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All it took was a kiss.
Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton finally satisfied the global press that they don’t hate each other by the simple act of sharing a double air kiss as they met at a church service on Monday.
Close analysis of a video of the meeting, in the nave of one of the great venues of royal performance, Westminster Abbey, shows that it is Kate, dressed in a red coat dress, who goes in for the kiss first, gently placing a hand on Meghan’s arm as she pecks first to the right and then the left, before Prince William follows suit (although, students of etiquette will note, he goes right then left, confirming that there is indeed no established form, even for the royals, on which side the air kiss lands first).
The greeting was in sharp contrast to the last time the two duchesses met in public, at a party last week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Prince Charles’ investiture as Prince of Wales.
At that event, they seemed to keep their distance, and appeared to deliberately avoid talking to or greeting each other on camera.
Their apparent standoffishness led to a swath of negative headlines, including analysis by body-language experts who said that Meghan’s behavior gave tell-tale signs that she was being excluded from the inner circle of royalty.
There were no such slip-ups at Monday’s service, and, whether the kiss of greeting was spontaneous or planned, the important thing is that it looked like a moment of genuine warmth.
If the kiss was not intended for public consumption, it should have been. The positive headlines resulting from the simple gesture show just how easy it is for Kate and Meghan, in particular, to change the narrative around them by a few simple actions.
And actions have always spoken louder than words when it comes to the royals, which is why their public behavior is so intensely scrutinized at these events. Footage of Meghan and Charles sharing a giggle will also be cited as evidence that they do indeed have a close relationship, as has been much-touted.
Meghan wore a $12,000 ensemble to the service, including a coat dress by Victoria Beckham, while Kate opted for a recycled Catherine Walker number.
Earlier in the day, Meghan, who is eight months’ pregnant, attended an event at London’s Canada House wearing an Erdem coat with a similar price tag.