In their tell-all new Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex reflected on the first time that Meghan met with some senior members of the royal family.
"It’s so funny if I look back at it now because now I know so much, and I’m so glad I didn’t then," Meghan said during an interview in Episode 2. "Because I could just authentically be myself without so much preparedness."
She recalled her casual first meeting with the now Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Catherine.
"Even when Will and Kate came over and I had met her for the first time, they came over for the first time, I remember I was in ripped jeans and I was barefoot," Meghan said. "I was a hugger, always been a hugger. I didn’t realize that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits. I guess I started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside. That there is a forward-facing way of being. And then you close the door and you’re like, ‘Oh great, okay, we can relax now.’ But that formality carries over on both sides. And that was surprising to me."
During her and Harry's courtship, Meghan had met the late Queen Elizabeth II by chance.
"My grandmother was the first senior member of the family that Meghan met. She had no idea what it all consisted of. So, it was a bit of a shock to the system for her," Harry explained in the show.
"I mean, it’s surreal. There wasn’t like some big moment of, ‘Now, you’re gonna meet my grandmother.’ I didn’t know I was gonna meet her until moments before," Meghan added. "We were in the car and we were going to Royal Lodge for lunch, and he was like, ‘Oh, my grandmother is here! She’s gonna be here after church.’ We were in the car, driving and he’s like, ‘You know how to curtsy, right?’ And I just thought it was a joke."
On their cultural differences, Harry said, " How do you explain that to people? How do you explain that you bow to your grandmother? And that you would need to curtsy, especially to an American. That’s weird."
Nonetheless, Meghan ultimately met and curtsied to the queen. "It was so intense," she said. "When she left, [Princess] Eugenie, Jack [Brooksbank], and Fergie [the Duchess of York] say, ‘You did great.’ Thanks? I didn’t know what I was doing."
The duke recalls other royal family members having an overall positive first impression of Meghan.
"I remember my family first meeting her and being incredibly impressed. Some of them didn’t quite know what to do with themselves," he said. He also joked, "They were surprised. Maybe surprised that a ginger could land such a beautiful woman and such an intelligent woman."
Still, Meghan's occupation at the time might have kept them from taking the relationship more seriously, Harry suggested. "But, the fact that I was dating an American actress was probably what clouded their judgement more than anything else in the beginning. ‘Oh she’s an American actress, this won’t last,’" he said.
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