With just a little over a month until the royal wedding, prep work is happening, and that even includes the boring stuff. This week, Meghan Markle is visiting Chicago, reportedly to finalize her application for a visa for the United Kingdom. And if that's why she was in town, it makes sense that the trip's been pretty low key — especially since international travel before your very, very high profile wedding has to be at least a little stressful.
According to what witnesses told TMZ, Markle was spotted at the VFS Global UK Visa Application Centre on Thursday along with four bodyguards. Reportedly, she was wearing sunglasses and a White Sox hat so she could blend in a bit better, and the entire office was cleared for her when she needed to enter. The process was said to take about 10 minutes, which sounds like the real perk to becoming royal. Has anything at a visa office ever only taken 10 minutes before in history?
That doesn't mean it was a cheap visit, though. TMZ added that Markle likely paid at least $1,500 for expedited processing for the visa that required her to explain her plans to marry a citizen of the UK. Ouch.
The Chicago Tribune added that Markle flew in on Thursday and plans to stay until Sunday, according to their source, and that the Chicago Police were the ones to provide her security. And when the Tribune asked the U.S. State Department about the protections they would have offered her during her visit, they received the following statement:
The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security provides security details to certain foreign dignitaries and official guests while they are in the United States. The security we provide to these visiting dignitaries and guests is based on the level of threat they face in the United States. Extensive planning, analysis, and coordination with local, state, and other federal law enforcement is critical to ensuring that appropriate security measures are in place. We do not provide specific information about protective details.
That sounds about right. Safety and confidentiality are number one — even though the world is dying for details about what Markle's doing in the weeks leading up to her wedding to Prince Harry. Thanks to her acting career, Markle's used to being in the spotlight, but becoming a member of the royal family is a whole new ballgame, so it's good to hear that she did reportedly have security with her.
Because of that whole "marrying a prince" thing, it's easy to forget about the practicalities that inevitably come with any wedding, including a royal one, but Markle's visit just goes to show that it still has to happen. Dress shopping and picking out the dinner menu are fun, but unfortunately, there's also a lot of boring, monotonous paperwork that's involved when you decide to share your life with someone else, and when that includes a move to another continent, that paperwork probably multiplies.
There are now just a few weeks left until Markle and Harry officially tie the knot, so it'll be fun to see what other prep work they do in the meantime. On Thursday, Kensington Palace announced that they've chosen a photographer — Alexi Lubomirski, who also took their engagement photos.
Now, all we have to do is keep counting down the days until May 19... even though, for fans of the royals, it seems like the closer we get to the wedding the more impatient everyone's getting. But even though the countdown is dragging, it definitely seems like it'll be worth the wait.