Meghan Markle has made her mark as a truly independent woman within the royal family in the one year since she was first spotted out and about in public with her now-husband, Prince Harry. She opted to go with a Givenchy gown for her May 19 nuptials (a subtle nod to Claire Waight Keller’s history-making appointment as the first female artistic director of the French fashion house); she has been outspoken about being a feminist and broke royal protocol recently by speaking out about abortions; and her “ultra-liberal” perspective is reportedly ruffling a few feathers amongst more traditional royal circles.
On Tuesday, the former Suits star made headlines once again, this time for embarking on her first solo royal appearance, at the Royal Academy of Art in London’s Piccadilly Circle to see “Oceania,” an exhibit showcasing some 200 artifacts from New Guinea, Easter Island, Hawaii, and New Zealand.
In short video clips from her visit, it’s clear that the 37-year-old is fully at ease tackling royal duties on her own, greeting esteemed members of the museum and striding confidently up the stone steps into the building. In one clip, Meghan receives a thorough tour of the space, looking inquisitive and curious as she asks her guide questions about the artifacts she’s looking at.
It’s worth noting that though Meghan’s poise and polish hasn’t changed much over the years, her circumstances have: exactly one year ago today, the Los Angeles native was making her big public debut with Prince Harry at the Invictus Games in Toronto. There, the pair looked relaxed as they held hands and watched the sports games in front of them (when they weren’t gazing at each other).
It was also there that Meghan donned her tongue-in-cheek “Husband Shirt” from designer friend Misha Nonoo’s collection. In retrospect, all the signs were already there. Just two months later, the pair announced their engagement, and six months after that, they were wed.
Meghan and Harry, 34, are set to embark on a major royal tour next month, with stops in Australia, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga, and New Zealand. Their official visit Down Under will focus on youth leadership, environmental and conservation efforts, and will be timed to this year’s Invictus Games, held in Sydney October 20 to 27.