Flying Solo! Every Photo from Meghan Markle's First Royal Outing on Her Own
In her second public outing of the week, Meghan headed to the Royal Academy of Art in London’s Piccadilly to see "Oceania," an exhibit featuring some 200 artifacts from Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, a huge ocean area encompassing New Guinea, Easter Island, Hawaii and New Zealand.
Meghan chose to wear a black Givenchy dress (her wedding dress designer!) with billowing sheer sleeves.
The outing comes exactly one year since she made her big debut alongside Prince Harry at the Invictus Games in Toronto, where they stepped out holding hands for the first time in public.
During the evening visit to the Royal Academy, Meghan toured artwork from New Zealand, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga and Australia — all of which she and Harry will visit in October — and met the exhibition's curators and artists, as well as descendants linked to the works displayed.
She also got a taste of the culture she will immerse herself in next month during a short performance by a Maori cultural group.
Meghan told New Zealand video artist Lisa Reihani of the exhibit, "It's so special. It's spectacular."
She said it was a perfect familiarization to the region she and Harry will be visiting next month.
"It's a great introduction to the sights and sounds of that part of the world," she added.
Many noticed that Meghan wasted no time in casually shutting the car door herself upon her arrival.
During her visit, Meghan performed a hongi - a Maori nose rubbing greeting - with several of her hosts, including New Zealand's high commissioner Sir Jerry Mateparae and his wife Janine.
It was not, however, her first hongi. That came in April this year, when she and Harry attended a dawn service on Anzac Day in London to commemorate Australian and New Zealand war dead.
When Meghan first arrived, she practiced her hongi when she was shown a large artwork by four female New Zealand women - a blue tarpaulin woven into a large cloth that symbolised a rising wave.
Artist Sarah Hudson said, "We thought it might be a nice bit of practice before she comes to the Pacific next month, and it's nice to be able to practice something that's customary for us."
"Oceania" marks the first-ever major survey of Oceanic art to be held in the United Kingdom.
The artifacts include some plundered from island tribes in the colonial era which are now part of Western museum collections.
Inside the academy's Gallery III, the Duchess joined some of the 800 guests, including artists and those loaning the exhibits, invited to attend a private function celebrating their involvement in the project.
Carmel Sepuloni, New Zealand's associate minister of arts, culture and heritage, said, "What a great honour it is to have Her Royal Highness to attend this event as her first solo duty as a member of the Royal Family."
The outing comes a day after she and Harry participated in a netball drill alongside young coaches and sporting mentors for Coach Core.
Meghan was presented with a bouquet of flowers, which she brought with her as she departed the event.
First official solo engagement? Check!