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The Priceless Birthday Gift the Queen Could Give Meghan Markle

A weekend getaway—and some words of advice—may be in store.

Meghan Markle will be celebrating her 38th birthday on August 4th and, according to royal insiders, Queen Elizabeth plans on giving the Duchess of Sussex a very special gift to commemorate the occasion. Meghan and Prince Harry—along with baby Archie—are reportedly planning to spend her birthday weekend at Balmoral Castle, the Queen's favorite retreat.

Royal expert Phil Dampier told The Sun that he expects the Queen to spend some quality time alone with Meghan during the family holiday to talk about how the duchess could best navigate the tricky terrain of royal life.

Dampier told the newspaper, "This might be a good opportunity to have, not an assessment of [Meghan], but a quiet chat away from the madding crowds as to how she thinks it is going. I think in quiet moments and quiet walks up by the river, the Queen might have a few words of advice for her."

He added, "I'm sure there must be things where she perhaps thinks things could be done better, so I'm sure she would give her some advice, especially if she asks for it."

As I reported in July, Meghan seemed to have broken the all-important royal rule of "never complain, never explain" when she and Harry attended the European premiere of Disney's live-action The Lion King. On they red carpet, they chatted with Pharrell Williams, who effusively praised the couple, telling them their union was "significant for so many of us," before adding, "We cheer you guys on."

In response, Meghan seemingly referred to the recent criticism she's received in the British press saying, "Oh, thank you. They don't make it easy," a comment that was caught on video.

At the time, a Palace insider told me the remark raised some eyebrows. "The Queen likely thought the duchess had settled into royal life because she did so beautifully in those first months after the wedding, but she has reason for concern given the events of these recent weeks," my source said.

Now that Meghan and the Queen will have some time together, my insider surmises the Queen may offer her own words of wisdom and encouragement while everyone is gathered at Balmoral. "Her Majesty is quite fond of Meghan," said the royal insider. "She has gone out of her way in making sure the duchess was welcomed into the family and has been impressed by her work ethic. She also realizes the intensity of the spotlight that goes along with being part of the royal family brings new challenges to the duchess."

The source added, "Her Majesty is not there to criticize, but she can certainly advise. The most valuable birthday gift the Queen could give Meghan is her sound advice gained from living her entire adult life in the royal fishbowl. The Queen wants her to succeed."

Of course, there is another reason the Queen may choose to step in before things escalate. "The memories of Princess Diana still linger," the insider noted. "No one wants that to happen again." And for more Diana secrets, here are 23 Facts About Princess Diana Only Her Closest Friends Knew.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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