Why Meghan Markle's Friend, Clara Loughran, Was Honored By The Queen

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Who Is Clara Loughran? Why The Queen Is Honoring Meghan Markle's Friend
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Being a member of the British Royal family is a full-time job. All the public appearances and travel to other countries takes quite a lot of time and energy. It also takes the assistance of a large and trusted staff.

The royals have an extensive staff of assistants and coordinators to handle everything from travel arrangements to managing the budget. Now, one assistant to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is being honored by the Queen for her years of work: Clara Loughran.

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Clara Loughran, who might be best known as the woman handing Markle her flowers in a wedding photo, is being granted membership in the Royal Victorian Order. Order memberships like these are given to people who directly serve the royal family and are considered high honors. The Queen will hand out over 1,000 such honors to ring in the New Year. 

Who is Clara Loughran and why is she being honored by Queen Elizabeth? 

1. Who is Clara Loughran? 

Loughran is a 33-year-old New Zealand native who has been working for the royal family in a number of capacities for a number of years. This week, the Palace announced that she was going to be one over a thousand people being honored with a special order award from the Queen herself. 

2. This isn't her first job working for the royals.

Loughran has previously worked for a different royal couple. She worked for Kate Middleton and Prince William before becoming an assistant to Prince Harry in 2015. Reportedly, she was well-liked in the House of Kensington.

When Prince William met Loughran's mother during a visit to New Zealand, he heaped on the praise. Later, Loughran's mother recalled, "Clara's mother revealed afterward, 'William said to me that Clara is the star of the office.'"

3. Loughran was part of her own royal scandal a few years ago. 

In 2016, when Loughran was still known as Clara Madden, she started dating Nick Loughran, whom she would ultimately marry. Nick Loughran was a media advisor to Prince William and Kate Middleton at the time, and it turns out that his future wife wasn't the first co-worker he had dated.

The year before, he had split up from Middleton's assistant Rebecca Deacon, and it's possible that the relationship with Deacon wasn't over when the new relationship began. Shortly after the news of the royal-adjacent love affairs broke, Nick Loughran left the palace altogether and took a new job at a PR firm in London. 

As for Rebecca Deacon, she continued working for the Duchess of Cambridge. In 2017, she married Adam Priestly in St James Place at the Chapel Royal, a special privilege she was granted by Kate Middleton. 

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4. She's the lady with the flowers in Meghan Markle's wedding photos.

Loughran went from being an assistant to Prince Harry to working for the royal couple when they got engaged. She's even in one of the famous photos of the big day.

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Loughran was standing in the back of the church as the bride prepared to leave the chapel. Markle, fully draped in her veil, can be seen turning to take her bouquet of flowers from Loughran's outstretched hand. 

5. Clara Loughran has traveled with the royal couple.

These days, Loughran's official title is "Senior Programme Coordinator, Household of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex." The job entails coordinating the couple's appearances at home and overseas.

She accompanied the couple on a recent trip to her home country pf New Zealand. Her years of work with the younger royals has clearly been much appreciated.

6. What is the Royal Victorian Order? 

Giving out Orders is one of the perks of being the Queen of England. Twice a year, at the New Year and on her birthday, Queen Elizabeth gets to hand out a slew of honors to different people in the Commonwealth of England.

Long ago, monarchs accompanied these honors with gifts of land or money (think of Henry VIII giving Anne Boleyn titles and castles before they were married) but nowadays, its more of a symbolic thing. it used to be that only members of the aristocracy were eligible for orders of chivalry but in 1917, King George V developed the Order of the British Empire, so he could reward anyone who had helped with the WWI war effort.

According to the official website for the royals family, the Royal Victorian order is the, "personal gift of the Sovereign, this honour is awarded to those who have served The Queen or the monarchy in a particular way." The list of honorees usually includes many employees of the royal family. In 2019, it was granted to Natasha Archer who is the personal assistant to Prince William and Kate Middleton. 

Congratulations to Clara Loughran on this prestigious honor!

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.

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