Why Meghan Markle's Solo Outing with Queen Elizabeth Is So Special (Exclusive)

Royal expert Katie Nicholl tells ET the Duchess of Sussex should feel 'incredibly privileged' to have been personally invited to Thursday's events by Her Majesty.

Meghan Markle's first solo outing with Queen Elizabeth II is one that will forever be remembered.

The Duchess of Sussex accompanied Her Majesty to three royal engagements in Cheshire, England, on Thursday, and judging from the pics, it appears the two have become instant royal besties.

But there's so much more to their newfound friendship than meets the eye -- and royal expert Katie Nicholl is breaking it all down for ET!

"I think today's engagements, this was the first away day for the queen and Meghan together, signaled just how warmly Meghan has been welcomed into the royal fam," Nicholl said, when asked what makes their latest outing so special. "It's unprecedented, actually, for the queen to take such a new member of the royal family on the royal train."

"She didn't do that for Kate [Middleton]," she continued. "They traveled on a regular train, albeit in first class, when the queen took Kate on her first away day, and Kate had to wait nine months before the queen invited her away. So, Meghan has been taken away within her first month of being married, aboard the royal train, and I think you only needed to look at their body language and the warmth between the two of them to see just how warmly embraced Meghan has been by the queen."

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Nicholl says that the former Suits star should actually feel "incredibly privileged" for the opportunity.

"I'm told by palace sources that it was the queen who personally invited Meghan to Chester today," Nicholl explained. "Meghan should feel very privileged because this is the queen extending an arm of friendship, but not just that. She is tutoring Meghan. She is mentoring Meghan. The queen, who has reigned over the U.K. and the commonwealth for 66 years, is making the time in her very busy schedule to say to Meghan, 'OK, I'm going to show you, personally, the royal ropes. I'm going to take you away for the day and show you how this works.'"

"What was so fascinating about being in Chester today and watching Meghan and the queen was, I noticed a very different Meghan to the Meghan I've seen on engagements with Prince Harry," she added. "This Meghan was, I would say, a little more nervous. Certainly intent on not putting a foot wrong, and she spent all of her time watching the queen, watching what the queen was doing and taking her lead from the queen. It was a very, very important day for Meghan, and to be tutored firsthand by Her Majesty was a great honor for Meghan indeed."

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A source echoed those sentiments, telling ET earlier on Thursday that the newlywed was "a bit nervous" ahead of the outing. 

"She] took her lead from the queen, and was supported by the queen's longtime assistant private secretary, Samantha Cohen, who has just been moved over to run Meghan and Harry's office," the source said. "She couldn't have been in more capable hands. Meghan could be seen turning to Cohen for guidance during the day as she did her most important engagement yet."

Hear more highlights from their fun-filled day in the video below!


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