Disney movies did not prepare us adequately for what really happens when a commoner marries into royalty. The world saw it when Diana Spencer married Prince Charles. Now we’re seeing it repeat with her sons’ spouses, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle.
Now that Kate and Meghan are the Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Sussex respectively, it’s amazing how much these women have had to give up for the privilege. They’ve exchanged the luxury of normalcy for the luxury of, well, luxury. Here is photo evidence of normal things Kate and Meghan used to do that they can no longer do, because of royal protocol.
They used to shop at regular stores, now their merchandise is sold in stores
The privilege of just looking, or even buying, things is gone for the royals. Visiting a store takes a security detail to scout the place first. Then you have to warn the shop in advance so they can behave properly towards you. Traffic is blocked so your car can park in front of the establishment. And you never know if buying something or not will make headlines and break company brands. Where’s the fun in that? Oh, and nothing takes the fun out of shopping like seeing your face all over commemorative plates and key rings.
They used to wear revealing clothing, now they button up
Royal protocol when it comes to attire is pretty strict, considering. Imagine being able to go out in a track suit and running shoes, with hair just down and no makeup on. This luxury is no longer available to the royal ladies. Because they are photographed everywhere they go, they are never not “on duty.” The only time this is permitted is at official events, such as when Kate wore a track suit and running shoes for a fitness event — but her hair was still perfect.
They used to hug people, now it’s handshakes
Believe it or not, something as innocuous as a hug is now off the table. Royals are allowed to shake hands, but nothing more. Meghan especially was an enthusiastic hugger, but that’s not permitted anymore. Partly that’s due to optics but also, sadly, due to security. Meghan has had a hard time following this rule, saying in an interview with NBC, “I’m American. I hug.”
They used to drive their own cars, now they have chauffeurs
Getting one’s driver’s licence is a rite of passage for young people. So imagine getting that freedom of movement taken away from you and put into the hands of “professional” drivers. Both Kate and Meghan now have chauffeurs that take them everywhere. While the Queen enjoys the ability to drive her own vehicles, on private property, neither Kate nor Meghan can enjoy the simple thrill of getting behind the wheel and just going for a drive anymore.
They used to hold jobs, now it’s charity work
Royal duties — which royals perform to earn the tax money that goes to their upkeep — consist of charity work and public events. This is why Meghan Markle had to quit her acting career the moment she married into the family. Royals don’t appear on camera unless it’s absolutely necessary, and only in dignified circumstances.
But now that Meghan and Harry have stepped down as senior royals, who knows what the future holds for their careers? One thing’s for sure, Meghan’s come a long way from her 2006-2007 stint as a suitcase model on Deal Or No Deal!
They used to sit however they wanted, now it’s the ‘duchess slant’
Yes, there’s a protocol for how royal women are allowed to sit, and it’s not all that comfortable. Legs and knees must be kept together: no manspreading. Royal women cannot cross their legs at the knee, but they can cross their ankles, in what’s been called the “duchess slant.” And it goes without saying they’re not allowed to slouch. In contrast, their husbands can sit however they like.
They used to have casual nights out, now it’s fancy galas
Even celebrities can go out every now and then and just have a nice romantic time without too much intrusion. But when you’re a royal, again, you have no way to go out without being spotted, filmed, and otherwise interacted with. Also, there’s little time to be able to do that; your evenings are usually booked with official functions and galas. Forget being able to go out and have a drink with your spouse. Everything from your choice of beverage to your appearance is carefully controlled. No wonder Meghan and Harry bolted to Canada!
They used to rock cowboy hats, now it’s fascinator hats
Bet you never knew the Duchess of Cambridge used to rock cowboy hats, did you? Yep, before they were royals, Kate and Meghan could choose to wear any hat they wanted. Or even — gasp — go hatless if they so chose!
However, royal protocol dictates that women must wear hats to formal occasions. It was a big faux pas for upper class and royal women to show their hair in public before the 1950s. The royal family holds to British tradition for formal occasions, which is why you see all the ladies wearing hats. Their hat of choice, the fascinator hat, can have all sorts of elaborate and ornate details.