Trooping the Colour is sort of a big deal. It happens every year, to officially celebrate the Queen's birthday (her actual birthday is April 21) and involves a huge military parade (think Beefeaters in bearskin hats). The Queen formally inspects her troops, before the royal family gather on the infamous balcony of Buckingham Palace, to watch the RAF flypast. This means there was plenty of scope to see how the royal family interacts with each other. So what is Prince Charles' relationship with Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle really like?
This year, Trooping the Colour was on June 9, and it was Meghan's first ever one. It was a sunny day to celebrate the Queen turning 92, and several senior royals arriving by carriage gave me a great opportunity to see Kate and Meghan both looking gorgeous. Meghan wore a pale pink, off-the-shoulder Carolina Herrera dress with a Philip Treacy hat, breaking royal protocol with the off-the-shoulder, short sleeved design: she was the only royal to do so on the day, and neither Kate not Princess Diana ever wore a short sleeve dress to any Trooping the Colour, according to People. Kate wore a light blue Alexander McQueen and a fascinator by Juliette Botterill.
Prince Charles and Prince William were on horseback during the procession, before joining the rest of the family on the balcony. Once they were up there, Prince Charles stood in the front row flanked by Kate and the Queen — and adorable Prince George and Princess Charlotte — but turned at times towards Meghan.
"Technically, Charles would be standing in the front row on the balcony, alongside the Queen and close to Kate and William, and that is where he finally placed himself once the ceremony began," body language expert Judi James tells me. "But it is clear from these photos that he seemed drawn towards his youngest son and his new wife when it came to having a chat and a laugh."
At one point, Prince Charles turns to Meghan and appears to be having a conversation with her, as she laughs, and Kate on her other side smiles. Both women look animated and engaged, even as Kate tends to Princess Charlotte. Meghan brings a hand to her face as she laughs, a possible sign she is genuinely amused and in the moment. "Meghan uses some great flattering body language signals to boost the ego of the people she's talking or listening to, and the smile and raised hand here does seem to be putting Charles into raconteur mode," James says.
It has previously been reported that Meghan has helped foster better relations with Prince Charles and Harry, describing her father-in-law as "welcoming, warm, hard-working, kind and stable," according to Harper's Bazaar, suggesting to Harry that he should appreciate all his father has done. Charles may be thrilled with Meghan for helping his relationship with his son, and presumably likes and respects his daughter-in-law, as these photos would suggest. Indeed, James says, "his posture here is a signature look when he's making people laugh, suggesting he really enjoys the fun company of the newlyweds."
It seems that for now at least, Prince Harry and Meghan are the ones making the Prince of Wales laugh. "There's clearly strong bonds of affection between Charles and Kate, but Harry and his wife do seem to bring out the heir to the throne's more playful side," James says.
I'm certainly going to be watching closely at future royal family events to see if this dynamic continues. Can you tell I am completely and utterly obsessed with our royal family?