The real reason why the queen prefers Meghan Markle to Kate Middleton

It's important to note that much of what's written about the British royal family is speculative. Its members are a notoriously private bunch considering how innately public their lives are, and they tend to be very careful about what they share with the rest of the world. That said, it's been speculated that Queen Elizabeth is playing favorites among her granddaughters-in-law, with Meghan Markle taking the top spot from Kate Middleton. 

It's unclear how these rumors began, though some believe it was when a never-before-seen photo of Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry was spotted in the Queen's residence without a corresponding one of Duchess Kate and Prince William in sight. Of course, just because there may not have been a similar photo in a nearby frame doesn't mean such a thing doesn't exist, but there is more tea to be spilled about all this conjecture. Does the Queen prefer the former Deal or no Deal suitcase model to the British-born-and-bred Duchess of Cambridge? Maybe. Here are a few potential reasons why. In any case, you may want to take all this with a grain (or entire shaker) of salt. Here we go! 

There's less pressure with Meghan Markle since she'll never be Queen

One big reason Queen Elizabeth may at least be more comfortable with Meghan Markle than she is with Kate Middleton is that Duchess Meghan is under much less pressure to behave as a picture-perfect monarch, seeing as she'll likely never inherit the British throne. Middleton, on the other hand, will be at Prince William's side when he becomes king after his father, Prince Charles. 

Royal expert Ingrid Seward speculated to The Sun, "I think the Queen and Kate have a more serious relationship as obviously Kate holds all the Queen's hope for the future and she would not want to do anything to upset that. The common bond with Kate would be her children and I can't imagine the Queen spending too much time talking about them; she is a very shy woman." Despite rumors to the contrary, it's clear that the queen is at least somewhat fond of Middleton, considering she became the Patron of the Royal Photographic Society, inheriting the role from Queen Elizabeth, who held it for 67 years.

Does the queen think Kate Middleton is lazier than Meghan Markle?

Ouch! Some sources have claimed that Queen Elizabeth thinks Kate Middleton doesn't have the best work ethic — and that she's rather impressed with Meghan Markle by comparison. Royal expert Phil Dampier told Express that during the eight or nine years that Middleton and Prince William were dating before they got married, Queen Elizabeth believed the now-Duchess of Cambridge had too much free time.

"There was a phase where she appeared to be doing very little really," Dampier said. "The Queen once remarked, 'Kate doesn't do very much,' so I think she had a fairly long entrance to the Royal family." However, Dampier notes that part of why Middleton was kept away from too many royal duties early on is because Prince William was protective of her after seeing how much the press hounded his own mother, the late Princess Diana.

Conversely, royal insiders told Vanity Fair in February 2019, that the Queen marveled at Meghan Markle's workhorse attitude, even while "heavily pregnant." According to one source, "For the Queen and her generation, you generally hid your bump and put your feet up in this stage of pregnancy, but Meghan hasn't stopped."

Prince William allegedly took some convincing to marry Kate Middleton

According to Prince William and Kate Middleton's engagement interview from 2010, Queen Elizabeth didn't meet Middleton until Peter and Autumn Phillips' wedding. The Phillips married in May 2008, making that about five years after Middleton and Prince William began dating. A source told the Express that Queen Elizabeth "steered clear" of Middleton until the royal family, including Prince William, was sure she'd be around for the long haul. The couple reportedly hit a rough patch and briefly split in 2007, and Prince William is said to have told the queen he had doubts about his future with Middleton. That may have made the queen at least temporarily apprehensive about welcoming her into the fold until their issues had been resolved.

It's also been speculated that Queen Elizabeth actually may have prompted Prince William to finally put a ring on it. After years of being slapped with a "Waity Katie" label, a source told the Express that Middleton and Prince William secretly agreed to marry after their 2007 reunion ... and after a talk with the queen. "After they split up, William confided to his grandparents that he was not sure if he loved Kate enough," a source claimed. "Now they are back together, the Queen wants William to do the right thing — either marry the girl or let her go ... if Kate is the one, then a five-year courtship is long enough."

Was the queen worried that Meghan Markle would feel isolated?

Recent reports claim that Queen Elizabeth took a special interest in Meghan Markle, taking special care to ensure that the California native wouldn't feel completely isolated in her new home and life across the pond. Royal expert Duncan Larcombe speculated to The Sun that the queen specifically requested that Markle accompany her to certain events and appearances, noting that it was rare for anyone to join the queen on the royal train as Duchess Meghan did in June 2018, just a month after her royal wedding to Prince Harry. "The Queen last year in the first few months of Meghan's entry into the royal family, made a particular and slightly unusual effort to welcome her in," said Larcombe. "Unusual in the context of the trip on the royal train to do a royal engagement. I'm 99 percent sure she's never afforded that offer to Kate."

Of course, that may be partly because, as Larcombe also notes in the piece, that the public had plenty of time to be introduced to Kate Middleton before she married Prince William. Markle was still the new kid on the block at the time. An added element, Lacrombe says, is the Princess Diana connection, noting that the Queen may have embraced Markle "because of the lessons of the past where Princess Diana pretty much felt like an outsider in the royal family."

Meghan Markle has more in common with the queen than Kate Middleton

Queen Elizabeth may simply like hanging out with Meghan Markle more than she does with Kate Middleton. She seems to have more in common with the Duchess of Sussex than with the Duchess of Cambridge. After photos emerged of Markle and the queen sharing giggles at a royal engagement in June 2018, the press jumped onto the "Monarchy BFFs" train. Royal expert Ingrid Seward told The Sun in August 2019, "They have a love of dogs in common and Meghan knows how to make her laugh. The Queen has an acerbic wit and of course is an excellent mimic so she can be very entertaining — but she never forgets she is Queen, even with her grandchildren."

Markle and the queen share a mutual love of dogs. The Sun reported that Markle is working on her first children's book, rumored to be about dogs, and the queen's beloved corgis reportedly took an immediate liking to Markle when they first met. In Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's first joint interview about their engagement, they gushed about how the queen's corgis rested at Markle's feet upon meeting her. "For the last 33 years, I've been barked at," he quipped. "[Markle] walks in, and absolutely nothing! Just wagging tails."

Meghan Markle is 'in awe' of royal life

Human beings like people who flatter and compliment us, so that could be one of the reasons Meghan Markle appears to have charmed Queen Elizabeth. Body language experts have analyzed Markle's body language and identified a common theme: clasping her hands and/or holding them close to her chin in what's described as a "theatrical" and "child-like" way — indicating that she may be "in awe" of royal life. "This gesture tends to be a playful, pseudo-infantile expression of excitement and anticipation," body language expert Judi James told The Sun

That same awe may be what endears Markle to the queen, even if the queen side-eyes some of the duchess' decisions. One royal expert, Phil Dampier, speculated that while it's a huge honor for the queen to have invited Markle to her Balmoral, Scotland, estate to celebrate Markle's 38th birthday in August 2019, that opportunity may include some royal coaching. Dampier noted that the queen is "very fond" of the former actress and finds her "engaging and intelligent," but he claimed that senior members of the family may still have some pointers for Markle. "I think in quiet moments and quiet walks up by the river the Queen might have a few words of advice for her. I'm sure there must be things where she perhaps thinks things could be done better," Lampier told The Sun.

The queen trusts Meghan Markle to grant her last wishes

If you want a particularly morbid reason why Queen Elizabeth may prefer Meghan Markle to Kate Middleton, some have speculated that the monarch believes Duchess Meghan will be best suited to promote what is rumored to be her last wish: Keep the monarchy relevant. 

Royal expert Tim Ewart explained to Yahoo's Royal Box that the "rock star royals" may do a better job of continuing the monarchy's legacy than their stiffer counterparts. "I think what Harry and Meghan have done is appeal very greatly to a younger generation which is what the Queen wanted," Ewart said (via Express). "The reality for the monarchy is that when the Queen dies, one of the reasons for the monarchy's popularity will be gone. A large part of the popularity of the monarchy is based on the popularity of the Queen. Will that transfer to her son?" The implied answer, according to Ewart, is probably not, but perhaps the public's loyalty and interest could translate to the wildly popular Duke and Duchess of Sussex. After all, Meghan and Harry were named to Time magazine's 2019 list of the "25 Most Influential People on the Internet."

Queen Elizabeth loves how happy Meghan Markle makes Harry

There is a simple reason that Queen Elizabeth likely adores Meghan Markle: Because she sees how much Prince Harry adores her, whereas Kate Middleton and Prince William aren't quite as demonstrative with their affection. Royal expert Katie Nicholl told Fox News that it was crucial to Prince Harry that the queen, Prince Charles, William and Middleton all give the Suits actress their seals of approval early in the relationship. Nicholl also claims that Prince Harry was longing to find his "life partner" and start a family when Markle came along. Thankfully, Nicholl says the queen "sees how happy" the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are together.

"Harry has a very close relationship with his grandmother. He wanted the queen's approval. It's why he took Meghan to spend time in Windsor and a lot of their courtship was conducted in Windsor," Nicholl claims. "It's why he took Meghan to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace. I have been pleasantly surprised by how readily the Queen, particularly, has welcomed Meghan into the royal family."