Did you see this? The UK Sun’s cover story on Friday ahead of Pippa Middleton’s wedding? Meghan Markle was photographed last week in London leaving a spa in gym gear and this became the storyline:

Prince Harry would have been well aware of it. And the scrutiny surrounding Meghan’s anticipated appearance at the wedding, marking their first official society wedding together as a couple. And then Meghan, who was expected at church on Saturday, never showed. Coincidence or conspiracy?

As mentioned in the previous post, the biggest story about Pippa’s wedding, the royal-adjacent wedding, was Meghan Markle and the possibility that we would, for the first time, see Meghan with Harry and William and Catherine. If that had happened, Pippa’s wedding would have been an afterthought. As we’ve seen, Harry’s been quite strategic in rolling out Meghan’s entrance into his life. It would not have been a good look for Meghan to splash onto the scene as a scene-stealer. So, instead, she was the total opposite. There’s not been one good shot of Meghan at Pippa’s wedding. There’s a photo of her where she’s barely distinguishable, in the passenger seat of his car, arriving at the reception but apart from that, it’s been 48 hours and we don’t know what she wore, we don’t have any pictures of her from inside the party, and no one can fake any headline about her “upstaging” anyone.

From a gossip perspective, obviously, it’s disappointing. From a royal approval perspective, it’s really smart. And it shows us, yet again, how protective Harry is about Meghan’s reputation and how engaged he is in managing the narrative around her right now. Which speaks to WHY he feels he needs to manage that narrative. For the future. And the steps that happen next. He knows that all of this goes back to the Queen. If the Queen asked for an update on Sunday about Pippa’s wedding, her advisors would have told her that, publicly, Meghan was a low-key presence at the event, that she did not peacock herself all over someone else’s wedding day, and that the only one was peacocking that day was the third in line to the throne, a certain three year old with a sucky face. And maybe Her Majesty would have rolled her eyes and replied, “Right. That one.”

So how did the day unfold for Meghan and Harry? They left Kensington Palace together on Saturday morning. He then dropped her off at a house in nearby Berkshire, where she got ready. He came back to pick her up, they went to the party, and then they left to go back to KP earlier than most of the other guests, no drama, no scandal. And just in time for their one year anniversary.

You’ll recall, by the time we found out Harry and Meghan were together, last fall, they’d already been dating since summer, after meeting in June. Now that Pippa’s royal-adjacent wedding is out of the way, Harry’s free to make his own moves.