When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry on May 19, her life completely changed. Joining the royal family certainly comes with perks and privileges for a former “commoner.” However, the American actress also entered a world filled with guidelines and restrictions.
What will this new life be like for the newlywed now that she’s a member of the British royal family? Here are the ways Markle’s life has (and will continue to change) now that she is a royal.
Unless She Gives Up Her U.S. Citizenship, She’ll Still Have To Pay Taxes
It’s still to-be-determined if Markle will retain her U.S. citizenship. If she does, she’ll still be responsible for filing taxes in the U.S.
She Can’t Vote
While technically not a British law, members of the monarchy follow the Queen’s lead and do not vote or get involved in public political discussions.
No More Acting Career
Markle traded in her acting career for the life of a duchess. She played lawyer Rachel Zane for seven years on the USA Network series “Suits” until she moved to London to live with Prince Harry permanently.
Blogging Is Out, Too
Markle shut down her lifestyle blog The Tig (named after her favorite wine, Tignanello) before her wedding. She wrote a sweet goodbye message to her readers and fans, encouraging them to “keep finding those Tig moments of discovery, keep laughing and taking risks, and keep being ‘the change you wish to see in the world.'”
No Running For Office
Also following the Queen’s lead, Markle may not run for any sort of political office. The royal family prefers their contributions to politics to be strictly “ceremonial.”
Markle Plans To Become A British Citizen
Markle plans to become a British citizen and will need to go through the proper procedures to secure her status. The first step is obtaining a family visa to stay with her new husband.
So Long, Social Media
Members of the royal family have an official press office who take care of everything from news releases to social media. As a result, Markle had to say goodbye to her social media accounts. (The only member of the royal family who does have a personal, public Instagram account appears to be Princess Eugenie.)
Lack Of Privacy
As an actress, Markle had some experience being in the public eye. But even before her wedding, she got a taste of what her new life would be like as the media ramped up coverage of every detail of her life. Even her own family members dished some dirt about her before the wedding.
Fur Is Technically Forbidden
All the way back in 1137, King Edward III banned everyone, including the royals, from wearing fur. Over the years, that rule has been broken many times, so Markle may be able to get away with it as well. Middleton has stepped out wearing fur on more than one occasion (however, we don’t know whether the duchess is sporting real or faux fur).
No Presents On Christmas Morning
Christmas is a big deal for the royal family. They all retreat to Sandringham House, the Queen’s country estate in Norfolk, for the holidays. But they don’t gather around the tree on Dec. 25 to open presents in their pajamas. Instead, they exchange gifts at teatime on Christmas Eve.
She Might Cut Down On Carbs
When Markle is dining at Buckingham Palace, she won’t find pasta, rice or potatoes on the menu. The Queen doesn’t like those starchy foods, so she’s banned them from palace meals. Garlic is also on the do-not-eat list — which makes sense because the royals wouldn’t want to be caught with bad breath when they’re out greeting the public.
She’ll Have To Keep Her Coat On
If Markle arrives at a public event wearing a coat, she’ll have to keep it on for the duration. Why? Removing your coat in public is not viewed as “ladylike” by the royals. Fortunately, Markle’s wardrobe includes many stylish coats, so she should have no trouble following this rule.
There’s A Right Way To Sip Tea
Royals are expected to hold their teacups with the thumb and index finger, leaving the middle finger free to hold the bottom of the handle. Ladies should also be careful to drink from the same spot. Otherwise, they could end up with unsightly lipstick all over their teacups.
Ramped-Up Security Detail
With the lack of privacy and her new elevated position, Markle now has a new level of security detail to keep her safe. We’re talking 24-hour/365-day-a-year coverage from security guards. No more casual outings for her anymore!
She Will Receive Special Terrorism Training
As part of her new security protection, Markle will also receive special training on how to evade or escape capture. Evasive driving maneuvers and “anti-hostage” training are among the skills taught to royals.
A Busy Travel Schedule
Speaking of royal visits, Markle will get her share of travel in now that she’s married to a prince. Royal schedules are often filled with local and overseas visits that tie into their duties. There won’t be a lot of time to just kick back and relax.
She Must Pack Like A Royal
All royal family members generally pack one specific item when they travel abroad: an all-black outfit. The rule is in place in case someone in the royal family dies while the travelers are away. Having mourning attire makes sure that family members will be wearing something appropriate while heading home.
Dial Down The PDA
Why do the Brits get so excited about kisses during royal weddings? Because after the big day, royals rarely show public displays of affection, including kissing, hand-holding or hugging.
A Worldwide Microphone For Charitable Causes
Markle has already taken her place next to Prince Harry for a variety of causes, including his Invictus Games for wounded veterans. However, as the Duchess of Sussex she will have the responsibility of advocating for causes she believes in.
She Will Have To Watch Where She Stands
There are strict rules about where every member stands in relation to the Queen and even how they can enter a room: Pretty much, the Queen goes first everywhere. Even Prince Philip, who is Queen Elizabeth’s husband, must walk behind her.
She’ll Follow The Queen’s Lead In All Areas
Markle will have to be highly aware of her behavior when Queen Elizabeth II is present. If the Queen stands, everyone stands. When Her Royal Highness sits, everyone follows suit.
When The Queen’s Finished Eating, So Are You
Once the Queen has taken her last bite, everyone has to stop eating. This dates back to Queen Victoria, who ruled from 1837-1901. Protocol back then said that when the Queen was done eating, all guests’ plates were to be cleared for the next course — even if they weren’t finished.
She’ll Need To Master The Curtsy
It’s not something Americans generally do, but Markle will need to master the fine art of curtsying to her grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II. British actress Carey Mulligan clearly has it nailed.
Royal Ladies Sit A Certain Way
When it comes to how royal women sit, it’s not just about where — how they sit is just as important. There is a specific way the ladies must position their legs. It’s called the “Duchess Slant,” and it means keeping the ankles crossed or knees together.
Saying No To Autographs
Fans of Markle might be disappointed to learn that if they ask for an autograph, the answer will be a polite “no.” While it was acceptable for her to give them as an actress, it is against royal protocol for her to sign autographs now that she’s the Duchess of Sussex.
No More Selfies Either
It’s not entirely clear why the royal family discourages selfie-taking. One source says its because they don’t want people turning their backs on them and instead prefer to “see your face.”
Markle Was Baptized Into A New Faith
Before marrying Prince Harry, Markle chose to be baptized into the Anglican Church. Queen Elizabeth II holds the title of “Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England,” and faith is an important part of the royal family’s life.
She Won’t Dress Herself
No More Red Carpet Looks
The fashion rules for royalty are much different than those of Hollywood. Gone are the red carpet looks with deep necklines, thigh-high slits or short-length dresses. The former actress has definitely dressed more modestly since she began dating a prince!
Stockings Are A Must
The royal women are expected to following the Queen’s lead and wear pantyhose for most occasions — unless the weather demands bare legs. Markle broke this tradition during her engagement appearance with Prince Harry, and that got the media buzzing for sure!
Hopefully Meghan Likes Hats
Hats are an essential fashion accessory for the royal women. Whether it’s a garden party or a formal event, the duchess will need to have the perfect hat for the occasion!
Brightly Colored Manicures Are Out
In the past, Markle has enjoyed wearing bright or dark nail polish on her fingers and toes. But according to Glamour.com, the Queen is not a fan of brightly-colored polish and thinks it looks “vulgar.” So, looks like this dark manicure that Markle wore in the past won’t happen again.
Unwelcome Comparisons To Other Royals
As the newest member of the royal family, Markle faces a lot of comparisons to other women in the fold, like her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, and even her husband’s mom, the late Princess Diana. It might be difficult to be in their shadows, but Markle seems confident in herself.
She Has A New Title
Upon their marriage, Prince Harry and Markle both received new titles from Queen Elizabeth II: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. That’s quite a wedding present!
Markle Becomes Auntie Meghan
We’re not sure what Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis call their new aunt, but when Markle married Prince Harry, she gained two nephews and a niece! We’re pretty sure that she’ll be the “cool aunt” to the royal little ones.
Saying No To Shellfish
As another security measure, the royal family generally avoids eating shellfish. Why? Because shellfish have a higher likelihood to carry bacteria which can cause illness. Food poisoning is not something you want to have on a royal visit! (We know Markle isn’t afraid to bend some rules, however. So if she’s a shellfish lover, we could see her eschewing this tradition.)
Move Over, Monopoly
If Markle was a fan Monopoly, she’s probably played her last game. Apparently, the seemingly harmless board game causes too much drama in the castle, according to Prince Andrew. “We’re not allowed to play Monopoly at home,” he said — we assume jokingly ‚ in 2008. “It gets too vicious.” We’re sure a lot of families can relate.
Speaking To The Queen In Order
At dinner parties, the Queen first speaks to the person seated to her right. During the second course of the meal, it is now the person seated to her left who gets the conversation.
No All-Family Vacations
Just like it is in America, where the president and vice president don’t usually travel together, the same goes for the royals. It’s for security reasons: If a plane were to crash with a royal on board, the next in line needs to take their place. That means the royal family won’t be jet-setting off to an exotic island together anytime soon.
Dialing Back On Hugs
The royal family isn’t big on hugs, particularly with members of the public. This is a royal guideline that Markle’s already broken (and it’s one Princess Diana used to break too). Based on the fact that Prince Harry actually encouraged a group of kids to hug Markle at one point, it seems he’s on board with her bending this rule from time to time.
No More Yoga Pants In Public
The paparazzi likely won’t be catching the Duchess in yoga gear! The Royal Family is to always dress modestly in public, and you’ll almost never catch the royals in casual clothing, like jeans. Tradition dictates that Prince George always wear shorts and there is even a rule as to when Queen Elizabeth wears a hat.
As for those bright colors the Queen commonly wears? That’s to make sure the public can see her in crowds.
She’ll Wear Tiaras For Formal Evening Events
“The old rule is that hats are never worn indoors at 6 p.m., because that is when the ladies changed into evening dress, and tiaras and the family jewels would come out,” according to Diana Mather, a senior tutor for The English Manner etiquette consultancy.
Obviously this doesn’t count for very special occasions like the royal wedding when Queen Elizabeth II lent Markle a tiara that Queen Mary had made in 1932.
She’ll Also Get To Wear Royal Jewelery
It has been tradition for royal wives to wear jewels belonging to their husband’s family. That will be no different for Markle, who — in addition to her wedding day tiara — sped off to her reception wearing a stunning aquamarine ring that once belonged to Princess Diana.
No Wedges Around The Queen
Queen Elizabeth II reportedly dislikes wedge heels, and so the royal ladies make sure to avoid wearing them in her presence. Kate Middleton has worn wedges on a number of occasions, however — including the day she left for her honeymoon with Prince William — so it’s unclear how strictly this rule is followed.