Here's The Real Reason Queen Elizabeth Is Letting Harry and Meghan Plan Their Dream Wedding

It's yet another way in which Her Majesty bucks tradition.

The invitations for the royal wedding have been sent (we've been checking our mailbox every day!), the cake has been ordered (from a hipster California-turned-London baker who is making a lemon elderflower-flavored creation), and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are, no doubt, in the final stages of making myriad decisions about their impending nuptials. It's clear from Queen Elizabeth's willingness to welcome Harry's American-born bride-to-be into "The Firm"—by breaking with tradition, starting with inviting the former actress to Christmas at Sandringham, to including her in the royal family's Commonwealth Day celebration—that Her Majesty is giving her grandson a lot more freedom than other family members did when planning their wedding.

"The Queen is really leaving it to Harry and Meghan to do what they want for the wedding," one royal insider told me exclusively. "She has been very impressed by Meghan's appreciation of protocol and her willingness to step into a royal role before the wedding and is very pleased with the way in which she carries herself on official engagements. Her Majesty trusts she and Harry will make appropriate choices for their wedding."

Royal brides from Princess Diana to Kate Middleton all had varying periods of adjustment where they seemed, quite understandably, to struggle to appear confident in such a different environment. "Maybe it's her training as an actress, but Meghan already seems quite comfortable handling her royal duties. She's a natural," said the source.

And, like any grandmother, the Queen is thrilled to see her grandchildren happy.

"The Queen has seen how wonderful Prince William's marriage to Catherine [Middleton] has been for him and for the family. She wants the same for Harry after many years of uncertainty in his personal life," said the insider. "There was a period where she was concerned that Harry wasn't going to find the right woman to marry, but Meghan has had a stabilizing effect on him. The Queen sees that."

When did Her Majesty first see a change in her smitten grandson? "It was when Harry brought Meghan for tea, the Queen could tell how serious he was about her," said the source. "The Queen was impressed by her poise—and it didn't hurt that the corgis liked her so much, either."

It's a good thing Granny is pleased about the upcoming wedding, considering she's picking up the tab for the big event on May 19th. The wedding will be held at St. George's Chapel at Windsor, with a reception to follow at Frogmore House, a stately royal retreat about a mile from Windsor Castle—which also happens to be where Harry and Meghan's official engagement portraits were taken.

And for more on the impending nuptials, don't miss the 20 Things We Know About Harry and Meghan's Wedding.

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

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