See Meghan Markle Make Her Buckingham Palace Balcony Debut for Queen Elizabeth's Birthday!
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In addition to the Queen herself, Meghan was joined by new husband, Prince Harry, her in-laws, Prince William and Kate Middleton, and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte (Prince Louis stayed home during the festivities!). Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall were also in attendance.
The day began with a grand military parade, which included over 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians. Meghan and Harry shared a carriage ride, while Kate and Camilla rode in their own horse-drawn carriage as they all made their way to Buckingham Palace.
The entire royal family then gathered together on the balcony to take in the iconic fly-past by the Royal Air Force. Meghan’s first appearance on the balcony, which comes just weeks after she wed Prince Harry, is symbolic of how she has been welcomed into the royal family.
Next week, Meghan will join the Queen for their first solo outing together in Cheshire. The royal duo will travel by the Royal Train the night before their day-long engagement, which will include several appearances in Cheshire. The overnight stay on the Royal Train marks a major milestone, as only the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles use the royal ride in an official capacity.
The joint outing to Cheshire in northwest England is a “is a really positive sign of favor, encouragement and endorsement by the Queen,” Robert Lacey, historical consultant for The Crown, tells PEOPLE.
“It’s as much the Queen seeing how Meghan does events like this,” he says. “I can’t think of a more striking signal and expression of welcome into the royal family for a new recruit. It shows the Queen’s excited by it.”