The gang of young royals formerly known as the Fab Four—Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton—came face to face for the first time today since news broke that Harry and Meghan were moving out of Kensington Palace, kicking off weeks of damaging speculation about a feud between the Cambridges and the Sussexes.
They were among dozens of royal guests gathering for the queen’s annual pre-Christmas lunch party at Buckingham Palace, including Prince Charles and Prince Philip. Camilla Parker Bowles did not make an appearance as she had a bad cold.
Royal watchers were left intrigued after Kate, elegant in a pink Stella McCartney dress, broke with her usual eyes-front custom and, instead of remaining stony-faced, actually waved to crowds and photographers gathered at Buckingham Palace as she was driven through the gates by her husband Prince William.
Her elder children, George and Charlotte were in the car with their nanny, but it is understood Prince Louis stayed at home.
Meghan appeared relaxed and smiling in the passenger seat of Harry’s car, although Harry appeared to be scowling.
While no reports have yet emerged of if there was an encounter between the Cambridges and the Sussexes, the event will have provided a useful dress rehearsal for Christmas day next week in Sandringham.
The Queen’s pre-Christmas lunch was the scene of controversy last year after Princess Michael wore a Victorian piece of ‘blackamore’ jewelry, an Imperial-era brooch which depicted a stereotyped and racist caricature of a black person.
Her faux pas, for which she issued a groveling apology, was made all the more embarrassing by the fact it was the first time Meghan, who is biracial, had attended the lunch and met many of the royals.