Every Time Meghan Markle Has Broken Royal Protocol

Prince Harry's wife, the Duchess of Sussex, is not like a regular royal, she's a cool royal.

By Corinne Heller Oct 20, 2018 8:31 PMTags
Watch: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry: The Most Huggable Royals Ever

Meghan Markle is not like a regular royal, she's a cool royal.

So when it comes etiquette typically followed by, say, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry's wife picks and chooses which ones she wants to follow—and so does her husband, for that matter. The Duke and especially the Duchess of Sussex have often broken royal protocol, more so than his brother Prince William and wife Kate Middleton, making them the most relatable royal couple in a modern U.K. society's ceremonial monarchy, which has for centuries been bound by traditional Christian values.

For the past year, since her and Harry's engagement, the Duchess of Sussex is very much blazing her own path as a royal with her behavior and style choices, and we are here for it.

Check out every time Meghan has broken royal protocol.

Baby Sussex Is Here!

In a royal family first, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced the birth of their newborn son via their official Instagram account. Typically the news is shared at the same time a ceremonial easel is placed outside Buckingham Palace. The note about Baby Sussex was shared with the public in this way, thought not for a few hours. 

PDA Alert

Meghan and Harry are probably the most outwardly affectionate couple in the British royal family, often embracing each other, exchanging looks of love and even—gasp—while in public. And judging from William and Kate's out-of-character behavior at their cousin Princess Eugenie's wedding in Oct. 2018, it looks like maybe the royal protocol of avoiding PDA may be a thing of the past.

Showered With Love

It's uncommon for the British royal family to celebrate a forthcoming newborn with a baby shower, so the Duchess of Sussex traveled stateside for an extravagant gathering hosted by Amal Clooney and Serena Williams in New York City. 

No Ring, No Problem

During a Commonwealth Day youth event in London, many fans noticed Markle was not wearing the three-diamond engagement ring Harry popped the question with nearly two years ago. It has been suggested that the engagement ring previously appeared to be loose on the former Canadian resident.

No Fiancées Allowed? Please...

In April 2018, Meghan joined Harry at the Commonwealth Youth Forum. Such events are typically reserved for royal family members, and she was just Harry's fiancée at the time.

Wedding No-No

In her vows at her and Harry's royal wedding in May 2018, Meghan did not vow to obey her husband. His late mother Princess Diana and sister-in-law Kate also omitted such a declaration in their own wedding vows. Harry has also chosen to wear a wedding ring, another break from tradition.

Holidays Together

Meghan spent Christmas with Harry's family in 2017 just one month after they announced their engagement, becoming the first royal fiancée to celebrate the holiday with the British royals. Kate only spent the holidays with the royal family after her 2011 wedding to William.

Interactions With Fans

While the queen limits her physical interactions with fans to handshakes, Meghan and Harry will at times go so far as to hug their fans and even take photos with them—and photos of them! During a recent visit to Sydney, Harry encountered a young girl who bore a striking resemblance to his wife. He then called Meghan over and asked the girl if he could take a photo of the two, and she happily agreed. Meghan has in the past even granted fans autographs, another breech of royal protocol.

The Hair Thing

Meghan tends to wear her hair in a messy bun while out and about, which again defies royal protocol. It has become her signature style.

Seating Style

Royal women are supposed to sit with their legs and knees together, crossed at the ankle, again to preserve their modesty (especially if they are wearing an appropriate dress or skirt). Meghan has not always followed this tradition, nor have Diana and Kate. At the 2018 Invictus Games opening ceremony in Sydney, the duchess sat with her legs crossed at the knee.


Outfit Choices

Royal tradition dictates that the women in the family wear dresses or skirts while out in public. Meghan cares not for this tradition. Even Kate, who typically adheres to royal protocol more often, has showcased some stylish pants herself.

...But Not Too Short

Female royals must also ensure that their skirts are not too short. Many felt Meghan may have crossed the line a tad with the tuxedo mini dress she wore while attending a gala performance of Hamilton with Harry in August.

And Tights, Please

While not an official royal requirement, royal women are encouraged to preserve their modesty by wearing nude tights, aka pantyhose or nylons, with their dresses or skirts. Meghan has followed this protocol, but has also been like, This is the 21st century and you're going to see my legs.

All Black?

Royals are discouraged from wearing head-to-toe black unless they're going to a funeral or another somber event. To this Meghan says, whatever.

Purse Style

In July 2018, Meghan visited Edinburgh, Scotland wearing a cross-body bag, a style not typically worn by royals in a bid to avoid touching fans while greeting them.


She'll Take It From Here

In September, Meghan attended her first solo engagement as a royal, visiting the opening of the new Oceania art exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. She was driven by a chauffeur and when she arrived, a man opened her car door for her. She emerged from the vehicle, shook his hand and then closed the door on her own.

The Next Chapter

New year, new home: In January, Meghan and Harry announced on Instagram that they are stepping away from their roles as senior members of the royal family and plan to be financially independent. The duo also revealed they'll be splitting their time between the U.K. and North America in an effort to raise Archie "with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born" while also giving them "space to focus on the next chapter."

Meghan, who is currently pregnant with her and Harry's first child, made history when she and Harry announced their engagement last year; She is the first person of mixed race to take a prominent place in the mostly white British royal family in centuries, reportedly, and the first American to marry into it since Harry's great-great-uncle Edward VIII sparked a constitutional crisis that led to his abdication in 1936 by choosing twice-divorced U.S. socialite Wallis Simpson as his bride. Meghan herself is also a divorcée, and a former actress.

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