Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton: Queen’s plan to put Kate back in spotlight

Who thinks a morning out with their grandmother-in-law sounds like fun? Most 92-year-olds need sit downs and cups of tea and regular reminders the Korean War is over. However, if your name is Kate Middleton, the answer is a resounding YES.

Yesterday, Kate went for a spin with the Queen in Her Maj’s Bentley to London’s King’s College. Wearing an appropriately bland grey outfit she demurely walked several paces behind Gan Gan (as Prince George is said to call Lizzie) and looked quite chuffed at the outing to open a new building.

Read more: Six photos that confirm Meghan Markle’s due date

Kate’s apparent level of excitement at this royal jaunt might seem highly questionable — all that standing around and nodding politely when you could be at home in your trackies catching up on MAFS?

Nope, this moment was actually a huge deal.

media_cameraThe Queen and Kate on their first official engagement. Picture: Paul Grover — WPA Pool/Getty Images

An official outing with the Queen is the height of regal approval and Kate has waited eight years to get her first official jaunt with the monarch. (They have attended unofficial events together and Kate has been a third wheel during outings with Lizzie and Prince Philip in the past.)

Here’s the rub: Meghan Markle got a highly coveted official event alongside the Queen (i.e. just the two gals) less than a month after her wedding in May last year. Ouch.

Not only that, Meghan got to spend the night on the royal train, a treat that Princes Wills and Harry and Kate have never enjoyed. (Let’s all take a moment to imagine what Meghan and our 92-year-old monarch discussed as they ate their Coronation chicken on a jolting carriage t hurtling through the English countryside.)

So, I’ll say it again: Ouch.

media_cameraMeghan and the Queen after their ladies train trip together. Picture: AFP PHOTO / POOL / Peter Byrne

Meghan has dominated headlines in the past six months — from her highly successful tour (with Harry) to Australia and the Pacific, announcing her pregnancy and finally, that doozy of a baby shower that cost more than a Sydney apartment and involved Amal Clooney, private jets and a celebrity harpist.

Right now, when it comes to royal coverage, Meghan is getting top billing because she is giving a riveting, if not exactly note perfect, performance. She is driven, passionate about making a difference, playing by her own rules and the girl knows how to make a Jimmy Choo heel sing.

Which is why yesterday’s university jaunt was so interesting.

The royal family does nothing in a public sense ‘just because’. Every utterance, every comma in a press release, and every official foray past the Palace gates is choreographed and calibrated to perfection.

So, after eight years, why has Her Maj chosen this particular moment in time to so publicly demonstrate her approval of Kate and her vast collection of appropriate tights? To make sure that it is the future Queen who gets, at least for one day, to enjoy the gushing headlines and cheerful platitudes and all around adoration?

(The Queen even shared her favourite blanket with the Duchess, with the duo photographed tucked under the one vivid blue comforter as they zipped back to Buckingham Palace.)

media_cameraThe Queen and Kate sharing a nanna knee rug in the back of her Bentley. Picture: Neil Mockford/GC Images

The message here seems crystal clear: Liz is reasserting her granddaughter-in-law’s place in the line of succession.

There is only one woman who will inherit one’s vast collection of rainbow coats and the keys to the crown jewels — and that woman is Kate.

Daniela Elser is a royal expert and freelance writer. Continue the conversation @DanielaElser

Originally published as Queen sends message to Meghan

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