Meghan Markle Has Broken These Important Royal Rules

By: Alec Donaldson | Published: Feb 28, 2024

It can be challenging to live up to the standards of in-laws. Meghan Markle, who married Prince Harry in 2018, likely knows this better than anyone. 

Like any family, the royals welcomed Markle into their homes with open arms, some being more welcoming than others. After receiving the title of duchess, she was expected to adhere to the standards and protocols of the royal family.

Meghan Markle's Tendency to Break Protocol

Being a member of the British royal family is undoubtedly a life-changing experience. Keeping up with the list of rules that accompany the title of duchess can be difficult.

Meghan Markle pictured in a white dress and golden earrings alongside Prince Harry at an event

Source: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

As Markle has only been a part of the royal family for six years, it makes sense that she’s broken several royal rules as she adjusts to life as a duchess. Here are 10 times the Duchess of Sussex broke royal protocol. 

Archie’s Birth Announced on Social Media

Traditionally, when a new child is born into the royal family, Buckingham Palace announces the newborn on a ceremonial easel outside the palace.

Photograph of a newborn baby as it yawns in its father's arms

Source: Freepik

However, when Markle gave birth to Archie, she and Harry shared the news via Instagram, breaking royal protocol in the process (via ABC News). 

Meghan Leaves Home without a Bra

The female members of the royal family are not permitted to attend any event without wearing a bra, according to an unwritten rule.

Meghan Markle poses for a photo dressed in a turquoise colored dress

Source: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

However, this is precisely what Markle did during her first appearance as a duchess in public. She later argued her beliefs as a feminist should be taken into consideration (via The Independent). 

No Name Tag for the Duchess

The royal race in Ascot is an important day in any royal’s calendar. It also comes with a strict dress code, per Bright Side. All female visitors must arrive in a dress with closed shoulders and a skirt length that reaches down to at least the knees. 

Prince Harry photographed in a sleek blue suit alongside his wife Meghan Markle

Source: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Royals are also supposed to wear a name tag. However, in 2018, Markle decided to walk around with the tag in her hand instead, breaking yet another royal rule.

Markle Shares Her Political Views

As it’s deemed unconstitutional for members of British royalty to vote in elections, they also refrain from speaking about politics. 

A woman in a pink shirt is pictured writing on a piece of paper at a voting station

Source: Freepik

However, Markle has openly spoken about her political preferences in several interviews and her stance on abortion, per Cosmopolitan.


Follow the Leader

Royal protocol insists those with lower status than their partner should walk behind them. An example is Prince Philip, who was always pictured two paces behind Queen Elizabeth II, according to The New York Times

The late Queen Elizabeth II is pictured alongside Meghan Markle and her husband, Prince Harry

Source: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

However, Meghan doesn’t seem to be that interested in following this rule. The duchess has been photographed numerous times walking in front of Prince Harry.


Not Permitted to Sign Autographs

One seldom-mentioned rule of the royal family prohibits them from signing autographs. It aims to ensure that someone with malicious intent cannot use their signature.

A woman holds out a clipboard and a pen to a bypasser on the street

Source: Freepik

However, Meghan devised a clever way to get around this rule when a young child asked for her autograph. Instead, she simply wrote, “Hi Kaitlin,” without signing her own name. 


Markle Closes Doors Herself

While not a serious violation of rules, female members of the royal family aren’t expected to close the doors of vehicles. However, Markle has been caught doing so several times over the years.

A woman in a long brown coat exits a car and begins to close the door behind her

Source: Freepik

Speaking with the BBC, William Hanson, an etiquette expert, explains, “Usually, if you are a member of the royal family or a dignitary, you have a member of staff to open and close a car door for you.”


Markle Invited to Christmas at Sandringham

Spending Christmas at Sandringham is a right solely reserved for members of the British royal family. In 2010, Princess Catherine didn’t receive an invite even though she was engaged to Prince William. 

A large table is set up with Christmas decorations accompanied by plates and cutlery

Source: Freepik

However, in 2018, Harry forced his grandmother to make an exception for Markle so that she could join the royals for the holidays.


Not a Fan of Pantyhose

Pantyhose is a big thing for the royal family. Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Cathrine, and even Princess Diana were seldom seen in public without wearing them. 

A woman in a short black dress lifts her bare legs as she is seated on a park bench

Source: Freepik

However, Meghan Markle isn’t fond of this tradition. During her and Prince Harry’s engagement photo shoot, she chose not to wear pantyhose, and followers of the royal British etiquette were shocked by her decision.


Catholic Background

Of all the rules broken by Markle, marrying Harry in the first place, having come from a Catholic background, was the one that upset traditionalists the most.

A Catholic Priest is pictured holding a small wooden cross in his hands

Source: Freepik

However, in 2013, the long-standing rule which prohibited British royals from marrying Catholics was removed. Yet, Meghan was still baptized into the Church of England before marrying Prince Harry.