What's the difference between a cable television actress and a member of England's royal family? A quick comparison of Meghan Markle's trip to Ireland back in 2013 and her most recent jaunt—her first official royal visit abroad—will tell you everything you need to know.
First, let’s go back to 2013, when Markle was just an all-American girl with a gig on Suits and a thirst for beer. The actress dropped by Dublin to accept the Bram Stoker Entertainment Award from Trinity College, and during her trip she also gave Irish entertainment show Xposé an interview that almost certainly would not pass Kensington Palace's rigorous vetting.
For the interview, producers asked Markle if she knew how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, and then challenged her to a “pint-off.”
“Let’s give it a shot!” she said, sounding girlishly enthusiastic. (The British accent she's suddenly taken up? Nope, wasn't present then.) Like a commoner, Markle exercised extreme concentration while she drew from the tap—an activity we're not sure Queen Elizabeth would approve of.
Beer tapping aside, Markle opened up about her Irish descent, too. “My dad’s side of the family is Irish. So, my first time here and it’s really thrilling. Sad I cant be here longer but I’ll have to come back,” she said. Speaking about her 2011 film, Horrible Bosses, she also called co-star Colin Farrell “the sweetest” and and confirmed he’s “not too hard on the eyes.” Oh, Meghan! If only your 2013 self knew what the future holds.
Of course, none of this would go down anymore. The royals are notoriously tight-lipped about their personal lives, and really only deliver family news via Kensington Palace’s official communications team. For a surprise trip to Ireland before their wedding in March, Harry and Markle reportedly dropped by a pub for some food (she ate stew) and half a pint of beer. No video footage of Markle pouring her own brew this time.
On Tuesday, Markle and Prince Harry touched down in Dublin for a posh, two-day romp through Ireland, where the couple will be meeting with locals and soaking in the Irish culture. As expected, this visit offers quite the sharp contrast to her first. Markle stepped out onto the tarmac in a conservative green Givenchy dress that honored Irish culture and proved that indeed, she's a California girl no more.
From afar, the look screams buttoned-up and posh. Her suede, pointed-toe pumps were a neutral camel tone, and her classic, albeit, slightly boring top-handle Strathberry tote was just that. Last time she stopped by Ireland, her hair was brushed down and she wore jeans, and rather than being greeted by the production crew of Ireland's version of E! News, this time she was welcomed by Ireland's Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar.
The most obvious difference aside from the fashion boils down to etiquette. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but Markle probably won't be pouring her own pints again. Tuesday evening, Harry and Markle dropped by Dublin's British Embassy to raise a glass. Rather than ask for another round of Guinness, she and her beau glamorously sipped from delicate glasses of champagne.
While Harry greeted rugby athletes at the embassy, Markle took a cue from Kate Middleton and became one with the locals while sending a soft message in her Emilia Wickstead dress. She said hello to writer and academic Sinead Burke, an Irish activist who has used her voice to fight for people with disabilities. Burke is three-and-a-half-feet tall, and Markle graciously kneeled down to greet her. This time, there was no mention of Hollywood heartthrobs like Colin Firth.
The activities continued on Wednesday when she and Harry paid a visit to Ireland President Michael D. Higgins. For the occasion, she wore a gray Roland Mouret dress with black Sarah Flint pumps. Rather than head to say, another pub, she spent her morning awkwardly ringing a bell and then greeting the Irish First Family's dogs. Fun, we guess?
Her day continued in subtle fashion once she switched into a Givenchy suit with the same Sarah Flint shoes (which she also wore in the grass) for a visit with young athletes and a stop at Trinity College to look at ... books. Yep, things are definitely different this time around.
Markle is still finding her footing in the British monarchy, but so far, equipped with a British accent and all, she's well on her way to success.