LONDON — Prince Harry’s fiance Meghan Markle will appear for the first time at an official event with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, highlighting the royal family’s welcome of its newest member just two months before their wedding.
The two will be joined by other members of the monarchy, including Markle’s soon-to-be brother and sister in-law, Prince William and Catherine, to celebrate Commonwealth Day at London’s Westminster Abbey.
The queen is the head of the Commonwealth, a group of 53 nations around the world that are largely former British territories. There will be around 2,000 people at the inter-faith gathering, including Prime Minister Theresa May and singer Liam Payne.
While this is Markle’s first time at an event together with the queen, she has had a busy few months since her engagement to Prince Harry in November. The former “Suits” star has had a preview of her future role as a royal with the two meeting organizations and the public in Nottingham, Edinburgh, London and Birmingham.
“She is already effectively being treated as a full-blown member of the royal family, even if she hasn’t married Prince Harry yet,” Roya Nikkhah, royal correspondent for The Sunday Times newspaper, told NBC News. “I think that gives you an indication of just how warmly she has been welcomed into the fold, but also effectively she is living as a member of the royal family.”
Known in the local press as the “Fab Four,” Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William and Catherine will meet with schoolchildren after the service.
At the end of last month, the four appeared on stage together for the first time at an event promoting the Royal Foundation, set up to coordinate the princes’ charitable activities. Markle spoke about how women need to feel empowered to make their voices heard.
Prince Harry, who is fifth-in-line to the throne, will marry Markle on May 19 at Windsor’s St. George’s Chapel, a 15th century church on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Around 1,200 members of the general public will be included in the wedding, which will feature a carriage ride around the town after the nuptials so they can greet the public.
Since her engagement to Prince Harry, Markle has been embraced by the British public. With a more casual manner than many of her fellow royals, she eagerly meets and hugs people during her engagements, an unusual gesture for royals in public.