The Lion King European Premiere – A Royal Reception Line


On July 15, 2019, London, U.K. hosted the Lion King European Premiere. Disney and Royal fans lined the streets of London’s Leicester Square to take in the pageantry of the GOLD carpet. Many of the movie’s contributors from cast to musicians took the trip to bask in the glow of their efforts. Fans and media alike were looking forward to the most notable cast member in the person of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter who was to be accompanied by her husband Shawn, famously known as Jay-Z. Few knew, however, that those talented artists ranging from Pharrell to Blue Ivy’s mom were there to be awestruck themselves. They were anticipating meeting Royalty; not just any Royalty but the current most impactful Royal couple, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

For those of you questioning why Royals would be at a Hollywood movie premiere; first off, stop questioning it! Secondly, the Sussexes’ presence at this particular premiere was for an excellent cause. The original Royal communication as seen on the @SussexRoyal Instagram page indicated that the European premiere is being held

“In support of the conservation and communities work of His Royal Highness through the Royal Foundation. As President of the African Parks Association, Prince Harry’s care and concern for the declining lion population in Africa is well noted. For him, attending the Lion King premiere was a perfect fit.”

Initially the announcement regarded a solo engagement for Prince Harry as Duchess Meghan is officially on maternity leave. However Sussex Squad members, royal watchers and the media alike all crossed fingers hoping that Duchess Meghan would be Prince Harry’s date for the occasion. When collective lightbulbs went off that Beyoncé (who voices Nala in the film) might be in attendance, that desire to see Duchess Meghan at the event leaped through the roof! Shortly before the premiere date, the stars aligned, and we all learned that Duchess Meghan and Queen Bee would be attending the event!

After the Lion King contributors and Sussexes walked the golden carpet, truly historical moments occurred during the Royal reception line. Other than maybe Elton John who has intertwined with the Royal Family most of his career, the contributors, many being American, were nervous because they were not accustomed to mingling with Royalty and were e-mailed a list of protocols that added to the nervousness. Actor Billy Eichner stated he even practiced what he would say as the Duke and Duchess approached. Pharrell Williams, who wore a skirt, decided to bow and courtesy to cover his bases. In fact, one of the night’s most poignant moments came from Pharrell when he expressed just how monumental their interracial union is on that scale. He told them that their marriage was “amazing” and “wonderful.” He also advised them to not take their relationship for granted. However, the predictable British media pounced on Duchess Meghan’s genuine reply of “They don’t make it easy.” This simple statement to which she didn’t publicly expound, generated numerous articles and TV segments. Mostly, the UK media who was quick to attempt to absolve themselves of any wrongdoing. The party line required that Meghan not be able to cope with Royal life and ensuring that they pushed the ‘they’ as the general public, not the innocent “journalists.” Nonetheless, Meghan’s monumental procession also included Sir Elton John, friend of Princess Di, who has remained in Prince Harry’s corner throughout the years. When he leaned in to whisper something to Duchess Meghan, no one will ever know for sure but one can assume that they were words of encouragement. As the Sussexes reached the end of the reception line, true history occurred.

Truly stars did align when Queen Bee and Queen Meg met. Oh yeah, Prince Harry and Jay were there too. Having already acknowledged their appreciation for Duchess Meghan in their 2019 Brit Awards acceptance video, Beyoncé and Jay seemed very excited to meet the Royal couple. Duchess Meghan was also ready and a fan. Her friend and makeup artist, Daniel Martin, shared that he made the Duchess aware of the Carters’ video. I watched the moment live. One rarely, if ever, sees Sasha Fierce and Hova with awed looks on their face. Duchess Meghan approached the couple first; they gave each other the most admirable embrace possible. You could see it all over Beyoncé’s face. Then it happened, Beyoncé warmly said to Duchess Meghan, “My Princess” or at least no one can tell her supporters any different. The Two Nubian Queens Mutual Admiration Society Meeting continued until Prince Harry came along. Duchess Meghan then gave Jay a hug while the British Prince hugged and began chatting with the R&B Queen. Jay, who must have seen the numerous “She’s mine” videos knew not to embrace Duchess Meghan too tightly but he indeed looked enamored. From that point, the four of them chatted about raising kids and “beautiful” King Archie’s neck action like no one else was in the room. The moment was truly poignant and historic.


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