Meghan Markle is set to marry Prince Harry on May 19, 2018. Life as she knows it will forever change from that day forward. Although, since announcing their engagement, life has already changed plenty for the humanitarian and (former) actress. Between her first royal engagement with Harry and spending Christmas with the royal family, Meghan has had to make some significant adjustments to her life and the way she interacts with the public.
Below, in no particular order, a list of things Meghan probably won't be doing once she officially becomes a Duchess.
1. Take selfies.
Meghan has already mastered this rule. During her first official event with Prince Harry in early December, Meghan reportedly told a couple who asked for a selfie, “We’re not allowed to do selfies.”
Meghan also probably won't be allowed to use any social media filters (like the puppy one from Snapchat, above) in public, and she can also say goodbye to posing with pretty drinks, unless it's for an official royal appearance.
On top of all this, Queen Elizabeth allegedly isn’t a fan of the selfie. In 2014, U.S. ambassador Matthew Barzun told Tatler magazine that The Queen confided in him and revealed that selfies were “disconcerting” and “strange” to her. To put it another way, “She was essentially saying: ‘I miss eye contact,’” Barzun said. (via Hello!)
2. Go out in public totally alone.
Have you ever seen Kate Middleton all by herself? Like every member of the royal family, Meghan will likely have security with her everywhere she goes.
3. Give autographs.
Save for official signings at royal engagements, members of the royal family are not allowed to sign autographs for the public. The fear is that someone could forge the signature and use it against the family. In 2010, Prince Charles broke this protocol when he granted an autograph to one of the victims of the Cornwall floods. According to The Telegraph, he wrote, “Charles 2010” and apologized for his “shaky writing.”
4. ‘Gram, tweet.
Meghan will likely join Harry, Kate, and Will under @KensingtonRoyal on social media. The trio have been providing updates about the charities they support on the account, which has provided an intimate but controlled line of communication between the young royals and the public. @KensingtonRoyal is where Meghan and Harry released their official engagement photos in December and also where they announced their wedding date.
5. Show PDA.
There’s a reason photos of Kate and Will kissing are limited to their wedding day smooch on the balcony at Buckingham Palace. Does this mean that Meghan and Harry’s engagement photos will be the last time we see them get up close and personal? According to royal etiquette expert Myka Meier (via People), there is no official protocol against PDA, despite Meghan and Harry’s predecessors keeping things to a minimum. (Recall Kate and Will’s hug fest during the 2010 Olympics in London.) Says Meier, “Meghan and Prince Harry holding hands at a royal engagement is a refreshingly modern approach to their new role both as a couple and as representative of the royal family.” FYI, Kate and Will held hands during their Christmas morning walk to church in December 2017, while Meghan held onto Harry’s arm. But that's probably all we'll get moving forward.
Meghan, who will seek British citizenship after her marriage to Harry, will likely not participate in future UK elections. As the official parliament website states: “Although not prohibited by law, it is considered unconstitutional for the Monarch to vote in an election,” referring to Queen Elizabeth II. Beyond The Queen, the law is blurry, but a spokesperson from Buckingham Palace told Newsweek in June 2017 that members of the royal family do not exercise their voting rights "by convention."
7. Wear see-through outfits like the $75,000 Ralph & Russo mesh dress in Meghan’s engagement photos.
While there was no obvious cleavage or slip-up, the sheer look of the dress raised some eyebrows and will likely be the last see-through dress Meghan wears in public or in official photos. She also drew (unnecessary) attention when she stepped out without stockings the day she and Harry announced their engagement.
"You never see a royal without their nude stockings," royal expert Victoria Arbiter tells Business Insider. "Meghan, from what I can see from the engagement photographs, it doesn't look like she was wearing tights or stockings. I would say that's really the only hard, steadfast rule in terms of what the Queen requires."
8. Wear colorful or dark nail polish.
As per royal protocol, only nails bearing natural colors are allowed at official events. According to nail polish giant Essie, Queen Elizabeth has been a customer of "Ballet Slippers," a very subtle light shade of pink, since 1989.
9. Wear wedges.
This rule reportedly only applies when Queen Elizabeth is present. In 2015, a source told Vanity Fair, “The Queen isn’t a fan of wedged shoes. She really doesn’t like them and it’s well known among the women in the family.” Wedge away, Meghan, just as Kate has when the Queen’s not around.
10. Stick her tongue out.
There’s a reason tongue wagging has only been displayed by the youngest members of the family, and even those instances are rare. Though, to go with her recent string of breaking royal tradition, Meghan stuck her tongue out while walking to church on Christmas with the royal family.
11. Carry giant purses.
Yes, it's very convenient when your giant bag can fit everything from a laptop to three days' worth of snacks. But when you're a royal, other people carry things for you, right?
While it’s unclear whether or not carrying clutches (instead of big purses) is an official royal rule, there’s a really good reason why Kate Middleton and The Queen are almost always seen with clutches or bags with small handles. As one royal expert explained to 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, than opting for a clutch over a bag with a strap.” What’s more: “It is protocol that you do not extend your hand to any member of the royal family… unless their hand extends first.”
Princess Diana was also a fan of clutches in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but it had less to do with etiquette or protocol and more to do with practicality. She called them “cleavage bags,” according to designer Anya Hindmarch, whose bags were a favorite of Diana’s. In 2009, Hindmarch told The Telegraph: “We used to laugh when we designed what she called her 'cleavage bags,' little satin clutches which she would cover her cleavage with when she stepped out of cars."
12. Attend Fashion Week.
Her royal schedule will surely be packed with official engagements and appearances supporting causes close to her heart and Harry's heart. (Related: Meghan probably won't be seen with a crop top in public ever again.)
13a. Sit wherever she wants.
Meghan is probably allowed to sit on her favorite side of the couch at home as she pleases, but when she's out with the royal family, there's an order she must follow. While she'll likely sit with Harry most of the time, entering the room is another story. There's a procession which begins with Queen Elizabeth, followed by Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William, Kate Middleton, and so on.
13b. Cross her legs while sitting.
Again, not an official rule, but according Hello!, it’s often frowned upon when female royals do the cross. Kate can often be found sitting in “the Duchess Slant,” which has her legs slanted to one side. Diana also sat this way.
14. Go to bed before The Queen.
Supposedly, this is only for when Meghan and The Queen are sleeping at the same house/castle.
15. Open presents on Christmas Day.
Every year, the royal family celebrates Christmas at Sandringham House at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth. Traditionally, presents are opened on Christmas Eve, followed by church on Christmas morning.