Yeah, yeah... we know Meghan Markle isn’t ever going to be Queen of England. But that hasn’t stopped the most-watched member of the British royal family from getting the royal treatment—most recently, from Queen Bey, as part of Wednesday night’s Brit Awards.
Posing in front of a traditional portrait of the Duchess of Sussex posed and dressed in Victorian-era queenly attire, the Carters accepted their award for Best International Group for Everything Is Love—and for once, all eyes weren’t on them, because that portrait was everythang.
The artist? Illustrator Tim O’Brien, who initially premiered the piece in July 2018 on the cover of The Key, the magazine of Meghan’s sorority (no, not Delta, Zeta or AKA—we wish) Kappa Kappa Gamma, in honor of her marriage. Not exactly Time magazine (where O’Brien’s work regularly appears), but if you had a legitimate member of royalty in your ranks, you might commission a portrait of her, too.
Unless you were a member of the sorority, the image likely flew under your radar—but leave it to Bey and Jay to make it into a moment. What better way to accept an award from the Brits than by evoking the first (openly) black member of the monarchy—whom was notably also currently featured on Beyoncé’s homepage for Black History Month on Wednesday? Suffice to say, we’re with it.
But while the art of O’Brien—who is also president of the Society of Illustrators—may be new to some of us, we’re guessing Bey was already well aware of his incredible talent. After all, O’Brien also memorably immortalized the Queen herself in Elizabethan style (with Lemonade and Hive motifs!) for Entertainment Weekly’s Album of the Year coverage in December 2016.
It may be over two years later, but Bey returned the favor—because while she may not always be there when you call, she’s always on time. Based on the buzz generated on social media, the celebrity endorsement no doubt inspired a rush on O’Brien’s website, where both prints are currently for sale. (Fun fact: our editor-in-chief, Danielle Belton, already has hers en route—and I’m right behind her.) And while you’re there, you may want to cop his “Black Elvis,” too.
As for Markle’s unofficial royal portrait, it’s a fitting tribute to a barrier-breaking black woman—and we have a feeling “everything is love” in O’Brien’s world today.