As the countdown to her royal wedding continues, Meghan Markle drew closer to being part of the royal firm Monday when she joined Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the royal family in a first official joint engagement at Westminster Abbey.
Prince Harry's American fiancée, wearing a creamy white coat by Amanda Wakeley over a dark dress, accompanied Harry and her soon-to-be in-laws, including Prince William and Duchess Kate of Cambridge, to the all-important Commonwealth Day service, an annual inter-faith gathering broadcast live to celebrate the queen's lifetime commitment to the Commonwealth.
It was part of Markle's on-going preparation for joining the royal firm, which has included multiple engagements on the "meet Meghan" trail and an appearance, with the queen, at the royal family's annual Christmas service at Sandringham.
Now she's been seen with the queen and the family in her first official joint engagement, as part of the Commonwealth pageant.
The Commonwealth — made up of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people from the old British Empire — is hugely important to the queen, whose leadership has kept it going and strengthened it since she became queen in 1952.
It will be just as important to Will and Harry's father, Prince Charles the Prince of Wales, when he succeeds her as monarch and as head of the Commonwealth: he has already taken over significant aspects of her role since the 91-year-old queen began cutting back on international travel some years ago.
Markle was wearing a long creamy white coat fastened only at the waist with a small round beret-style hat in creamy white perched on the side of her head. Duchess Kate, who is due to give birth to her third child next month, was in an all-navy blue coat and dress by Beulah London with a matching wide-brimmed hat (hats are de rigeur for royals at important church services). Both wore dark suede spike heels on the cobblestones outside the abbey.
The queen wore a wine-colored coat and matching hat, along with a large diamond brooch. Also at the service were Charles and his wife, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Andrew Duke of York, Princess Anne the Princess Royal, and the queen's daughter-in-law, Sophie Countess of Wessex.
After the service, the young royals, including Markle, met with school children in the Dean's yard before attending a reception.