Is it just us, or have things gone a little Freaky Friday over at Royal HQ this week? If you’re not sure what we’re referring to, let us give you a quick debrief…
Typically, you can count on official royal engagements to follow a standard formula: a meet-and-greet or ‘walkabout’ session, a visit to one of the various good and worthy causes that the royals support, maybe a speech or more informal chatting with the public followed by some cheerful photo opps and a polite departure. The Duchess of Cambridge might wear a new colourful coat dress, her husband might field questions about Prince George with brief but heart-warming answers (he loves Fireman Sam! And the Lion King! And helicopters!) and someone will ask Harry about his forthcoming stag do. Business as usual, right?
This week, though, the royals’ engagements seem to have gone a little off-piste in the most brilliant way possible. We’re not referring to any faux pas on their part, of course – as ever, they’ve been the very model of decorum – rather, we’re talking about the unexpected tangents which their latest visits have taken.
Exhibit A: the Queen’s appearance at London Fashion Week on Tuesday. In her 66 years on the throne, this marked the first time that our monarch attended a catwalk show (her sister Margaret, of course, was famously a patron of Dior back in the 1950s). Seeing HRH sat front row alongside Anna Wintour, we did a double take, assuming that the pictures flooding our feeds to be the work of brilliantly iconoclastic Instagram artist @freddiemade (who, in an equally brilliant twist, attended a Buckingham Palace celebration of Commonwealth fashion that day, hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge). We were wrong: the pictures were real, and the Queen had graced Richard Quinn’s show with her presence, bestowing the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design upon the avant-garde designer.
Just a few hours later, the ante was upped when Kensington Palace’s Instagram account posted a truly spectacular image of Prince William riding a motorbike on an otherwise low-key visit to the Triumph factory. How to describe this particular aesthetic? ‘90s boyband member finally making his comeback, perhaps, or an outtake from an M&S Blue Harbour ad campaign; it’s almost definitely the sort of thing that Liam Payne will be posting on social media in approximately 17 years’ time.
Where’s Kate been in all of this, you ask? Fear not: the Duchess joined her husband the next day for a trip to Sunderland where, in between the usual school visits and hard-hat wearing photo sessions, she was inked up with a henna tattoo, which should last a couple of days (and, to save yourself the Google session, is non-toxic and perfectly safe for pregnant women). All in a day’s work for the royals, we guess...
NOW READ: Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Relationship Timeline
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met in London in July 2016.
They were introduced by mutual friend Markus Anderson, who is the director of Soho House.
In October 2016, the Express became the first newspaper to publish news that Prince Harry had a new girlfriend.
On November 8th 2016, Kensington Palace released an unprecedented statement which referring to Markle as Harry's girlfriend for the first time.
In the statement, Prince Harry condemned the 'wave of abuse and harrassment' faced by Markle, saying that he was 'worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.'
'It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm,' the statement continued.
The couple were papped together for the first time in December 2016, shopping for a Christmas tree in London at the Pines and Needles store.
Later that week, they were seen on London's West End, catching a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
In February, Prince Harry wore a his 'n' hers bracelet on the cover of Town & Country magazine, just weeks after Markle was pictured wearing the same one on Instagram.
In March 2017, Meghan joined Prince Harry in the Caribbean for the wedding of his friend's Tom 'Skippy' Inskip and Lara Hughes-Young.
It was the first time that Markle accompanied Harry to a wedding, marking another milestone occasion for the couple.
The first public event attended by the couple was the polo at Coworth Park in May 2017.
Later in May, Markle attended the party portion of Pippa Middleton's wedding to James Middelton.
Prince Harry was seen driving her to the event after the church ceremony.
The couple made their first official public appearance in September, when Markle attended the opening of Prince Harry's Invictus Games.
Meghan wore a maroon midi dress with a pleated chiffon skirt by one of her favourite Canadian brands Aritzia.
She teamed it with a matching burgundy biker jacket by Mackage.
Although Prince Harry was sat next to First Lady Melania Trump at the event, rather than his girlfriend, she was only seated a few rows behind him.
The couple were photographed together the following day at the wheelchair tennis.
Much was made of Markle's choice of outfit: ripped jeans and a white blouse called 'The Husband'.
The couple 'broke with royal protocol' by holding hands and appearing affectionate while at the Invictus Games.
Prince Harry reportedly spent time with Meghan's mother Doria while at the Games too.
The couple indulged in some PDA at the closing ceremony.
Prince Harry was photographed kissing Meghan.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Meghan referred to Harry as her boyfriend numerous times, saying: 'We're a couple. We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people understand is that this is our time.'
In late September 2017, it was reported that Meghan had met the Queen, prompting speculation that the relationship was getting serious.
In early November 2017, it was reported that Meghan Markle was leaving Suits after seven series.
In mid-November 2017, bookies suspending betting on an impending royal engagement, as speculation grew that an announcement was about to be made.
On November 27th 2017, Prince Charles announced the engagement of his younger son Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after 15 months of dating.
The couple later appeared at a photocall, with Markle wearing a white dress coat by Canadian brand Line The Label. The website has subsequently crashed.
The engagement ring, by Cleave and Company, was reportedly designed by Prince Harry himself, using two stones that belonged to Princess Diana.
When asked by waiting photographers if the proposal was romantic, Harry joked 'of course!'