The Duchess of Cambridge will likely keep a low profile in the weeks leading up to the birth of the third royal baby, who is due in April. But while the 36-year-old mom takes a backseat on royal engagements, she'll have a capable replacement: her future sister-in-law, Meghan Markle.
The Express reports that the royal-to-be and her fiancé Prince Harry might replace the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at this year's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The biannual conference will take place in London on April 16, which is just a few weeks ahead of the royal wedding.
This year's CHOGM is a big deal. Not only are roughly 52 heads of state expected to attend, but it's where the U.K. will start free-trade talks with non-EU countries ahead of Brexit.
Since Markle is marrying into the Royal Family, she'll need to have a working knowledge of the state, and the conference sounds like the perfect learning opportunity.
The Queen and Prince Charles are also expected to attend several events during the week-long conference.
"A huge amount of planning has gone into making CHOGM a success and members of the Royal Family will have a significant presence throughout the summit," a source told The Express. "Prince Harry will definitely have a role to play, and now he is engaged to Meghan Markle, CHOGM would provide the perfect opportunity for her to find out more about the Commonwealth."
In addition to attending the conference, Markle and Harry may also step in for the duke and duchess at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. The Express reports that this could be where Markle wears a tiara for the first time.
While this is very exciting, this would also go against royal protocol, which dictates "only married ladies wear tiaras." Since the royal wedding isn't until May, it seems unlikely that we'll see Markle in a tiara anytime soon, even at a state banquet.
However, the Queen has been known to make exceptions for Harry's fiancée. In December, for instance, Markle became the first fiancée to spend Christmas Eve with the Queen after Her Majesty amended her "no ring, no bring" policy. So only time will tell!
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