If there’s one thing we know about Meghan Markle from obsessing over watching her relationship with Prince Harry unfold, it’s that she isn’t exactly conventional — at least not where royal customs are concerned. Leading up to and throughout her engagement, Markle has quietly (and gracefully, it would seem) broken tradition in a way no other royal fiancée ever has. And let’s be real: It’s one of the reasons we all love her so much, right?
Rule breaker though she may be, Markle has already managed to endear herself to the public. However, what’s even more impressive is that she’s obviously managed to infiltrate the royal family’s super-tight inner circle despite her nontraditional approach to becoming an official royal family member.
When you consider just how many royal rules — both spoken and unspoken — Markle has defied, her warm reception seems even more impressive. Here’s how she’s stepped out of line with royal tradition (so far).
1. She spilled the beans about their private life
In Vanity Fair‘s October 2017 issue, Markle appeared on the cover. That in and of itself courted the kind of celebrity attention royals aren’t particularly fond of, but Markle also gushed about her relationship with Prince Harry — before they were even engaged. To the rest of us, this seems sweet, but in the royal family, it can register as taboo.
2. She’s not shy about showing her affection
Just as Markle couldn’t resist gushing about her royal beau in print, she doesn’t try to hide her public displays of affection either. She and Prince Harry are often photographed holding hands and have also been snapped cozying up to each other. But royal etiquette guru Myka Meier told People royals shouldn’t engage in PDA because they are “working representatives of the British Monarchy.”
3. She sometimes goes sans tights
If you ask us, tights are passé these days. However, it’s considered improper in the royal family not to wear them under your dress at public events. Accordingly, Markle created quite the stir when she stepped out to officially announce her engagement — sans tights.
4. She’s a divorcée
Granted, this isn’t unheard of in the royal family, but it is highly unusual. Markle married producer Trevor Engelson in 2011 after dating for six years. The couple quietly split in 2013. Of course, it’s worth noting that Engelson is currently in talks with Fox about an untitled comedy pilot centered on a husband who must share custody of his kids with the British royal family when his ex-wife gets remarried… to a prince. (*Insert eye roll here*)
5. Cross-body bags — not clutches — are her thing
Royal etiquette expert William Hanson told the Daily Mail royal women carry clutches to deter people from trying to shake their hands. The unspoken rule here is that people should only try to shake if and when the royal first extends their own hand. Markle doesn’t seem to mind, though. She routinely chooses totes, satchels and what seem to be her favorite, cross-body bags, over the classic clutch.
6. She plans to make a speech at her own wedding
ICYMI, Markle isn’t the kind of woman who will be silenced. As opposed to falling in line with the customary reception speeches made by the bride’s father, the groom and the best man, Markle intends to deliver her own. In it, the future royal reportedly plans to thank the queen and pay “affectionate tribute” to her prince.
7. Diamonds really are this girl’s best friend
The beautiful blue sapphire ring that belonged to Princess Diana (and now to the Duchess of Cambridge) stands out as a shining example of royal engagement ring bling in that most royals opt for designs that incorporate gemstones. The queen, Princess Anne, Sarah Ferguson (aka the Duchess of York) and Princess Margaret all have gemstone engagement rings. Markle, however, sports an all-diamond design.
8. She sometimes signs autographs
With the exception of Prince Charles, who gave his autograph to victims of a Cornwall flood in 2010, the royal family had adhered to a firm no-autographs rule. However, Markle skirted this convention in Cardiff by writing a sweet and simple note to a 10-year-old girl named Caitlin Clarke.
9. She takes political stances
While the royal family isn’t known for getting involved in sociopolitical controversies, Markle stands by her beliefs. And in the throes of #MeToo and #TimesUp, that has meant voicing her support for these important movements.
10. She’s an actor
Because the royals are notoriously reserved, a person who’s a celebrity in their own right in the family is something of a coup. In fact, it’s widely assumed Markle left her role on Suits in order to pursue her relationship with Prince Harry.
11. She attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
In an unprecedented move, Markle attended the prestigious Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting with Prince Harry — something that hasn’t been done by the betrothed of any prior royal.