13 Royal Rules Meghan Markle Must Follow Now

Now that she’s officially the Duchess of Sussex, she has a whole new set of rules to learn.

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Meghan Markle receives flowers from fans

No autographs

Members of the royal family aren’t allowed to give out autographs. Now that Meghan Markle is officially the Duchess of Sussex, she can no longer sign things for her fans. The reason for this royal rule is so that potential forgers can’t mimic the handwriting of royalty.

Find out the reason why Queen Elizabeth II never writes cheques

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Invictus Games, Toronto, Canada - 25 Sep 2017

She can’t cross her legs

Meghan will have to get accustomed to sitting like a royal. The new Duchess of Sussex can either cross her ankles or use “The Duchess Slant,” sitting with her ankles and knees together, heels firmly planted on the floor, and legs slanted to one side.

Here are 14 etiquette rules everyone in the royal family must follow.

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Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Prince Philip

She has to curtsy much more

The Queen expects Meghan, and every other female royal family member, to curtsy when they enter a room that she’s in. But Meghan will have to curtsy to every royal family member above her in the Order of Precedence. That includes the Queen, Prince Charles, Duchess Camilla, Prince William, any of the “blood princesses” (Anne, Alexandra, Beatrice, and Eugenie), and Kate Middleton. However, when she is with Harry, blood princesses Beatrice and Eugenie must curtsy to her.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry depart Catalyst Inc, Northern Ireland's next generation science park

Bye bye, social media

Meghan shuttered all of her social media accounts in January 2018, and shut down her lifestyle blog, The Tig, back in April 2017. All of her social media is now handled by the various royal family accounts. The Kensington Palace account gives updates on her and Harry most frequently.

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Queen Elizabeth II and President of Turkey Abdullah Gul flanked by the Princess Anne (top table, left) and Prince Philip (top table, right) as they attend a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace

She can’t choose her seat

Meghan no longer has the freedom to choose where she sits at the dinner table. At all royal family gatherings, she will be required to sit next to Harry.

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II reacts as she attends the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Castle, in Berkshire, England

Follow the Queen’s schedule

If Meghan is dining or staying at Queen Elizabeth’s home, she has to eat when the Queen eats and sleep when the Queen sleeps. She can’t start eating her meal until the Queen starts and as soon as the Queen stops eating, Meghan also has to stop, even if there’s still food on her plate. Then, when it comes to bedtime, Meghan has to wait until the Queen dismisses herself to her room before she can go to sleep herself.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit a Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day Charity Fair, Nottingham Contemporary, UK - 01 Dec 2017

No more selfies

Meghan Markle’s celebrity status means that she’s probably used to snapping a few selfies with fans. But now that she’s a royal she has to say no to anyone who asks for one. Commoners are encouraged to make eye contact and have conversations with royals, therefore turning your back on them to take a selfie is highly discouraged.

Check out these mind-blowing facts about selfies!

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Royals attend Anzac Day commemorations in London, United Kingdom - 25 Apr 2018

Always travel with mourning clothes

In 1952 King George VI died while then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were on vacation in Africa. They had to travel back in regular clothes because they didn’t bring any black clothing with them. Now, it’s a rule that family members must travel with mourning clothes in case a family member dies while they are away.

Here are eight British laws Queen Elizabeth doesn’t have to follow.

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Meghan Duchess of Sussex, ring detail

She has to keep her nails light

Royal family members are prohibited from wearing dark coloured nail polish. The Queen’s favorite colour, Essie’s Ballet Slippers, is the go-to for most members of the royal family. Meghan wore that colour at her wedding and we’ll most likely see it on her nails a lot in the future.

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Meghan Duchess of Sussex

There’s a dress code

Meghan probably had to ditch a lot of her old clothing when she became a member of the royal family. The women of the royal family are expected to wear pantyhose, heels (not wedges because the Queen hates them), and all dresses and skirts have to be knee length.

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Teapot and cups with tea on table, tea drinking

Follow traditional tea etiquette

Yes, there is a proper way to drink tea and of course, the royal family is required to do it that way. You have to use your thumb and index finger to hold the top handle and support the cup at the bottom with your middle finger. Also, you always have to sip from the same spot so the entire rim of the cup doesn’t have lipstick stains on it.

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Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk.

She has to wait for Harry the enter the room first

The royal family always enters a room in the order of precedence. Now that Meghan is a royal she will have to wait until after Harry to enter a room. The order is Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip, Her Majesty’s husband), the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall (Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla), the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate Middleton), and then the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle).

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Meghan Markle chats with people inside the Drawing Room during a visit to Cardiff Castle.

No voting

As a member of the royal family, Meghan Markle has to take a neutral stance when it comes to politics—that means no voting. All members of the royal family are allowed to vote, but it is a tradition that they abstain.

Next, read the words you will never hear the royal family say.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest