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LONDON (Reuters)

Prince Harry’s American fiancée Meghan Markle on Monday took part in her first official royal engagement with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth since the couple announced they were getting married last year

Markle joined her husband-to-be and Britain’s other senior royals including Harry’s father, Prince Charles, and his elder brother Prince William and his wife Kate at London’s Westminster Abbey for the Commonwealth service.

 

Britain's Queen Elizabeth leaves after attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth leaves after attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth Secretary-General were among the 2,000-strong congregation for the service, the largest annualCommonwealth in the United Kingdom, which also included more than 800 schoolchildren and young people.

 

Britain's Prince Harry's fiancee Meghan Markle receives a bouquet of flowers after attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London
Britain’s Prince Harry’s fiancee Meghan Markle receives a bouquet of flowers after attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain, March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

 

Elizabeth has been head of the Commonwealth since 1952 and aides say she regards the success of the organization, which now has 53 members representing over 2.4 billion people, as one of her greatest achievements as queen.

She has made more than 200 trips to Commonwealth countries during her 66-year reign, visiting every country except Cameroon and Rwanda.

 

Britain's Queen Elizabeth arrives at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth arrives at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain, March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

 

London will host next month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting where the BBC and other British media have speculated the issue of who will succeed the 91-year-old monarch might be discussed.

“Having enjoyed the warm hospitality of so many Commonwealth countries over the years, I look forward to the pleasure of welcoming the leaders of our family of 53 nations to my homes in London and Windsor,” the queen said in a statement.

Windsor Castle, west of London, also will be the setting for the wedding of Harry and actress Markle, star of U.S. TV drama “Suits”, on May 19.

 

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)

 

 

Britain's Prince Harry, his fiancee Meghan Markle, Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, arrive at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London
Britain’s Prince Harry, his fiancee Meghan Markle, Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, arrive at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain, March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

 

Meghan Markle leaves after attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London
Meghan Markle leaves after attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool

 

Britain's Queen Elizabeth arrives at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth arrives at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain, March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

 

The Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London
Flags of the Commonwealth being paraded through the Abbey at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Paul Grover/Pool

 

Britain's Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge meet school children in Dean's Yard in London
Britain’s Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge meet school children in Dean’s Yard in London, Britain March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jack Hill/Pool

 

Keep reading (more images ahead) …

 

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