For Meghan Markle, every day is an opportunity to challenge age-old royal traditions. For starters, she spent Christmas with the royal family (which Kate Middleton didn’t do until she was officially the Duchess of Cambridge) and dared to wear her hair in a messy bun during a public appearance with Prince Harry. This week was a twofer: First, news broke that she was planning on giving a speech at her own wedding and, on Thursday night, gave her first-ever royal speech—months before she’s due to become an actual royal. For comparison, future sister-in-law Kate Middleton didn’t give her first royal speech until March 2012, nearly a year after marrying into the royal family.
The Suits star, who was wearing a chic Alexander McQueen pantsuit, took the stage on Monday night after walking the red carpet at the Endeavour Fund Awards at London’s Goldsmiths’ Hall with Harry. The duo were at the ceremony, which honors wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women who participate in sporting and adventure challenges, to present two of the awards. Though Markle began her remarks without a hitch, her copresenter appeared to have his cue cards mixed up, and the pair shared a sweet moment as they giggled their way through unscrambling the cards and continuing the presentation. At one point, Markle glanced up at the audience with an apologetic smile, perhaps to make eye contact with Harry, who was sitting in the front row.
Once the pair had regained their composure, before presenting Daniel Claricoates with the Celebrating Excellence Award, Markle described Claricoates’s achievements. “I’m truly privileged to be here,” she began. “Daniel acquired complex post-traumatic stress after multiple tours in Afghanistan with the Royal Marines, during which he was awarded the Military Cross. Despite his teammates’ stating that Daniel’s battle with post-traumatic stress was probably the toughest they have ever seen, Daniel joined ’65 Degrees North’ in climbing to the summits of the highest mountains in both Africa and Antarctica. Daniel now works with children, assisting them to foster their own spirit of adventure through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards Team.”
The Endeavour Fund, which supports the “recovery of wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women” and was founded in 2012, is an offshoot of the The Royal Foundation, the charitable organization established by Harry and his older brother, Prince William, in 2009. Kate Middleton joined The Royal Foundation as an equal patron in 2012, following her own royal wedding in April 2011. Unless Markle breaks with tradition yet again and speeds up the process to become a patron of the charity, it’s safe to assume that she’ll join her in-laws in supporting the organization sometime in the months following her May nuptials.