Meghan Markle has officially made her transition from American actress to royal life as the Duchess of Sussex, and ever since the news broke that she had won the heart of Prince Harry, the eyes of the world have been on her.
Her royal engagement made headline news, and since then the paparazzi follow her every move and the press has scrutinized every moment of her past. Now that she is a royal, Markle has had to deal with the public finding out things about her that she probably would have rather kept to herself, but she has handled it in stride, with a sense of grace and elegance.
Now in her new role, she must cope with a long list of rules that the palace requires her to follow. And even though she had already made a name for herself with a starring role on the USA network drama Suits – plus her work as a humanitarian and philanthropist – her new fame as a royal comes with a price.
Markle must change everything from how she communicates with her fans to what she wears. She also loses any freedom of mobility, speech, and privacy. She has entered a whole new world, and if the Duchess thought life in the Hollywood spotlight was a challenge, life in the world of the Windsors may just be a whole lot more than she bargained for. Oh, the things we do for love.
20 She Must Change How She Deals With Fans
At her first official event with Prince Harry, Markle told fans that she could no longer take pictures with them by revealing, “We’re not allowed to do selfies.” The palace created the rule to encourage people to have conversations with the royals and to make eye contact instead of turning their backs for a selfie.
When they are out engaging in public, the royals will always politely decline pictures. So, if you ever find them in a selfie, it is because they accidentally photobombed one.
When Prince Harry visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, he said, "No, I hate selfies. Seriously, you need to get out of it (the habit), I know you're young, selfies are bad. Just take a normal photograph!"
And, despite her huge fan base and the fact that she has probably signed countless autographs in the past, from now on Markle will have to resist the urge to sign anything for admirers. The no autograph rule is in place because of the possibility of forgery.
On rare occasions the royals can sign their names for visitors books or official documents, like Kate Middleton did during her trip to the Stutthof concentration camp on an official visit to Poland and Germany.
19 She Must Always Travel With Mourning Clothes
Remembering #AnzacDay: The Duke, Prince Harry and Ms. Markle joined today's annual Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey. On Anzac Day we remember the Gallipoli landings of 25th April 1915, and all Australians and New Zealanders who have given their lives in the service of their countries 📷PA
During her career as a Hollywood actress, Markle has wowed fans with amazing outfit choices and dresses that fit her perfectly. She has walked the red carpet in a variety of different colors, and it appears that one of her favorites is black.
But now black is part of Markle’s wardrobe not as a fashion choice, but as possible funeral attire. It became imperative for royals to travel with a set of funeral clothes ever since 1952 when King George VI died and then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip had to travel back to England from Africa in regular clothes. The future Queen then had to wait on the plane when she returned home so someone could bring her a black outfit before she emerged from the aircraft.
Just in case a senior member of the family dies suddenly, it is a sign of respect that royals now travel with a black outfit, so they can be sure to always have suitable clothing.
18 There Are Rules For The Craziest Things
When Markle has a meal with the Queen, she cannot begin eating until Her Majesty has started her meal. And, the 36-year-old must learn how to eat quickly at family and state dinners because she must stop eating as soon as the Queen does, even if she hasn’t finished her food. The rule states that as soon as the Queen is finished, the rest of the dinner guests must set down their knives and forks.
And, the Queen strictly adheres to her schedule with includes always eating dinner between 8:30 and 10:00 pm.
On top of strict dinner time rules, Markle can no longer walk wherever she wants, whenever she wants. When the former actress walks on royal duty, there is a royal ranking. The Queen goes first, followed by Prince Philip who walks two paces behind his wife. Then comes Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince William and Kate Middleton, and then Prince Harry and Markle.
The Queen also expects the female members of the family – including Bowles and Middleton – to curtsy when they enter a room in Her Majesty’s presence, and it doesn’t have to be a formal occasion. Also, during an official event, Markle must curtsy to anyone who outranks her.
17 You Have To Keep Your Hands To Yourself
There are no specific rules in the royal family when it comes to public displays of affection, but royals tend to avoid it at official events since they are working representatives of the monarchy. It may be a bit extreme to call hand-holding PDA, but the royal family must consider it to be so because cameras have only caught Prince William and Kate Middleton holding hands about a dozen times in the last decade.
However, newlyweds Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have found it difficult to keep their hands off of each other and have ignored the unspoken rule every chance they get. When they made their first public appearance at last year’s Invictus Games in Toronto, cameras caught them kissing and holding hands.
And, after they announced their engagement, Harry and Meghan have held hands and put their arms around each other in public. They still enjoy PDA like the rest of us, and for many it makes them more relatable. And, people want to see their affection.
“The younger royals are re-writing the etiquette rules. We should expect them to become more relaxed over time, especially with Harry and Meghan,” Prince William and Prince Harry’s former butler Grant Harrold said.
16 There Is Nowhere To Hide
The days of being able to walk around in public unnoticed are a thing of the past for Markle. However, Princess Diana often snuck out of Kensington Palace to get some free time to herself, and before she married Prince Harry, Markle started to copy the behavior.
Earlier this year, a source revealed that there are six entrances and exits at the palace and Markle has been able to get in and out when she needs to, and getting where she needs to go incognito. Now that she is officially a royal, doing that is going to be much more difficult, but it doesn’t mean she won’t try.
Insiders say that Meghan and Harry have “taken their privacy to a whole new level.” The couple swap cars all of the time, and she uses disguises and hats to keep people from noticing her. When it comes to going out into public, the newlyweds are taking a different approach than William and Kate.
However, just because Markle can sneak around London, she still isn’t completely alone. After an anthrax scare earlier this year, Harry made sure that his wife got her own 24/7 female bodyguard.
15 She Can No Longer Get Political
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The Royal family may have a lot of influence in England, but they do not have political power, and there is a reason behind it. They also are not supposed to make any political statements, but when Markle joined Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton for the Royal Foundation Forum she did share her thoughts on female empowerment, and that may have broken protocol.
“I hear a lot of people speaking about girls’ empowerment and women’s empowerment; you will hear people saying they are helping women find their voices. I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find their voices, they need to be empowered to use it and people need to be urged to listen,” said Markle.
The former Suits star also referenced the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and said that because of those movements there is no better time than now to shine a light on women feeling empowered and those who support them.
Surprisingly, it seems that the palace is supporting her on this issue because in her bio on the Buckingham Palace website it states that Markle has been aware of social issues since an early age, and her life experiences have helped shape her commitment to causes like social justice and women’s empowerment.
14 There are Even Rules For Sitting and Drinking Tea
Today, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle attended the inaugural Royal Foundation Forum. The Royal Foundation unites people to help tackle society's biggest challenges. TRH and Ms. Markle discussed the inspiration behind The Royal Foundation, the issues that are close to their hearts, and their ambitions for the future. This was the first time The Royal Foundation has brought together people from across all of its programmes, including @invictusgames2018, @Heads_Together, @united4wildlife, #CoachCore & #EndeavourFund.
When it comes to keeping your legs crossed, it is a main form of royal etiquette for women to cross their legs at the ankle and not the knee – like most people would naturally do – when they sit down. Or, they can opt to push them to the side for the “duchess slant.”
You will never see Kate Middleton crossing her legs at the knee, and Meghan Markle will also have to adopt the habit. And, there is another sitting rule the new Duchess will have to follow, at any family gathering, she must always sit next to Prince Harry.
With tea time being very important for any British family, etiquette expert Myka Meier says that is also the case with the royal family, and you must drink your tea correctly. The expectation is to use your thumb and index finger to hold the top of the teacup handle, and then use your middle finger to support the bottom.
You must also sip from the same spot while drinking your tea to avoid lipstick stains. And, if you prefer to drink coffee, you must loop your index finger through the cup’s handle. However, you must never put your pinky finger out.
13 She Has To Learn Royal Protocol
Now that she has married Prince Harry, Markle will spend the next six months learning how to be a proper member of the family, and 49-year-old Samantha Cohen has agreed to be Meghan’s interim secretary even though she resigned last fall from her position as the Queen’s assistant private secretary.
Markle has already been meeting with Cohen, and the Duchess made her first royal appearance at a garden party just three days after her wedding to mark the start of Prince Charles’ 70th birthday celebrations.
The newlyweds appeared at Buckingham Palace where Prince Harry gave a touching speech in tribute to his dad, and all eyes were on her chosen outfit for her first official royal appearance. Markle opted for a pale pink dress by Goat – a British fashion label – plus a matching hat by Philip Treacy.
Markle will essentially be going to “royal school” so she can be up to date on royal knowledge, the workings of the state, and all the family’s protocol. However, in addition to learning all the classy and elegant inner-workings of being a royal, Markle also had to undergo intense SAS (an elite Army regiment) anti-kidnap training
For two days in the Herefordshire countryside, Markle took part in a series of SAS-conducted exercises, and in during one scenario, troops used live ammo to save her from a kidnapping.
It is all part of a course that ensures Markle and other royals are prepared for all possible emergencies, and a former SAS officer says it is “devised to frighten the life out of anyone.”
12 She’s A Feminist, Not A Princess
At the age of 11, Markle became an advocate for women and gender equality when she saw a TV commercial for dish soap that had the tagline “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans,” and two boys in her class said the kitchen is where women belong.
"I remember feeling shocked and angry and also just feeling so hurt. It just wasn't right, and something needed to be done," Markle said.
So, she went home and told her dad, and he told her to start writing letters. She wrote to First Lady Hillary Clinton, her main news source, Linda Ellerbee, host of a kid’s news show, powerhouse attorney Gloria Allred, and the soap manufacturer. A few weeks later, Clinton, Ellerbee, and Allred all sent her letters of encouragement. And, Ellerbee sent cameras to Markle’s house to cover the story.
It wasn’t long before Procter and Gamble changed the tagline from “Women all over America” to “People all over America.” And, she said it was that moment that she realized the magnitude of her actions.
Since 2014, Markle has been an Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership for the women’s agency of the United Nations to help put a global spotlight on gender equality. She has traveled to Rwanda to campaign for clean water and to India to raise awareness on the subject of period poverty, where women do not have the money to buy sanitary products.
11 Her Embarrassing Family Drama
Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, was supposed to walk her down the aisle at her wedding, but he backed out after the news broke that he staged paparazzi photoshoots. For the next few days, he went back and forth on whether he would attend the wedding, but after reportedly suffering a heart attack, Meghan issued a statement that said her dad would not walk her down the aisle because of health problems.
In addition to her dad, her half-siblings and cousins have also stirred things up in the past year, and none of them received invitations to Harry and Meghan’s big day.
Meghan’s half-sister, Samantha Markle, revealed that she was behind their dad’s posed photos, so he could take control of how the media presented him, but claimed money was not her motivation. Samantha also shot back on Twitter when Prince Harry said back in December that the royals were the family that Meghan “never had.” She said Meghan has always had a large family, and they have an amazing and self-sacrificing dad.
“Meghan has no relationship with her half-siblings, nor has she ever had one,” revealed an insider. “They were out of the house by the time she was born.”
10 She’s Been Married Before
Before dating Prince Harry, Meghan had a long-term relationship with Hollywood producer Trevor Engelson and they married in 2011 after dating for seven years. By August 2013 they were divorced, and after the news of Meghan’s relationship with Harry broke, Engelson attempted to monetize the situation.
He pitched a TV show to Fox about a man who must share custody of his children with his ex-wife who has married into the British monarchy. According to Deadline, the show’s tagline was “Divorce is hard. Sharing custody is harder. Sharing custody with the British Royal family when your wife marries a prince, in the unforgiving spotlight of London’s tabloid media, is next level.”
The royal family does not have a good history when it comes to marrying divorcees. Princess Margaret had to end her relationship with Peter Townsend because he was divorced, and Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
But since then things have changed. Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles – both divorcees – in a 2005 civil ceremony. But, Prince Harry was the first member of the family to have a church wedding with a woman who has married before.
As for Engelson, sources say that Meghan has convinced him to put his project on hold – at least for now.
9 Dealing With The Paparazzi And The Media Monster
After the death of Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, the royals and the media reached a truce, and the British media mostly left William and Harry alone as they grew up. But, by his 20’s, Harry started making headlines – anyone remember his naked pics in Las Vegas? – and a broken media blackout ended his military service in Afghanistan out of fears for his safety.
When Harry and Meghan started dating, he feared for her safety and issued an unprecedented statement to the media filled with warnings about a “wave of abuse and harassment” towards his then-girlfriend and attacked the “racial undertones” in social media and in the press coverage.
“The past week has seen a line crossed," the statement warned. "(She) has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. 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 also mentioned how reporters and photographers tried to illegally enter Markle’s home in Toronto, the bribes to her ex-boyfriend, and the bombardment of everyone in her life.
"The royalty-media-public intersection is a monster that devours those who don't know how to handle it," noted newspaper columnist, Jane Merrick.
8 She Had to Shut Down Her Social Media
With very few exceptions, the members of the royal family do not have personal social media accounts, and there is a good reason why. Royal expert Katie Nicholl says that you can end up giving away too much of yourself and you are inviting people into your private life, and that could be an issue for Markle.
She voluntarily deleted her Instagram account and ended her blog, The Tig, so fans could no longer see Markle posting pictures of her dogs in the bedroom lying on the bed, the inside of her house, or her shoe and jewelry collection.
Markle had 3 million Instagram followers and made an impression with fans. But now, she has a team of people in charge of her social media presence and posting pics of her and Prince Harry on the palace accounts, just like Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, and Clarence House all have social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and they provide fans information on upcoming royal events and tours, plus new videos and pics. The accounts also give details on the family’s charitable efforts.
7 She Has To Change Her Style
Today Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle visited the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre in London. Prince Harry opened the forum on Monday and for the last few days, the CYF has set up out to highlight the powerful potential of young people across the Commonwealth. Prince Harry and Ms. Markle met some of the young delegates taking part in the forum and heard about how they plan to approach the challenges facing young people around the Commonwealth. 📷PA
When it comes to royal fashion rules, they are no joke. You have to avoid black, go with bright colors, keep pants in the closet, avoid color nail polish, and use specific designers. The royals must look completely perfect at all times and they have a team of stylists to help them always keep classy and modest.
But, after years of dressing to impress and turn heads, Markle is going to have to adapt. Ever since her time on Deal Or No Deal, Markle has often displayed her figure in skimpy outfits and form-fitting dresses that accentuate her curves. But, the Royal family will not accept that, and she must cover her cleavage.
The Queen also requires Markle to keep her hemline below the knee, so little black dresses and minis are no longer an option. And, for the women in the family to avoid a Marilyn Monroe moment, weights are in the hem to stop their skirts from flying in the breeze.
However, before she married Harry, Meghan did break some rules. She ignored the family’s pantyhose policy, wore ripped jeans on a date at the Invictus Games, and exposed her shoulders by wearing a strappy dress to the Royal Youth Forum.
6 She Had To Give Up Her Career
Markle is an accomplished actress who became a star after playing Rachel Zane on Suits. But, as soon as she and Prince Harry announced their engagement, she also revealed that she had quit the show and was leaving the acting life behind her, essentially retiring from her craft. Royals rarely have jobs outside of their philanthropic duties, so now Markle will be able to focus on her charity work.
She was an anchor of the popular drama, and Markle finished off her 7th and final season with – appropriately enough – a big wedding.
Also departing the show was her co-star Patrick J. Adams, who played her on-screen love interest Mike Ross, and the two said goodbye to their law firm and fans. Both were integral to the drama’s success, but it will continue without them.
The seventh season finale began with the firm in crisis because of a lawsuit from former partners. Rachel and Mike were also dealing with class-action suit at the legal clinic. The two eventually get job offers they couldn’t turn down – an opportunity to run a firm in Seattle that specializes in class-action suits. The couple decides to take the offers before the show ends with them getting married and dancing off to their new future.
5 People Are Calling Her The New Diana
Tonight Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle attended a reception to celebrate female empowerment, which is being hosted by the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. This event marks the launch of 'Platform for Girls Education', a campaign designed to encourage all Commonwealth countries to commit to providing 12 years of quality education for all girls. Prince Harry and Ms. Markle met guests from organisations who are supporting the aim to provide quality education to girls across the Commonwealth. #CHOGM2018 📸PA
Diana was The People’s Princess, and people are expecting Markle to follow in her footsteps by being a more “hands on” royal with the charities she will become the patron of, according to royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams.
Between her love of Prince Harry and her relentless charity work people have drawn parallels between Markle and Diana. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex paid tribute to Harry’s late mother at their wedding with her favorite hymn Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer, and Markle had Diana’s favorite flower, forget-me-nots, in her bouquet.
When it comes to her royal duties, Fitzwilliams has suggested that Meghan will follow Diana’s example.
“Meghan’s feminist credentials have been obvious since her successful protest against a sexist advertisement at the age of 11 and she has emphasized them on the Palace website. At the Royal Foundation Forum, she stressed her support for the MeToo and the Time’s Up movements and that she couldn’t wait to ‘hit the ground running,’” said Fitzwilliams.
He also said it will be fascinating to see the patronages that Markle chooses – and how many – noting that in 1996 Diana cut her involvement to six. The commentator added that he thinks Markle will choose fewer than other royal family members but will be more hands on like Diana.
Prince Harry supports 20 organizations, while Kate Middleton is the patron of 13. Queen Elizabeth is the patron of over 600 organizations and Prince Charles follows with over 400.
4 No More Activism
As a Hollywood celebrity, Markle backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election, expressed regret over Brexit, and attacked Donald Trump as being “misogynistic.” We’ve already talked about how the Royals can’t give political opinions, so any thoughts Markle might have had of future political activism are now a thing of the past.
Robert Lacey, a royal historian and biographer, said that restricting her free expression could be “an existential problem” for Markle, since she is a woman who is politically vocal. The former actress says that she grew up “with a social consciousness to do what I could and speak up when I knew something was wrong.”
But, even though she can no longer be an activist, she will still be able to work on issues important to her, like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who encourage “societal change” through their Heads Together mental health campaign. Markle can focus on issues for women and girls, she just has to change her approach.
Instead of being outspoken on social media she will have to be politically neutral. Markle is already adapting as the newest member of “the firm,” and will advance initiatives through her charity work.
3 She Is Already The Royal Rebel
A lot of cool perks come with Markle’s new title, including her very own coat of arms. It is traditionally a symbolic gift that comes from the father of the bride ahead of the wedding. But, unlike Kate Middleton, whose coat of arms reflects her family name, the palace decided to give Markle her own honor that pays homage to her roots.
The emblem features a blue background signifying the Pacific Ocean and two rays of sunshine representing her home state of California. But, that isn’t the only thing Markle is doing differently than everyone else in the family.
Meghan and Harry exchanged rings during their wedding ceremony, which broke tradition since the royal men don’t wear wedding bands. And, she started her bridal procession alone, making a feminist statement. This made her the first royal bride in British history to walk into her wedding without a father figure on her arm. Prince Charles did join her at the Quire and escorted her to Prince Harry.
She also gave a speech at her wedding reception, even though the tradition is that the groom, best man, and father of the bride are the ones to make a toast.
2 There Is No Privacy
When you are a member of the royal family, absolutely nothing is off limits to the press. Ever since the news broke that she was dating Prince Harry, we have seen home videos of her as an 8-year-old pretending to be a queen, details of her split from Trevor Engelson have emerged, and her extended family members are constantly on TV talking about the wedding Markle didn’t invite them to.
Being a royal is way more intense that being in Hollywood, and when Markle first broke her silence about her relationship with Prince Harry in a Vanity Fair interview last fall – gushing to the world about how in love they are – it caused a divide among fans.
Some were happy for the actress, but others thought she shouldn’t have done the interview after asking for privacy. Surprisingly, Markle revealed that the two dated for six months before it became public knowledge, and she says the only thing that changed was people’s perception.
She also said that there would be a time when they would have to come forward, present themselves, and tell their story, but she wanted people to understand that this was their time. “This is for us,” she said.
1 She Had To Give Up Her Name
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex would like to thank everyone who took part in the celebrations of their wedding on Saturday. They feel so lucky to have been able to share their day with all those gathered in Windsor and also all those who watched the wedding on television across the UK, Commonwealth, and around the world #RoyalWedding
When Doria Ragland gave birth to her daughter, she and her then-husband Thomas Markle named her Rachel Meghan Markle. But, when she entered the world of show business, she changed her name to Meghan Markle. But, her name not only changed again when she married Prince Harry, she lost it all together.
Royal law dictates that Meghan take the female form of her husband’s name, and that means she became Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales. But, there is more. Once the Queen made the Prince the Duke of Sussex, that meant that Meghan is now the Duchess of Sussex.
Even though Meghan’s rank is princess, the palace does not allow her to be “Princess Meghan” because princesses must be born into the family, like Princess Charlotte.
However, things get more complicated when it comes to her surname. The royal family doesn’t have a legal surname, but many members of the family often use Mountbatten-Windsor. However, Harry has used the last name Wales – because his dad is the Prince of Wales. But, if Meghan ever needs a surname, even though members of the royal family usually don’t, the palace has said it will be Mountbatten-Windsor.