Queen Elizabeth seems to be taking extra care to welcome Meghan Markle to the royal family, and the gestures haven’t stopped since the royal wedding to Prince Harry. As we learned last week, she’s her grandkids’ #1 fan, even keeping a photo of the young couple on her Buckingham Palace side table.
It’s not just for show though—her affection is turning quickly into action. The queen and Markle will step out on June 14 together for a joint royal visit, and it’s a bigger deal than what meets the eye.
One only need to take a quick scroll through Kensington Palace’s official Instagram to notice how rarely Queen Elizabeth steps out with only one of her grandkids for royal business. Typically, a whole gaggle of other royals are in tow. We can’t even find a photo of the queen and her granddaughter-in-law Kate Middleton out together without the presence of Prince Philip or Camilla or Princes Harry or William on the same visit.
So what makes Meghan different?
“The queen knows the potential pitfalls of not giving [new members] a guiding hand,” Ingrid Seward, author of the Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip biography My Husband & I, told People. “It’s all about the monarchy. She can’t expect Meghan to know everything without being shown.”
Markle will have a lot of time to learn. In order to get to their visit—which will take place in Chester—she and Queen Elizabeth will have to travel 165 miles together. Overnight. By train.
In typically royal fashion, it’s not just any train though. The two soon-to-be besties will travel via the nine-carriage multi-million dollar royal train, which is only available to the queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and Camilla.
Vanity Fair reports that as best anyone knows, Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Prince Harry haven’t even been on the train before.
Playing favorites, Elizabeth?