Could you feel the anticipation on Sunday night?
Two of the most famous women in the world finally met over the weekend, with Beyoncé and Meghan Markle greeting each other warmly on the yellow carpet at the Lion King U.K. premiere, a moment that had been highly anticipated in the days leading up to the London event.
All eyes were on the singer and cast member and the Duchess as they hugged, with their spouses Jay-Z and Prince Harry also in attendance and meeting for the first time, bringing together Hollywood royalty and real royalty.
According to lip-readers, Bey, 37, said "my princess" when she greeted the Duchess of Sussex, who was making her appearance at a major celebrity event since she gave birth to Archie Harrison in early May.
Of course, what is a Meghan Markle outing without a bit of supposed controversy, as Beyoncé, who stars as the lioness Nala in Disney's remake of the beloved 1994 animated movie, and Jay-Z allegedly broke royal protocol by hugging the 37-year-old Duchess. However, if a member of the royal family initiates the contact, it's all good. No need to ring the alarm.
Ironically enough, The Lion King stars Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner talked about all of the traditions that must be followed when one meets a royal ahead of the big premiere.
"It seems like it's so made up, so silly. Like here's a list of imaginary rules you gotta follow, like tug on your nose twice before you speak to this person," Rogen joked to E! News' Zuri Hall. "Like, 'Okay, whatever you guys want!'"
Eichner added, "I am sure it will be an experience."
And what an experience it was as the world watched and immediately dissected every moment of Meghan and Bey's encounter, which an insider confirmed to E! News was the first time they had met in person.
"It's early days in that relationship!" our source said. "But I think safe to say that they definitely struck up an instant clear rapport, bonding over their kids."
No strangers to having all eyes on them, the two women continued to have a warm conversation after their initial greeting, with Beyoncé congratulating Meghan on the birth of the couple's first child, saying Archie was "so beautiful," according to reports.
She also told Meghan, "We love you guys."
And that love has been made public for quite some time, with the superstar posting a photo of her and Jay-Z standing in front of a replica of the historical Mona Lisa painting but with a tiara-wearing Meghan featured back in February while accepting her BRIT Award, a gesture our source told us the Duchess was "thrilled" with, adding, "There is already a mutual respect there."
In the Instagram caption, Bey wrote, "Thank you to the Brits for the award for Best International Group. I won this award back in 2002 with my besties, Kelly and Michelle. How lucky am I to have been in a group with my other best friend, the GOAT Hova. In honor of Black History Month, we bow down to one of our Melanated Monas. Congrats on your pregnancy! We wish you so much joy."
And she wasn't done yet, uploading two more Instagram posts of the couple in front of the portrait, created by illustrator Tim O'Brien, including her acceptance speech.
A few months prior, the couple had stood in front of the original artwork by Leonardo Da Vinci when they filmed their "Apes--t" music video in the legendary Louvre in Paris, the largest art museum in the world.
At the time of the music video's release, much was made of the symbolism of the couple—particularly Beyoncé—recreating and recontextualizing classic works or Western art, reframing it from the perspective of a black couple in 2019.
"I can't believe we made it," one of the lyrics in "Apes**t" says, referring to both the couple making it through their public hardships that were revealed on her hit album "Lemonade," and the fact that they were standing in the Louvre.
"In a way, Beyoncé is exploiting/marketing her blackness as creativity—as a kind of weapon—within and against the very Eurocentric system of culture and consumption from which she has benefited," James Smalls, a professor of art history at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, told Vox after the video's release and instant success. "From the Middle Ages up to the 19th century, works of art that showed black people usually represented them as servants or secondary figures. They were not deemed worthy subjects of paintings, sculptures, or other kinds of cultural works."
But Bey didn't just post a tribute to Meghan on her Instagram; she took to her web site to congratulate the Duchess on her pregnancy and to acknowledge her push to include black traditions in her new life as a royal, especially at her wedding in May 2018.
"Meghan brought many Black traditions to her Royal Wedding including a Chicago-based Black pastor, an amazing gospel choir, and a young Black cellist," the post read. "At the wedding her culture was front and center, and she and Prince Harry have continued to push the race relations dialogue forward both near and far."
She also highlighted Meghan's charity work with organizations such as World Vision and the Myna Mahila Foundation, adding that her "work in communities of color began years before becoming the Duchess of Sussex."
Her honoring of Meghan concluded with, "In honor of Black History Month, we bow down to one of our Melanated Monas. Congrats on your pregnancy! We wish you so much joy."
Now think of the power of the superstar couple accepting their BRIT Award for International Group award standing in front of the biracial Duchess taking Mona Lisa's place in the iconic portrait, a clear show of support for Meghan who has been the subject of sexist and racist remarks from the British press and public since it was officially confirmed she was dating Prince Harry in November 2016.
The coverage was so harsh that Prince Harry released an unprecedented statement condemning the abuse and harassment the former Suits star was receiving on social media.
"Since he was young, Prince Harry has been very aware of the warmth that has been extended to him by members of the public," the Kensington Palace's statement began. "He feels lucky to have so many people supporting him and knows what a fortunate and privileged life he leads."
"He is also aware that there is significant curiosity about his private life. He has never been comfortable with this, but he has tried to develop a thick skin about the level of media interest that comes with it," the palace continued. "He has rarely taken formal action on the very regular publication of fictional stories that are written about him and he has worked hard to develop a professional relationship with the media, focused on his work and the issues he cares about.
"But the past week has seen a line crossed. His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment," the statement said. "Some of this has been very public—the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments."
The statement continued, revealing Prince Harry was "worried" about Meghan's safety and felt "deeply disappointed" by his inability to protect her from being "subjected to such a storm."
The following month, Elle U.K. published an essay written by Meghan in which she opens up about being half black and half white in today's society and how that impacted her self-identity.
"To describe something as being black and white means it is clearly defined," she explained. "Yet when your ethnicity is black and white, the dichotomy is not that clear. In fact, it creates a grey area."
She continued, "Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating."
While Harry's protective statement was shared around the world, it didn't really stop the negative headlines and coverage of Meghan, an American, bi-racial and divorced actress infiltrating the royal family and snagging the world's most eligible bachelor, whose mere existence seemed the threaten the centuries-old monarchy altogether.
Bey and Jay's decision to debut the "Meghan Lisa" at a British awards show was clearly no coincidence, and since that very public display of support, fans of both women have been anxiously awaiting their first meeting.
The wait was shorter than expected, as the Lion King premiere proved to be the perfect setting, as Disney had launched the Protect the Pride, a conservation campaign working to protect Africa's lion population, and the royal couple attended the star-studded event in support of their ongoing conservation efforts in Africa (where they plan to travel to later this fall with Archie).
The premiere was held in "support of the conservation and communities work of His Royal Highness through The Royal Foundation," Buckingham Palace said in an official statement announcing the couple's plans to attend.
It was fitting then that Beyoncé would be on hand for Meghan's first major red carpet appearance as a member of the British royal family, in which she chose to wear an understated and elegant $2,450 long-sleeve, black tea-length Jason Wu Collection mesh panel dress, paired with matching $750 Aquazzara pointed pumps and a $2,390 black and gold Gucci "Broadway" clutch.
Knowing all eyes would surely be on them as they met for the first time, the conversation between Meghan and Bey, who looked regal in a custom off-the-shoulder Cong Tri pleated gold gown, was surprisingly relatable, discussing parenthood and their busy schedules.
Parents to 7-year-old daughter Blue Ivy Carter and 2-year-old twins Sir Carter and Rumi Carter, Beyoncé and Jay-Z advised Meghan and Harry to "always find time for themselves," according to reports.
After Meghan introduced Harry to the couple, with the Duke of Sussex greeting Bey with a kiss on the cheek and Jay-Z a handshake, remarking on how "busy" the singer was recently before asking how the twins were doing.
"They are not here. They don't come on every trip," Beyoncé said. "We left them at home. They would loved to have been here."
In a proud parenting moment, Prince Harry reportedly revealed Archie is now holding his head up, which is "so exciting."
Having Beyoncé greet Meghan as "my princess" must've been quite a moment for the Duchess, who has long been a fan of the Grammy winner.
Before deleting all of her personal social media accounts in January 2018, Meghan has posted a photo of herself standing in front of a brick wall with hot sauce sticking out of her purse.
"The closest I will ever come to channeling @Beyonce #hotsauceinmybagswag #actually #just #hotsauceinmybag," she captioned the photo.
Little did she know close she would come just years later, with our insider telling us it's possible Bey and Jay could even lend their support to Prince Harry and Meghan's upcoming charitable endeavor set to launch in the fall after they officially left The Royal Foundation, their joint charity with Prince William and Kate Middleton, in June.
"With Beyoncé and Jay-Z's star power and admiration for what Meghan is bringing to the royal family and her way of working, from what I hear, it's not unlikely they may throw their support behind Harry and Meghan's new charity foundation," our source said. "I'd say watch this space."
As if we all weren't already.
The Lion King hits theaters July 19.