Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is now English royalty, and with that noble title comes a lot of responsibility and a whole new set of rules. The duchess did have to follow a certain amount of royal protocol when she was engaged to Prince Harry, but the royal rules Meghan Markle has to follow now that she's a duchess are even more extensive. Let's put it this way: it's a good thing Meghan's a trained actress because she has a lot of memorizing to do.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Meghan has a new list of rules to follow. And it also shouldn't be surprising that some of these rules applied when she and Harry first got engaged. Still, to us Americans, it may still seem foreign that she has a legitimate list of guidelines she has to adhere to now. After all, politicians in the United States don't have a list of rules like this to follow when they're on official outings or meeting the public. The royal family has lasted for years, however, by following its rules and sticking to tradition, while still leaving room for things to evolve (albeit slowly). So let's go over the new rules Meghan Markle has to follow now that she's officially a member of the royal family:
1. Bye Bye, Selfies!
Meghan and Harry are going to meet a boatload of people, both English nobility and general fans of the royal family alike, but they're not allowed to take selfies with them. On one of her first outings with Harry after they got engaged, according to Express, Meghan politely turned down a request from a fan to take a selfie, saying, "We're not allowed to take selfies." The reason for this is apparently so no one can literally (and metaphorically) turn their backs on the royals, and I'm sorry, Queen Elizabeth, I just find that so funny.
2. So Long, Instagram, Twitter, And Facebook
The duchess deleted her social media accounts (she was fairly active on Instagram when she wasn't dating Harry) as part of her royal duties. All social media for her is now handled by the royal family's various accounts, but most updates about her and Harry are handled through the Kensington Palace account, as are the updates about Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Meghan also had to shut down her lifestyle blog, The Tig. It was previously very active and included interviews with successful women, like Claire Ptak — the woman Meghan and Harry asked to bake their wedding cake.
3. Entering A Room With The Royal Family Is Done In Order Of The Line Of Succession
During official royal events, the family will enter said events in the order of succession. That makes Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip first (duh), then Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, followed by Prince William and Kate Middleton and their children, and then Harry and Meghan.
4. No Voting, And By Extension, No Expressing Political Opinion
Royals famously stay neutral when it comes to political beliefs. It's not illegal for them to vote or anything like that, but it's rather an old tradition that they do not break.
5. No Going Out Alone
This one's an obvious one. Meghan and Harry will never be found without security detail now.
6. No More Wedges
According to Vanity Fair, Queen Elizabeth absolutely hates wedge shoes. Sorry, Meghan!
7. No Crossing Your Legs
According to E! News, women in the royal family are not to cross their legs when they sit. It's not considered appropriate.
8. Who Wears Short Shorts? Not Meghan Markle!
Meghan's clothes are already up to royal standards with her own modern twist, but according to Express, she and the other women in the royal family are expected to be dressed all ~ladylike~ for every public occasion. She nailed that rule with the outfit she wore for Prince Charles' 70th birthday celebration on May 22, which was also her and Prince Harry's first public appearance as a married couple.
9. You Don't Eat Before The Queen
One of the oldest rules in the book is that if you're at dinner (or any meal) with the Queen, you don't start eating until she does, according to Express.
10. You Also Don't Go To Bed Until The Queen Has
The same rule above applies to when good, ol' Queen Elizabeth decides to turn in after a night out.
11. There's A Proper Way To Hold A Cup Of Tea
Etiquette expert Myka Meier said in an interview with People that Meghan will have to learn the traditional way of holding a cup of tea (if she hasn't already). The proper form is apparently use your thumb and index finger to hold the top of the handle and use your middle finger for support. Huh, who knew?
12. Here's A Grim One... She Has To Travel With Clothes Suitable For Mourning
This rule reportedly started when Queen Elizabeth's father died while she and Prince Philip were on a vacation. When they returned from the trip immediately following his death, she waited on the plane until proper black clothing could be brought for her to change into so she would be in the appropriate mourning attire. Now, members of the royal family always travel with mourning clothes in case a family member dies while they're traveling. Dark stuff.
This one isn't really a rule, more just a thing that happens when given an official title, but she won't go by Meghan Markle anymore. It's not clear whether Meghan took Harry's last name (Mountbatten-Windsor) when they got married or if she stayed Meghan Markle, but her official title is Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex, as well as Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales. She can't have the title of Princess Meghan because she's not a blood relative of the royal family, so the only princess title she is granted has Harry's real first name after it, but you'll scarcely find anyone actually calling her by that title. The Duchess of Sussex is going to be the go-to.
You got all of that, Meghan?