the Queen on an outing to the Baker Street Underground station in London. The engagement marked the 150th birthday of the city’s famous “Tube” public transport system, which carries five million commuters per day.
5. Meghan and the Queen meet and greet in a library
During their visit to Chester, the Queen and Meghan opened the city’s Storyhouse – a cultural hub housing a library, a cinema and a theater. And to mark the occasion, the Duchess of Sussex met people involved with the project; she also enjoyed one of her very first ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
4. The Queen and Kate attend a reception at Buckingham Palace
This picture appears to capture a rare moment of quiet between the Queen and Kate in the corridors of Buckingham Palace, with the pair chatting to each other during a reception for the dramatic arts in 2014. At the event, the two royals met stars of television and film, including Dame Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman and Joan Collins.
3. Meghan lets the Queen take the lead as they arrive in Runcorn
In her previous life as an actress, Meghan was probably used to being the center of attention. But as a duchess, she is expected to follow the Queen’s lead whenever the pair are together. As a result, when she and Elizabeth arrived in Runcorn, England, Meghan kept a good distance behind the monarch, allowing her to greet awaiting dignitaries first.
2. Meghan and the Queen visit school children
These lucky youngsters from Ash Grove Farm Nursery in Chester were seemingly on their best behavior when greeting the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex at the city’s Storyhouse. And their VIP visitors appeared impressed, too. Harry had already expressed his and Meghan’s desire to have children of their own before the announcement of her pregnancy in October 2018.
1. The Queen, Kate and Meghan find something very amusing
Not only is it clear that the Queen has healthy relationships with both Kate and Meghan, but this photo seems to show that they all get on as a threesome. Despite rumors suggesting that the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex aren’t very close, the two women nevertheless seemed happy alongside their grandmother-in-law at the Trooping the Colour in 2018.