What seemed like the perfect match in the beginning eventually turned into a nightmare. Meghan Markle’s tenure as a working member of the royal family had its ups and downs. And in the end, we all know it ended with her and Harry leaving the royal family for good, criticizing them, and accusing them of bad treatment.
While it began as a beautiful story, with the then-Prince Charles even offering to walk her down the aisle at her wedding as her own father was famously not able to attend, Meghan didn’t enjoy royal life. Not only does it come with plenty of duties, but the monarchy also has its own rules – and its members are expected to follow them. They include everything from dress codes to how one behaves towards other family members.
Some of those traditions and rules Meghan was okay with. However, according to one expert, the Duchess of Sussex absolutely “hated” one of them. And it was quite an important rule she didn’t want to follow.
The royal family has many rules and traditions – from how and what to eat, to how to act when appearing at royal events, and even how they greet the public.
Some of the royal rules are strict and absolutely cannot be broken. Others aren’t set in stone but are more guidelines of how a royal family member is supposed to act or do in certain situations.
Even so, the royal rulebook likely differs significantly from when the average person and their friends go out for dinner.
Rules the royal family must follow
Let’s start with one we all know: greeting a Royal Family member. Buckingham Palace writes on its website that there are “no obligatory codes of behavior when meeting [The King] or a member of the Royal Family.” However, “many people wish to observe the traditional forms.”
For men, one should greet in a neck bow (from the head only), while women do a small curtsy. But shaking hands in the usual way is also accepted.
When sitting down for dinner, there are several rules and guidelines. When the King is dining with guests, following his lead is essential. In fact, Charles can even determine when people start – and stop – eating.
When dining with His Majesty, Kate, William – or Meghan, for that matter, even though that will likely not occur in a long time – should never begin eating before King Charles. Also, when the King places his knife and fork in the finished position – at 6.30 with the tines of the fork facing upwards – everyone should follow, whether there is food left on their plate or not.
“Starting your meal before or ending it dramatically after the [King] would be noticed by others,” etiquette expert William Hanson said.
Another formal rule is that you should never scrape along a near-empty plate.
“It is not a breach of protocol to make noise with the cutlery on the plate, if it happens once or twice by accident, no issue, but to continue to do so is especially unfortunate,” Hanson added.
When thinking about the royals and food, it’s easy to close our eyes and imagine grand buffets filled with all kinds of goods and treats. Of course, the royals eat very healthy and well-prepared food from their personal chefs and kitchen staff, but there are some things the royals are forbidden from eating.
How to greet a royal family member
Shellfish, such as shrimp, oysters, and lobster, are not allowed to be served when the royal family sits down to eat. According to Darren McGrady – chef at Buckingham Palace from 1982 to 1993 – this is because of the risk of getting food poisoning or allergic reactions. Especially when dining out or abroad.
Speaking with the Telegraph, McGrady dropped quite a bombshell, saying that carbs are also pretty much banned.
“No potatoes, rice or pasta for dinner,” the royal chef said.
The list of rules is long indeed. Some might seem ridiculous, but they are essential. But while these rules exist, Meghan and other members have broken some. And in the Duchess of Sussex’s case, there was one that she reportedly hated.
When meeting them, royals aren’t permitted to sign autographs to well-wishers wanting a fine souvenir. King Charles, Prince William, Princess Kate, and Queen Camilla must obey the same rules. Whether it still is something Harry and Meghan must abide by, even though they have stepped down from their roles as senior royals, we don’t know. According to the Express, the long-standing practice remains due to the risk of the signature being forged.
“I’m not allowed to write my signature. It’s just one of those rules,” Kate Middleton told a group of youngsters while appearing on a picnic at the Chelsea Flower Show in London.
But Meghan Markle didn’t quite have the same answer when she was asked for an autograph back in 2018, when on a royal engagement in Cardiff.
How Meghan Markle broke royal protocol
Meghan gave 10-year-old Caitlin Clarke an autograph with a heart and a smiley face.
Although Meghan misspelled Caitlin’s name, writing “Hi Kaitlin,” it didn’t seem to matter.
“I don’t really care,” the 10-year-old girl said. “My heart is still racing. I’ve never got a royal autograph before. This is going to make everyone jealous.”
What to wear is another classic royal etiquette and rule. There are many examples of how, for example, Kate Middleton has broken the royal dress code, and the same goes for Meghan.
In her first official photo shoot, when she and Harry announced their engagement, Meghan wore strappy heels without stockings. That is, according to the royal dress code, a big no-no. At least at the time, as Queen Elizabeth II was still alive.
“You never see a royal without their nude stockings. Meghan, from what I can see from the engagement photographs, it doesn’t look like she was wearing tights or stockings,” royal expert Victoria Arbiter told Insider. “I would say that’s really the only hard, steadfast rule in terms of what the Queen requires.”
Some royal rules are making life easier for the royal family. However, as mentioned, there was one rule that Meghan Markle absolutely hated.
In his book Gilded Youth: An Intimate History of Growing Up in the Royal Family, Tom Quinn cited a former staff member who claimed that Meghan was struggling with one rule during her tenure as a working royal.
Meghan Markle “hated” this royal rule
The royal source claimed that she “hated being controlled by royal protocol,” for example, when leaving the house.
One crucial rule within the royal sphere is that the family members must always report where they are going before leaving their homes. And it didn’t suit Meghan well.
“The fact, for example, that at Kensington Palace, royals have to announce in advance when they are leaving the Palace and where they are going,” the royal source told Quinn.
“This is partly for security but partly also to avoid a situation where a senior royal is upstaged by a more junior royal leaving just when the more important person leaves.”
Meghan Markle thought the rule was “silly.” However, it was “absolutely essential,” according to the source.
“I don’t think in the whole of history there was ever a greater divide between what someone expected when they became a member of the Royal Family and what they discovered it was really like. She was hugely disappointed,” the Palace worker continued, adding that other royal family members had the same thoughts about the rule.
“I think Charles agreed with Meghan on many points – he thought much of the protocol was silly, but it is hard to change. William has bought into it, which is why George and, Louis, and Charlotte are so conventional and look like something out of the 1950s.”
“Meghan wants something different from this for her children – she wants American freedom to do and say what you like and go where you like,” the expert added.
Rumors of Harry and Meghan divorce
Harry and Meghan have a new life after leaving the royal family and settling in Montecito, California. Enjoying a sunny lifestyle with their children, Archie and Lilibet. However, in the last few weeks, the focus has been on whether their relationship is cracking.
Meghan has pretty much always worn her ring on her left finger. A couple of weeks ago, the Duchess was pictured without it.
The American tabloid RadarOnline covered rumors of Harry and Meghan getting a divorce in recent weeks. They claimed that the couple was “taking time apart,” however, a source close to Harry and Meghan told Page Six that the claim was “literally made up.”
Both Us Weekly and People reported on Harry and Meghan’s relationship and marriage, with Us saying that there was a reason why Harry and Meghan wouldn’t publicly comment on the reports of their “troubled marriage.” All in all, they have no intention of discussing any rumors.
“Harry and Meghan believe that feeding into that false narrative only gives it more attention,” the source told Us Weekly. “Sure, their relationship has challenges, but they are 100 percent committed to making their marriage work.”
A second source said, “So much of Harry and Meghan’s time together has felt like overcoming strife from all sides. They just do it together. They rely on each other for strength and always have.”
“They have a beautiful life”
“There’s not too much work right now for either of them, so that does cause some issues of feeling isolated,” the second source continued, adding that the one thing they have tensions over is that Harry misses his friends in the UK.
“Back home, his summers were full of travel and weddings and exploring. Harry’s made friends in California, but they’re not like his London crew.” Still, the second source said that these days, Harry and Meghan “are together 24/7.”
The Sun reported that there had been some tensions in the Duke and Duchess’ marriage. But who doesn’t have that in a marriage?
An insider says, “they disagree sometimes on certain approaches. Meghan would love to be done with all the legal stuff. But she’s still supportive of him as she knows how important it is to him. But she is ready to move on. They have a beautiful life in California and new friends. Montecito is paradise. Harry is very outdoorsy, he loves it there.”
Harry and Meghan are reportedly looking for a house in Malibu, which indicates they want to move closer to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, a royal insider told People that the couple doesn’t have a five-year plan for making it in Hollywood and that there isn’t a deadline for finding success.
Instead, royal life “wasn’t a world they wanted for their family. Everything else flows from that [desire to build a life outside of it], for whatever time period it takes.”
While Harry and Meghan’s marriage is or isn’t at its best, what happened last week had royal fans go wild. The Duchess was out on lunch with two friends, Kadi Lee and Cleo Wade, celebrating a birthday. Most likely, it was a late birthday celebration for Meghan, as she celebrated her 42nd birthday on August 4, 2023.
Meghan pictured without her engagement ring
Her friend Kad posted a picture of the three of them on Instagram – but fans noticed something was missing. A gold band replaced Meghan’s diamond ring.
Harry proposed to Meghan in 2017 with a three-stone diamond engagement ring. It reportedly cost Hary around $150 000, and the center scone, a three-carat cushion-cut diamond, was sourced from Botswana, where the couple fell in love. Moreover, the two smaller round-cut diamonds on either side of the middle stone were borrowed from Princess Diana’s jewelry collection. Harry said it was to “make sure she’s with us on this crazy journey together.”
Rumors rapidly spread about the couple following the picture of Meghan not wearing the ring. , and the words of divorce seemed more likely than ever. However, there are several other suggestions as to why Meghan wasn’t wearing her engagement ring.
Louella Anderson, co-founder of the dating app So Syncd, said it could simply be trying out a different style.
“Meghan Markle has always had her own unique sense of style,” she told the Mirror. “It’s possible that her decision to change or remove the engagement ring reflects her evolving taste or desire for something different. She’s not over the top about her jewelry and usually chooses to keep her look quite simple and classic. Taking off the ring could be her way of expressing this personal preference for a less flashy look.”
Anderson added, “Meghan’s engagement ring was particularly large and may have been uncomfortable to wear on a day-to-day basis. It could be practicality that has caused her to take off the ring and opt for something more comfortable.”
Ring is reportedly “being fixed”
Meghan Markle isn’t the only one in the royal spare who has been in public without their engagement ring. Kate Middleton isn’t always wearing her sapphire and diamond engagement ring either, with one reason being “health and safety.”
Another reason could be, as a source tells Page Six, that the ring is “being fixed.”
As mentioned, royal insiders have denied that Harry and Meghan are even close to a divorce. Louella Anderson takes the same stance.
“There is speculation that Meghan has removed her engagement ring as a symbol of her and Prince Harry’s relationship status potentially being rocky,” she said. “However, it’s clear Meghan Markle still has a ring on her wedding finger. It’s just a much more understated and practical piece of jewelry and one that is likely more suited to her personal tastes.”
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