A Comprehensive List of Royal Rules Broken by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Just a couple of royal rebels.
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, here are all the times that Prince Harry and the future Her Royal Highness Meghan Markle broke royal protocol:
Two rings in the 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 starts her bridal procession alone
With the world watching, Meghan Markle will make a striking feminist statement as she walks down the aisle of St. George Chapel. Markle has chosen to walk solo for the beginning portion of her bridal procession, becoming the first royal bride in UK history to walk into their wedding ceremony without a father-figure on their arm.
When she reaches the Quire, she will be joined by Prince Charles, who stepped in to escort his future daughter-in-law after her own father, Thomas Markle, fell ill.
The plan for Markle to begin her wedding walk alone, however, was in place even when her father was scheduled to give her away at the alter. The plan is said to be her own, and the decision shows that she is ready to assert herself as an independent woman prepared to shake up royal norms.
They’re planning to have a lemon elderflower cake at their wedding
The reason why this is a big deal is because they’re forgoing the ‘traditional’ royal wedding cake in order to have this tart, buttercream-covered confection on their big day. What’s the customary royal cake, you ask? Alison McGill, editor in chief of Weddingbells tells us it’s apparently fruitcake.
“Queen Victoria and Prince Albert served the traditional British wedding cake, as have countless royals through the years including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, as well as Prince William and Kate Middleton, whose elaborate eight-layer cake was filled with fruitcake!”
Fruitcake has been the cake of choice for upperclass and aristocratic British families for generations, Chris Dodd, pastry chef at London’s Dalloway Terrace, explained to Vogue.
“A fruitcake was originally a symbol of wealth and prosperity because of its precious ingredients such as dried fruits, alcohol, and spices. Furthermore, the cake, in a way, represented the vastness of the British empire, using ingredients from far-flung corners of the globe.”
It may be a royal tradition for various reasons, but if there’s one thing we know about the royal couple, it’s that they don’t shy away from unconventional choices. And who’s the person helping them flout tradition this time? It’s California-born, London-based pastry chef Claire Ptak, who owns a bakery in East London, and has been featured on Markle’s now-defunct lifestyle blog The Tig. Ptak shared the news on her bakery’s Instagram page, adding that she and the couple “share so many of the same values regarding food provenance, sustainability, seasonality and of course, flavour!”
Kensington Palace gave us a few more details, stating on Instagram that “The couple have asked Claire to create a lemon elderflower cake that will incorporate the bright flavours of spring. It will be covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers.” We’ll take that over a fruitcake, any day of the week.
For their wedding cake Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle have chosen pastry chef Claire Ptak, owner of the London-based bakery @violetcakeslondon. The couple have asked Claire to create a lemon elderflower cake that will incorporate the bright flavours of spring. It will be covered with buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers🍰 Claire Ptak, who was raised in California, focuses on using seasonal and organic ingredients in her cakes. Ms. Markle previously interviewed Chef Ptak for her lifestyle website The Tig. Prince Harry and Ms. Markle are looking forward to sharing the cake with guests at their wedding at Windsor Castle on May 19th. 📸PA
Meghan gets political
As a rule, members of the royal family aren’t supposed to make political statements. (This, we can only assume, is why Kate Middleton opted for a green dress for this year’s BAFTAs, rather than wearing a black gown in solidarity with the Time’s Up movement.)
When Markle joined Prince William, Kate Middleton and her fiancé Prince Harry for the first-ever Royal Foundation Forum, she may have broken this protocol by sharing her opinions on the subject of female empowerment.
“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.” She specifically referenced the current #MeToo and Time’s Up movements as well: “Right now, with so many campaigns like #MeToo and Time’s Up, there’s no better time to continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people supporting them.”
Meghan wore a crossbody bag
The princess-to-be arrived at Edinburgh Castle 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 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.”“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
Meghan will give her own wedding speech
In the distinguished realm of royal weddings, it’s relatively uncommon for the bride to deliver a speech. The honour of lifting a glass and sharing your thoughts has long been reserved for the groom, the father of the bride, and the best man (AKA, all of the important men in the room.)
But Meghan Markle has never been one to shy away from using her voice. According to The Sunday Times, Markle will be giving a toast at her wedding reception this May, with a source saying that Meghan will pay an “affectionate” tribute to new husband Prince Harry and say thank you to Queen Elizabeth, who is so graciously hosting the celebration at her castle. Harry, of course, gives his full support.
Christmas with the Queen
After weeks of rumours, Kensington Palace has officially confirmed what we all were wishing for: Meghan Markle will be spending Christmas with her prince. Markle’s invitation is, 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.”
Here’s what’s expected to go down: Markle will attend church with the Windsor family Christmas morning, then she will join the royal’s holiday lunch and and will participate in the family-wide gift exchange. Does this mean Markle has to buy the Queen a present? Will she have to bring a pie for the holiday feast? We have so many questions… And on a side, but very important, note: this is the first time we can expect to see Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle together! (Cue the paparazzi pics.)
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 tying 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
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.”