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The Royals

Prince Harry Takes Meghan Markle to Queen’s Scottish Hideaway: Did She Meet the Monarch?

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle nipped away from London for a short break at Queen Elizabeth’s Scottish highlands estate earlier this month.

The couple, who have been dating for more than a year, headed to the seclusion and fresh air of Balmoral, where the Queen spends her summers, shortly after Harry marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana in London on Aug. 30.

Where did they stay on the property? Royals author Ingrid Seward, who confirms that Harry took Meghan to the estate, says one possibility is Birkhall, the residence belonging to Harry’s dad Prince Charles and stepmom Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Another possibility: Tam na Ghar, a home that Harry and his brother Prince William have use of on the estate. As for the Queen’s own home, “I doubt he was staying at Balmoral, as that would be very formal,” says Seward.

The big question, of course, is whether Harry introduced his girlfriend to the Queen — a key step on the road to engagement. (Neither Harry’s office at Kensington Palace nor Buckingham Palace would comment.)

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“I don’t know if she has or hasn’t seen the Queen,” says Seward. “But about the only time she would get to see the Queen is for him to take her over there.”

An introduction to the Queen, 91, would be highly important for Meghan. Harry gets on very well with his grandmother (few other members of the family would have convinced her to agree to take part in a goofy video to promote Harry’s Invictus Games). And because he is fifth in line to the throne (sixth after William’s third baby is born!), he must ask the monarch for permission to marry.

Tam na Ghar “is a very smart house, extremely comfortable. It’s not an extreme, remote, wind-blasted Scottish house,” Seward adds.

“Harry loves it at Balmoral,” Seward notes. The royal, who celebrates his 33rd birthday on Friday, holds shooting parties there with friends  and enjoys walking in the hills.

On Thursday, Harry visited the Chatham Green Project, a conservation initiative in Essex based at the Wilderness Foundation that aims to raise environmental awareness among students.

“Being outside, do you love it? It’s great for your state of mind,” he told the students, while reminding them, “Make sure you keep really warm and pull your hoods up.”

Before he left, he met with recent graduates from the Wilderness Foundation’s TurnAround program, which targets young people ages 15-21 who struggle with family, social and personal problems. The course helps them overcome their issues through outdoor adventures and intensive mentoring.

Speaking with teens around a campfire, Harry told them, “The trouble is that you tend to bottle things up. [You say], ‘I’m the only person feeling like this, no one else knows how I am feeling.’ It’s very hard to let it go, but you must. You must let it out.”

One of the teens, also named Harry, said after, “I’m not just saying this, he was amazing. I know he was a prince, but he was so normal and easy to talk to. He understood what we were going through and kept on telling us how important it was to sharing our problems. He was really inspirational.”

Harry leaves for Toronto next week, where he is attending this year’s Invictus Games for wounded service members, and it’s thought likely that Meghan will attend at least one event during the eight days of competition.