Today is Meghan Markle's 39th birthday!
The Queen's official Twitter and Instagram accounts shared a photo of the Duchess of Sussex with the monarch to mark the occasion.
The snap was taken during Meghan's first royal engagement without Prince Harry, in Cheshire, England--and could contain a subtle message of support from the Queen.
Meghan Markle turned 39 today, and as is 21st century royal custom, the Queen's social media team marked the occasion by posting a sweet photo of the Duchess and the monarch on Instagram and Twitter. The photo, taken during Meghan and the Queen's royal visit to Cheshire in June 2018, was accompanied by a simple caption: "Wishing The Duchess of Sussex a very happy birthday!" Kate Middleton and Prince William posted similarly, sharing a photo of Meghan with the almost identical caption, "Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Sussex today!" And Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles sent birthday wishes too, writing, "Happy Birthday to The Duchess of Sussex!"
What sets the Queen's message apart, however, is the photo choice--or more specifically, the event at which the photo was taken. Reports are circulating that some members of the royal family have reacted negatively to Meghan and Harry's decision to step down as senior royals (see: Kate reportedly snubbing Meghan at March's Commonwealth Service). In contrast, the Queen's post could be read as a message of support.
Meghan and the Queen's joint royal trip to Cheshire, during which they opened the Mersey Gateway Bridge and toured the Storyhouse Theatre in Chester, was a momentous one. Not only was it the Duchess and the monarch's first official engagement together, but it marked Meghan's first royal engagement without Prince Harry, and took place right after the Sussexes' royal wedding.
And it was a resounding success for Meghan, who officially joined the royal family less than a month prior. BBC reporter Kaleigh Watterson observed, "Meghan seemed like a natural in her new royal role and looked genuinely happy as she stopped to chat and shake hands with those assembled; many of them hadn't expected she would have time to speak to them and were visibly moved."
What's more, the engagement produced a series of instantly iconic photos of Meghan and the Queen, indicating the strong rapport between the two. Remember this photo of the royals getting the giggles?
How about this one?
While the decision to share a photo from the event on Meghan's birthday was likely made by a member of the Queen's social media team, rather than the woman herself, it still sends a strong message, reminding viewers of the bond between the two. A potential conclusion? The Queen is very much on Meghan and Harry's side.
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