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15 Ways Meghan Markle Has Broken Royal Protocol

Entering the British Royal Family means learning a new set of rules. That doesn’t mean the new American-born Duchess will always follow them.

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Meghan Markle arrives
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Walking down the aisle

As she walked down the aisle to marry one of the world’s former most eligible bachelors, Meghan Markle did so with her father-in-law, Prince Charles. That’s not before she escorted herself down the first half of the aisle before the Quire (where the main royal guests sat). Traditionally, the bride’s father gives his daughter away to his new son-in-law. But Thomas Markle, Meghan’s father, was unable to attend the wedding as planned.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kiss
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Royal PDA

Like many couples, royal or not, Meghan and Prince Harry often enjoyed dates out together in public while they were dating. While out together at the Invictus Games, the couple was seen holding hands, and the prince even romantically kissed Meghan’s head. Showing affection in public is definitely not something that the royal family does often. Here’s why Kate and Prince William are hardly ever seen holding hands.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stand on the steps
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No maid of honor

Being on the inside of the royal family doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to have friends who live out in the real world. In fact, a royal palace spokesperson said that Meghan actually has a “very close-knit circle of friends, and she didn’t want to choose one over another” when it came to having a maid of honor. These are more of the etiquette rules the royal family is supposed to follow.

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Meghan Markle autographs
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Signing autographs

Getting the signature of your favorite television actress can be an exciting moment. Even more exciting is when that favorite actress doubles as a British royal family member. Sadly for fans of Meghan, she technically isn’t allowed to give autographs anymore. But that’s not to say she hasn’t. She even misspelled a fan’s name!

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Meghan Markle hugging someone
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Free hugs

When you meet the Queen, royal protocol says men should bow their heads and women should give a small curtsy. However, Meghan doesn’t seem to mind a hug every now and then.

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The wedding cake

Lemon cake

Kensington Palace saying that Meghan and Prince Harry’s wedding cake was “uniquely formulated for the couple” honestly just means the royal couple broke protocol. Traditionally at royal weddings, guests are served fruitcake. With Meghan getting a say in her royal wedding, she and Prince Harry decided on a lemon and elderflower cake that had three parts laid out separately instead of stacked.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engagement announcement

Bare legs

There’s no doubt that Meghan Markle has her own sense of style. Perhaps she cultivated it from growing up as a West Coast California girl. Will she adapt her fashion picks per royal protocol? So far it seems like Meghan is going against the grain, starting by stepping outside for photos after announcing her engagement sans nude stockings. Royal expert Victoria Arbiter told Business Insider that wearing tights is “really the only hard, steadfast rule in terms of what the Queen requires,” but even since the wedding, the Duchess of Sussex has been spotted tights-free. Find out the 9 times Meghan Markle channeled Princess Diana’s fashion sense.

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Meghan Duchess of Sussex coat of arms
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She has her own coat of arms

Before marrying into the royal family, the bride’s father traditionally receives a coat of arms. However, with the current absence of Meghan’s father in her life (and at the royal wedding), Kensington Palace announced that the coat of arms was created directly for her. The image reflects her new home and life as a member of the royal family while also paying homage to her home state of California.

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The newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Her wedding speech

Leave it up to Meghan Markle to break tradition and make a speech at her own wedding reception. In it, she described how much she loves Prince Harry, the ways the family has welcomed her, and how she found her prince. Have you ever wondered the real way Meghan met Prince Harry?

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royals christmas
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Christmas with the Queen

Insiders say that Queen Elizabeth II has a pretty exclusive list of whom she invites over for Christmas Eve—that’s when the royals celebrate the holiday. Typically, only family members and their spouses gather ’round the Queen. Seeing that Meghan’s family wasn’t in England during the holiday season in 2017, the Queen kindly extended the Christmas invitation to Meghan, even though she and Prince Harry weren’t married yet. Looks like she was on the Queen’s nice list! For Meghan and Harry’s first Christmas as a married couple, rumor has it that the Queen is inviting Meghan’s mom to join in with the festivities.

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Meghan markle
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She’s divorced

There was a lot of uproar in the royal family when Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister, wanted to marry the divorced Peter Townsend. The Queen’s uncle, King Edward VIII, even went as far as to abdicate the throne to marry a woman who was divorced. Marrying someone who was previously married isn’t completely new for the Brits, but this is the first time a member of the royal family was able to marry a divorced person in a church.

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William and Kate, Meghan and Harry

Weekend wedding

The last few royal weddings the world swooned over took place during the work week. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip got married on a Thursday, Prince Charles and Princess Diana tied the knot on a Wednesday, and Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding landed on a Friday. Breaking that tradition, Meghan and Harry held their special day on a Saturday, coincidentally the same day as Britain’s historic soccer cup competition, the Emirates FA Final Cup. Learn about the powerful significance of Meghan’s title, the Duchess of Sussex.

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Meghan Markle
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Dark nail polish

The crowd went crazy when Meghan Markle made a surprise appearance at the 2018 British Fashion Awards show to honor the designer of her wedding dress, Clare Waight Keller. She wore a gorgeous Givenchy gown and had her hair in a low, tight bun. But one aspect of her outfit was against royal protocol: her nail polish. The Queen only likes members of the royal family to sport nude shades on their nails.

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Closing her own door
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Closing her own door

On her first solo engagement as the Duchess of Sussex at London’s Royal Academy, Meghan closed her own door after getting out of the car. Few royals have ever done this before. It was quite a statement of her independent personality.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Wearing international designs

As an American living in the United Kingdom, does Meghan need to give up her beloved American brands? Well, not exactly. Although it’s traditional for members of the British royal family to support U.K. businesses by wearing British fashion labels, Meghan opted for mix of Canadian and British brands during her first official outing in 2018, possibly a nod to her time shooting Suits in Toronto. She’s also been spotted in American labels like Ralph Lauren, not to mention a mix of other North American, South American, and European designers. Next, find out the 18 tiny details you might have missed at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.