Meghan Markle's first joint public appearance with Queen Elizabeth did not go without a small royal faux pas.
The newly minted Duchess of Sussex embarked on her first royal event without husband Prince Harry, joining the Queen on an overnight trip for the opening of the River Mersey in Widnes, Cheshire, though without the guidance of her husband, the former Suits actress had a minor slip-up.
While preparing to leave, there appeared to be some confusion as to who was supposed to get into the vehicle first, with Markel interrupting the Queen when she began to get in. It has been reported that the former actress stopped the Queen just shy of entering the vehicle to ask her, "What's your preference?" though it appears that the mishap was not all Markle's fault.
"The Queen always sits behind the driver. This is just a case of habit not protocol – protocol actually says the most important person sits diagonally behind the driver – but the Queen has always preferred being directly behind whoever is driving her," etiquette expert William Hanson told the Daily Mail. "Meghan was probably not aware of this and the royal household may have forgotten to brief The Duchess of Sussex in this nuance."
The awkward incident occurred just after 10:30 a.m. after the royals arrived at the train station. Footage of the incident suggests that someone instructed Markle to get into the car before the Queen, just as the Queen took it upon herself to get in, leading to Markle asking Queen Elizabeth whether she would prefer to go in first or last.
"It was, however, a considerate gesture from the Duchess of Sussex to consider where the Queen would like to sit," Hanson said.
The event was a busy one for the two royals, with the Queen and Markle first taking part in a minute of silence to mark the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster before being greeted for the bridge opening by Halton Council officials, architects, and engineers. They then sat down to watch a seven-minute dance performance by local school children. Two of the children even gifted Markle and the Queen with posies.
"She was really calm considering it was her first official engagement with the boss. She is with the boss so no pressure," someone who attended the events said.
For the first outing without her husband, Markle wore a dress by Givenchy, the same fashion house that designed her custom wedding gown. The fitted cream-colored dress featured a cape-like feature at the shoulders and a nipped waistline. She paired the ensemble with a black belt, black high heels and a black Givenchy clutch.