Prince Harry has always been a royal renegade. When he was 17, the red-headed prince was taken to a rehab centre after he admitted he had smoked marijuana and illegally drank alcoholic beverages. When he was 27, TMZ released naked pictures of the royal, who was reportedly playing strip billiards in a Las Vegas hotel suite. For over two decades, Harry has been rewriting the royal rule book — and in the process, became known to the world as the fun and charming prince. (No offence, Will.)
And now, Harry has found the perfect partner-in-crime. With American-actress Meghan Markle on his arm, the British Monarchy is receiving the modern treatment it so desperately needs. From pantyhose to PDA, we have an ongoing list tracking every time that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stray from royal protocol:
Meghan closes her own door
When Meghan Markle arrived at London’s Royal Academy for her first solo engagement as Duchess of Sussex, she made a small gesture of independence that shook the Internet. Without her prince on her arm, Markle rolled up in a fancy black car in a fancy black Givenchy dress. And then, she did a thing that (apparently) few royals have done before: she shut the car door.
— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews) September 25, 2018
Doesn’t really seem worthy of a headline, does it. But according to Twitter—where this earth-shattering news was the top trending story—it’s almost totally unheard of for an on-duty royal to close their own door. Is this further evidence that she is a down-the-earth princess? Because if is, Kate Middleton deserves some props too.
Meghan has an opinion about abortion
Great to chat with Meghan Markle, Duchess Of Sussex, about Repeal and the importance of her feminist activism. So important to have people in her position championing women’s rights. Total sounder! pic.twitter.com/Vjdquo45CP
— Una Mullally (@UnaMullally) July 10, 2018
It’s totally okay for royals to have political opinions—as long as they don’t publicly share them. As part of their offical royal tour of England, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attended a fancy garden party in Dublin. At the event, Markle struck up conversation with a few pro-choice activists and politicians who supported Ireland’s recent abortion referendum.
One feminist journalist tweeted about her positive interaction with the feminist Duchess, while senator Catherine Noone tweeted: “The Duchess and I had a chat about the recent referendum result — she watched with interest and was pleased to see the result.” The Irish politician realized the epic mistake she’d made, and quickly deleted the tweet, sending out instead: “I should say she seemed pleased — she was interested and very measured, not political at all.” She later deleted the second tweet too.
Markle is a vocal feminist, so we probably could’ve predicted her stance on women’s reproductive rights. (And secretly, we hope this is a rule she keeps on breaking.)
Meghan wears a sleeveless dress to her first Trooping the Colour
Meghan Markle made her Buckingham balcony debut on June 9 in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s birthday. The of-the-shoulder silhouette of her pale pink, princess-worthy outfit from designer Carolina Herrera was, in fact, not so princess worthy after all. Tabloids were quick to call out the Duchess of Sussex’s dress as a break from unspoken royal protocol, with Page Six claiming: “fashion tradition usually dictates that Royal women do not wear off-shoulder or other more revealing styles.”
For the past seven years, Kate Middleton has worn dresses with sleeves that reach past the elbow, People notes, as did Princess Diana when she attended the festivities. But let’s not get our pantyhose—which Meghan Markle is wearing now!— in a twist, fashion rules were made to be broken.
Meghan’s coat of arms does not include her family name
With the tiara and the title also comes other cool royal perks, like your very own emblem. Now that’s she’s officially a member of the British monarchy, the Duchess of Sussex has received a personalized coat of arms. Traditionally, the symbolic gift usually goes to the father of the bride ahead of the royal wedding—Kate Middleton’s coat of arms not only reflects the Middleton family, but also her mother Carole’s maiden name (Goldsmith). With the newest addition to the family, however, the palace has decided to bestow the honour on only Markle herself.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 25, 2018
The coat of arms, however, does pay homage to Markle’s roots. The custom design includes a blue background (the Pacific Ocean) and two golden rays (sunshine), which Kensington Palace says is representative of the Duchess’ home state of California.
A two ring royal wedding ceremony
Usually, royal men don’t sport wedding bands after they marry. Harry’s grandfather, father and brother have all opted to follow this tradition by not wearing a ring after they wed their respective wives. However, Markle and Harry have chosen to break this tradition, exchanging rings in the ceremony that they will continue to wear. This signifies equality in the marriage and is a modern step for the monarchy.
Meghan wore a crossbody bag
The princess-to-be arrived at Edinburgh Castle on February 13, 2018 wearing an appropriately chic and seemingly inoffensive outfit: Burberry coat, Veronica Beard pants, Birks rings and a Strathberry bag. But it’s not what Markle was wearing that broke protocol, per se, it was how she was wearing it.
GASP! A crossbody! What a shockingly common and un-royal — AKA comfortable and practical — way to carry one’s lipgloss and cellphone.
According to royal expert William Hanson, royals always carry a clutch as a means to avoid shaking hands. “It is protocol that you do not extend your hand to any member of the royal family (blood royal or those who have married into the family) unless their hand extends first,” Hanson told the Daily Mail. “The Duchess of Cambridge may well prefer not to shake hands with certain people—but there are other ways to achieve this, as used by the Queen and other members of the royal family, [rather] than opting for a clutch over a bag with a strap.”
Christmas with the Queen
After weeks of rumours, Kensington Palace officially confirmed last December what we all were wishing for: an un-wed Meghan Markle would be spending Christmas with her prince. Markle’s invitation was, of course, a break from royal tradition, with Markle being not yet being married into the monarchy. But it seems with Prince Harry, rules don’t apply, because a palace spokesperson told AP that “you can expect to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Ms. Markle at Sandringham on Christmas Day.”
Meghan ignored the pantyhose policy
The royal family has an unspoken policy about wearing pantyhose in public. It’s not a style-code that’s set in stone, per say, but it’s a tradition that’s long been upheld by Queen Elizabeth, Kate Middleton and the ruling ladies that came before them.
Until now! When Meghan Markle stepped out with Prince Harry for their official engagement photocall, the world ogled every inch of the American actress’ outfit. The Internet went wild for Markle’s snow white overcoat by LINE the Label and her opal earrings from Birks, but royal watchers were quick to note the one thing she wasn’t wearing: pantyhose.
They’re tied the knot in May
There’s nothing better than a spring wedding, right? WRONG. It turns out, a marriage in May would not have been approved by the Prince’s great-great-great granny, Queen Victoria. The late, great monarch believed it was unlucky to marry in the fifth month of the calendar year, buying into the superstitious rhyme: “Marry in May, and rue the day.”
Meghan’s been married before
Before hooking up with Harry, Meghan was in a long-term relationship with producer Trevor Engelson. They Hollywood powercouple married in 2011, after seven years of dating, and divorced in August of 2013. Now, Engelson is making a show about a man who has to share custody of his child after his ex-wife marries into the British monarchy. According to Deadline, this is the plot: “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.” GROSS.
Previously, members of the Royal Family have not been allowed to marry divorcees. As you may recall — from history books, or from season one of The Crown — Princess Margaret had to break off her relationship with Peter Townsend because he was divorced, and Edward VIII abdicated from the throne in order to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson. But it’s not that big of a deal anymore: Prince Harry and Prince William’s father, Prince Charles, married fellow divorcee Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in a civil ceremony in 2005.
This means that Prince Harry will be the first royal family member to have a church wedding with a divorcee. In 2002, the Church of England agreed that divorced people could remarry in church — with the discretion of the priest, of course. After all, it’s only 2017.
Meghan isn’t Anglican
For centuries, it was forbidden for royals to marry a Roman Catholic. However in 2015, an amendment to the Act of Settlement of 1701 made that allowed British royals to have an interfaith marriage. Markle has never *actually* discussed her religious affiliations openly, though it has been widely reported that her father is Jewish and she attended an all-girls Catholic high school in Los Angeles.
Before her Windsor Castle wedding to Prince Harry, Meghan will be baptized and confirmed in the Church of England. By completing these religious sacraments, Markle honours Queen Elizabeth, who, as the sovereign, holds the title of “Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.”
They’re all about the PDA
Okay, so calling a hand-holding PDA is a little extreme. But hey, *technically* it is a public display of affection!
There are no specific anti-PDA rules, but public displays of affection have previously been avoided by the royal family at official events, due to their position as working representatives of the British monarchy. For example: Prince William and Kate Middleton have been photographed holding hands less than a dozen times in the past 10 years (!!!).
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have ignored this unspoken rule at pretty much every opportunity. When they made their first public appearance, the couple shared a smooch. During their joint appearance at Toronto’s Invictus Games, they were photographed holding hands. Even when they stepped out together as an engaged couple, Markle and Harry couldn’t keep their hands off of each other. Not that we’re complaining or anything…more PDA-filled moments please!
Meghan’s Vanity Fair cover
In Vanity Fair’s October cover story, @MeghanMarkle opens up about living in the spotlight, starring on @Suits_USA, and her whirlwind royal romance: “I think it’s really simple. We’re two people who are really happy and in love.” Photograph by @therealpeterlindbergh.
It’s not unprecedented for a royal to grace a magazine cover (after all, Kate Middleton was in British Vogue), but to open up about her private life with Harry pre-engagement was a big shock for royal watchers. Here’s the major takeaway: Prince Harry and Markle are madly in love and they’re not afraid to share it with the world.
“We’re two people who are really happy and in love,” she said. “We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people’s perception. Nothing about me changed. I’m still the same person that I am, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship.”
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