Many of us grow up daydreaming about our weddings, casting ourselves as princesses, experiencing just a taste of our own fairytales. When John and Frances Canning got engaged, they hoped their wedding day would translate into their idea of a romantic fantasy.
But reality had other plans in store for the couple. Although their guest list was locked, on the day of their wedding, there was one person whose surprise appearance left them both reeling…
In 2012, John and Frances Canning of Great Manchester, England, were knee deep in wedding plans. Between picking vendors and preparing for a honeymoon in Italy, all while balancing their careers, the couple had no room for distractions.
Wedding preparations in full swing, they worked away, scratching task after task off their to-do list. The sweethearts toiled over which quintessentially British location would be the perfect place for celebrating their nuptials.
At last, all the details came together when they managed to book the historic Manchester Town Hall. Securing such a grand venue, John and Frances could rest assured their wedding day would be unforgettable.
That is until the venue called with a slight hiccup. Despite the fact that they had booked the venue well in advance, it had been double booked! Confused, John and Frances wondered who could be so important to pull rank…
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Imagine their surprise when they learned it was none other than the Queen! Her Majesty was in town for her Diamond Jubilee celebrations. She had a packed schedule hosting various luncheons and making appearances throughout the Commonwealth.
John and Frances couldn’t believe their luck! They tossed around the possibility of catching a glimpse of the Queen. John, a self-admitted royal fanboy, sent a letter of invitation to Buckingham Palace. “I’ve never ever written a letter to anyone, for any reason,” he said.
“I put in my letter that I hoped she would have a lovely day in Manchester, all the very best on the Jubilee and if you’ve got any spare minutes, we’re only next door.” John didn’t put much stock in receiving a response. His letter had been sort of a joke in any case.
But a response did arrive! In standard practice, the note was written by a lady in waiting. The Queen receives boat loads of letters, so her answering them personally would be impossible. The letter thanked them for their kind invitation and wished them the best on their big day.
Sadly, the letter ended with her regrets. The Queen wouldn’t be able to make it to their ceremony. She had three other engagements as part of her tour that day, so her presence at the wedding wouldn’t be possible.
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But John and Frances were giddy to just receive a response! Having sent the letter with little hope of it being seen, they didn’t bat an eye at her majesty’s polite refusal. Together they put it out of their minds and refocused on their wedding plans.
Finally, the big day arrived! Holding the Queen’s event at the same venue made for a frenzied scene. All the wedding guests had to be checked by security. Thousands of royal admirers, gathered for the Queen, oohed and ahhed at Frances’ bridal debut.
Following the wedding ceremony, the newlyweds took a brief moment away from their guests to share a private word. But a man from the town hall approached them and pulled John aside; he had some incredible news.
The Queen — and to their bewilderment Prince Phillip, too — had come to greet them. Smiling warmly, they shook hands and extended congratulations. Frances recalled, “I was so surprised I knocked something over. She looked at me and asked if I was okay.”
Her majesty stayed for more than a handshake to boot! She posed with the bride and groom for some one-of-kind wedding pictures, even calling them by their first names. The Cannings were delighted by the thoughtful, precious gift from the royal family.
For John, the highlight was swapping some solitary words with Prince Phillip while their wives posed for pictures. John described him as “a charming fella.” He beamed, reflecting on the unique predicament they’d found themselves in.
John and Frances couldn’t help but grin. Two working class people like themselves felt so far removed from the prestigious world of the royal family. They’d never forget the Queen’s gracious gesture. Frances recounted, “It was surreal; I couldn’t believe it.”
Frances went on, “If we can have half as many happy days together as the Queen and Prince Philip then we will be blessed.” Fair point. In November 2017, the Queen and Prince celebrated 71 years of marriage. Definition of couple goals!
Prince Philip and the Queen Elizabeth’s relationship has weathered many storms. But the same can’t be said for other royal couples. Strangely, in 1992, three of her children, Anne, Charles, and Andrew, all publicly split from their spouses.
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Though the next generation of royals has restored some of the faith in a romantic fairytale. The marriages of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry with Megan Markle have progressed the royal image. The younger monarchs are perceived as fresh and authentic.
With the electric buzz surrounding the recent royal weddings, popularity for the family has increased across the board. The press picked up on the story of Queen wedding crashing immediately. The public is happy to see the monarchs adopting a more progressive, relatable image, and Meghan Markle’s path to the crown is proof of just that.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Meghan was surrounded by showbiz from a young age. After school, she’d hang out with her dad, Thomas Markle Sr., on the set of Married… With Children where he was the lighting director and director of photography.
Most evenings she spent on a bustling film set, but by day, her nose was to the grind at a textbook Catholic school: all girls, uniforms, the whole nine. But there, a somewhat nerdy Meghan found a true passion she’d develop for years…
Meghan’s school made the students tackle the dreaded skill of fourth graders everywhere: cursive writing. Though it’s fallen by the wayside in today’s education system, Meghan showed a knack for cursive and calligraphy in general.
Over the years, Meghan perfected her loopy penmanship. In fact, her writing was so skillful, she used it as an income source. In her spare time between acting jobs, she worked freelance, designing handwritten invitations for celebrities.
From a young age, Meghan was encouraged to speak her mind. After seeing a commercial by Procter & Gamble with the sexist tagline “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans,” she took action with her best weapon: a pen.
With letters in hand addressed to Procter & Gamble, Hillary Clinton, lawyer Gloria Allred, and journalist Linda Ellerbee, Meghan marched to the mailbox. She didn’t have to wait long, because 1 month later, the company swapped “women” out for “people.” Her effective stand against sexist language led to her being featured on Nick News.
That tenacious spirit never left, either. When it came time to declare a major at Northwestern University, Meghan split her time between her two biggest interests: theater and international relations. It’s almost as if she was planning on being a royal from the start!
One of her first credits as an actress was on the popular game show Deal Or No Deal. Meghan was a “suitcase girl” and her job required unveiling which amount of money the contestant had lost out on by opening her case.
Meghan’s record shows her commitment to service, so her charitable nature isn’t just a show. After graduation, she spent time as an intern in the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires. Despite how tempting a career in politics was, her heart belonged to acting.
Meghan scored her biggest role to date as Rachel Zane on the USA Network drama Suits. Not only was she a lead, but she truly connected with the character, a smart, unapologetic, go-getter.
Show writers took inspiration from Meghan’s personality and incorporated it into the show. A self-proclaimed “foodie,” of both the cooking and tasting variety, Meghan’s keen palate and love for all exotic cuisine are shared by her character Rachel Zane.
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Overnight, Meghan was launched into superstardom after accepting Prince Harry’s marriage proposal. Granted, she was in the public eye thanks to her starring role on the show Suits, but few knew her by her legal name — Rachel. Her full name is Rachel Meghan Markle.
Simmering tasty concoctions and doctoring up bland recipes was always one of Meghan’s favorite pastimes. Farm-to-table lifestyles and traditional recipes from around the globe stirred an idea to the surface. In 2018, she published her first cookbook, Together: Our Community Cookbook.
Now To Love
But this cookbook wasn’t just your grandma’s special ziti. The Duchess spent time gathering recipes and cooking with the Hubb Community Kitchen, a vastly diverse group of local women who cooked for their community members affected by the Grenfell Tower fires in London.
Since she’s royalty, her cookbook faced high expectations. Meghan delivered a unique, heartfelt collection. Each recipe in the book came from all over the globe: North Africa, the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean regions, and all across Europe. Even sweeter, all the proceeds went to charity.
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Public service had been a bone-deep motivator for Meghan for years before entering the royal atmosphere. Back in 2014, as a counselor for the international charity One Young World, she spoke at a summit about gender equality and modern day slavery.
One Young World / Flickr
Her charitable career picked up steam, and Meghan flourished in service. In 2016, she was named as an ambassador for World Vision Canada, traveled to Rwanda for a clean water initiative, and advocated for women’s rights.
World Vision Canada
The Duchess’ enjoys eclectic fare when it comes to music. She admitted her tastes lean more towards indie groups. A few of her favorites last year were Janelle Monáe, the Crystal Fighters, and Maggie Rogers.
Meghan Markle / Instagram
In the peak of Suits popularity, Meghan was offered an opportunity to dabble as a fashion designer. The show filmed in Toronto, and a Canadian retailer, Reitmans, reached out to Meghan to bring a facelift to their brand. She collaborated on two collections in 2015 and 2016.
Curtis Redel / Flickr
Fans before her royalty days followed Meghan’s popular lifestyle blog The Tig. Though she’s since moved on to other endeavors, the site covered everything from beauty, food, and travel, to feminism and general positivity.
During downtime between takes, Meghan and her fellow Suits cast mates had a surprisingly normal ritual. They all got deeply invested in playing board games, mostly Apples to Apples. A glass of scotch or three later, the gang frequently found themselves giggling and shuffling cards into the wee hours.
No matter how packed her schedule, Meghan has always prioritized fitness. Her workout of choice would be a combo of yoga and running. Still, she’s not picky. Any activity enjoyed in the fresh outdoor air suits her just fine.
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A few years before she married Prince Harry, Meghan had a starstruck moment with everyone’s favorite human. At an LA dog shelter, leaning down to pet a pair of irresistible doggies, Meghan got a jolt when none other than Ellen Degeneres suggested she adopt both pets. So, of course, she had to!
Meghan Markle / Instagram
With royalty comes massive perks like befriending the rich and famous. Meghan and tennis legend Serena Williams became fast friends after recognizing the drive to surpass people’s expectations in each other. Both women share a deep love of traveling and joke about their addiction to hot sauce.
After getting hitched, Prince Harry and the newfound Duchess of Sussex made a somewhat amusing, yet embarrassing realization. It appears that they are cousins. Well, their family trees intersect way back in the 15th century. Still, the royal intermarrying jokes are bound to haunt them forever.
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Copycatting her royal look is pretty easy. When asked about her makeup routine, Meghan said she keeps things simple. Her go-to products are the classics: Nars blush, and Dior mascara.
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Somewhere in the middle of her seemingly endless schedule, Meghan squeezed in some incredible trips around the globe. Behind the wheel of a camper van, she took in the sites of New Zealand, pedaled her bike through Vietnam, and sailed the coast of Croatia.
Fascination with the royal love stories goes back centuries, but Meghan marked a new era. Not only is she the first American tie to the throne, but the first biracial woman, too.
The world was crushin’ hard on Miss Markle — the Google search results don’t lie. Meghan was the most googled woman in both 2016 and 2018.
In her engagement photos, Meghan Markle wore a stunning gown that was almost totally sheer. Unfortunately, the royal family must adhere to a strict and conservative style of dress, so while see-through might work on the runway, it doesn’t make the cut for the Queen.
That’s right, the Duchess of Sussex won’t be allowed to play everyone’s favorite rainy-day board game! Why? Because the Queen forbids it, claiming that the game is just “too vicious.”
The Queen happens to think it’s unladylike to expose bare legs. But take heart: Meghan can still wear dresses and skirts that show her legs; she just has to wear nude stockings with them.
As a prominent TV actress, Meghan was no doubt used to signing autographs for fans, but that stops now. Members of the royal family are not allowed to sign autographs in case someone tries to forge their signatures elsewhere…
However, there is a loophole. If a fan asks for her signature, what Meghan can do is write a brief message or write just her first name. It’s nice to see that even the royals make accommodations where they can.
Recently, a couple spotted Meghan and asked her to pose with them for a selfie. She had to decline, saying, “The Crown does not allow me to do so.” It’s clear that the House of Windsor knows that no matter the angle, selfies just aren’t that flattering.
In fact, if you’re seeking out official photos of Meghan and Harry, you’ll have to look to the Palace. It alone is allowed to release photographs of her now that she is a member of the family.
The royal family takes its image very seriously. That’s why all of its members are denied social media accounts. They work very hard to manage their public perception and they can’t have the Queen inviting people to play Farmville!
Unsurprisingly, etiquette is a huge part of being a royal. Now that she’s hitched, Meghan isn’t allowed to cross one leg over the other. Women in the family must keep their legs pressed together, or, if they’re feeling sassy, they’ve been known to cross their ankles from time to time.
Although technically not illegal, according to Parliament, it is unconstitutional for a member of the royal family to vote in elections. Furthermore, Meghan cannot speak publicly about politics—even in the United States.
Newlyweds are usually all about the PDA, and while it isn’t technically forbidden, the Queen herself has a serious stance against too much physical affection in public. It’s hands-off for Harry and Meghan when they are out and about now!
When attending parties or other events where the Queen is present, it is considered bad form to leave before the Queen, no matter how tired (or bored) you might be. Here’s hoping the Queen is a big fan of a reasonable bedtime.
Being a member of the royal family is a full-time job. As a result, Meghan had to give up her burgeoning career in Hollywood and dedicate herself to her greatest role yet: being a Duchess.
Believe it or not, wearing nail polish that is not nude or light pink is considered extremely tacky by the royal family. There’s no rule against having crazy pedicures, though! That’s got to count for something.
That’s right—the royal family wants its young boys in shorts 100 percent of the time. This isn’t just because it’s more adorable (though it is); rather, it’s because wearing pants is considered too “suburban.”
There is a decidedly “royal” way to drink hot beverages and it involves careful finger placement on the drinking vessel. Also, if Meghan happens to be wearing lipstick, she must put her lips on the same spot on the cup every time!
Being a royal now means Meghan is at the center of a lot of attention. To protect her, she must travel at all times with a security detail, even if she’s just walking the dog or taking a jog.
The rule applies even when she’s doing something like going shopping! On these trips, Meghan will have to be accompanied solely by an all-female security detail. Surely they won’t mind going on a shopping spree with a royal, will they?
This should come as no surprise, but the former Ms. Markle had to shut down her blog, “The Tig,” once Harry put a ring on it. The Royals take their privacy and their image seriously, and a blog by a royal is out of the question.
Given that she isn’t allowed to show her bare legs, it should come as no surprise to learn that modest hemlines are now all that is acceptable. If it cuts above the knee, it’s too racy for royal life, be it skirts or shorts.