She’s already swapped the Hollywood hills for a quaint cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace but once she has a wedding ring on her finger, Meghan Markle‘s newfound royal life will seem worlds away from her upbringing.
On May 19, millions of spectators across the globe will tune in to watch the former actress wed Prince Harry at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
And though the run-up to the ceremony has been smooth, no number of public engagements or official photoshoots can prepare the 36-year-old for royal life.
Ever since the couple’s engagement, Meghan has worked tirelessly to fine-tune her royal wardrobe and perfect her curtsey but once she’s said “I do”, there’s a whole book of Buckingham Palace-approved rules she’ll need to adopt.
From taking selfies with members of the public to holding hands with Prince Harry, these are the things Meghan will no longer be allowed to do once she’s a fully-fledged member of the royal family.
1. Use social media
Shortly after Meghan Markle’s first royal engagement with Prince Harry, the 36-year-old shut down all of her social media accounts. Before meeting her future husband, the former actress had a serious fanbase with 1.9 million followers on Instagram and 350,000 Twitter devotees.
But just months into dating the royal, Meghan hinted that things between the pair were growing serious. The 36-year-old shut down her personal blog ‘The Tig’ after three years of running the popular site.
In a thank you note, the actress penned: “After close to three beautiful years on this adventure with you, it’s time to say goodbye to The Tig. You’ve made my days brighter and filled this experience with so much joy.”
She continued, “Keep finding those Tig moments of discovery, keep laughing and taking risks, and keep being the change you wish to see in the world. Above all, don’t ever forget your worth – as I’ve told you time and time again: you, my sweet friend, you are enough. Thank you for everything.”
From now on, the soon-to-be newlyweds will share social media outlets with the rest of the royal family. At the moment, the public can keep up to date with the couple’s latest plans via the official Kensington Palace Twitter and Instagram platforms.
Click below for a timeline of Meghan and Harry’s relationship:
2. Take selfies with the public
While meeting flag-bearing crowds on royal engagements, it may be tempting for members of the family to engage in selfies with the public but it’s sadly against royal protocol to participate.
And Meghan is already learning the ropes after she had to turn down a couple when they asked the former actress for a picture on one of her first royal engagements.
However, on her debut trip to Belfast the 36-year-old was more than happy to pose for several photographs as iPhone-bearing fans spoke to the royal-to-be.
One youngster managed to bag a quick selfie with the Queen back in 2014 much to the dismay of Her Majesty’s entourage.
3. Sign autographs
Meghan may be used to penning elaborate autographs thanks to her acting career and past calligraphy experience but she is no longer allowed to write autographs for royal fans.
Due to the danger of forgery, members of the family are not permitted to sign anything unless it is an official document – such as a marriage certificate.
However, back in 2011 Prince Charles broke the age-old rule and signed an autograph for victims of the Cornwall floods.
4. Pack on the PDA
Ever since their engagement news broke, Harry and Meghan haven’t held back and continued to be fairly intimate with one another during official outings.
But the soon-to-be newlyweds may have to bow to royal courtesy after their May 19 nuptials. Although it is not a written rule, members of the royal family are reportedly asked to keep any public displays of affection on the down-low.
Royal etiquette expert Myka Meier told People: “Meghan and Prince Harry holding hands at a royal engagement is a refreshingly modern approach to their new role both as a couple and as representative of the royal family.”
For example, it is rare for the public to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge holding hands. The first time they were officially photographed kissing was at their 2011 nuptials on the Buckingham Palace balcony and they have rarely held hands on public engagements since.
While Harry and Meghan on the other hand have adopted a more laid back approach, often stroking each other’s backs or clasping hands during public walkabouts.
Though it is of course important to note that Harry is currently fifth in line to the throne (soon to be sixth thanks to the third royal baby) therefore it is seriously unlikely that he will ever become King. Therefore, there may be a little flexibility when it comes to the royal rulebook for the couple.
5. Exercise her right to vote
Although it is not enforced by law, it is considered “unconstitutional” for Queen Elizabeth II to vote according to the official UK parliament website. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that other senior members of the royal family cast their vote in general elections.
Following the wedding, Meghan will seek a British citizenship though is unlikely she will participate in future UK elections.
6. Wear colourful nail polish
Ever since her engagement to Prince Harry, Meghan has opted for a pearl-hued manicure due to royal protocol. The Duchess of Cambridge and Her Majesty for instance, only don Essie’s ‘Ballet Slippers’ hue.
According to the beauty giant’s website, back in 1989 the Queen’s hairdresser sent Essie a letter requesting a bottle of the polish referring to it as, “the only colour Her Majesty would wear.”
And as a consequence to its Buckingham Palace stamp of approval, 30 bottles of the hue are sold out every hour in the United States.
We wonder if Meghan has borrowed from her future sister-in-law yet…
7. Use oversized accessories
Just months into the couple’s engagement, Meghan managed to cement her status in the fashion sphere. With sell-out Strathberry bags glued to the crook of her arm on public engagements to her trademark messy bun, the royal-to-be has eschewed tradition thus far.
But once she becomes a member of the royal clan, the 36-year-old may have to give up her penchant for on-trend accessories.
When the Duchess of Cambridge engages in public walkabouts, she is rarely seen without a clutch. Be it her go-to Mulberry or an LK Bennet number, one of her hands is always occupied.
Why, you ask? Well, carrying a miniature clutch enables female members of the royal family to subtly avoid shaking hands with members of the public if they would prefer not to.
It was a sartorial trick first used by Princess Diana to cover her modesty, as Anya Hindmarch told The Telegraph back in 2009: “We used to laugh when we designed what she called her ‘cleavage bags,’ little satin clutches which she would cover her cleavage with when she stepped out of cars.”
8. Remove her coat in public
It just so happens that there’s a reason behind the Duchess of Cambridge’s coat-heavy wardrobe (despite the fact that they’re seriously chic).
When dining with Norwegian royals, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, on the Scandinavian royal tour, the 36-year-old kept her Dolce and Gabbana number buttoned up.
According to sources, it’s due to an old-fashioned rule of royal etiquette.
As a consequence to her status, it is regarded ‘unladylike’ for the Duchess of Cambridge to remove her jacket in public. And should the 36-year-old need to remove a layer, she must first step away from the camera’s glare.
This unwritten rule will of course apply to Meghan. But luckily, she has a penchant for Sentaler numbers just like her future sister-in-law.
9. Forgo tights
It is against royal etiquette for female members of the royal family to go without a pair of tights. Even if the Duchess of Cambridge is photographed in a midi skirt or knee-grazing dress, the 36-year-old will always be wearing a pair of tights beneath.
Come the summer months, the royal simply switches to a flesh-hued pair.
So far, Meghan has refrained from anything but knee-hugging skirts and floor-scraping flares despite her rule-breaking wardrobe.
10. Sit cross-legged
Although it is not an official rule, the Duchess of Cambridge is rarely photographed sitting cross-legged.
According to Hello!, female members of the royal family are advised to sit in the ‘Duchess Slant’ whereby they keep their knees and ankles firmly together.
Princess Diana was famed for sitting in the posture while carrying out public engagements.
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