Meghan Markle, born August 4, 1981, turns 40, and in celebration of her birthday, we are looking back at all the times she broke the royal protocols.
For Markle, this birthday marks the fourth year since she has been married to Prince Harry. Besides that, as she turns 40, Markle is also celebrating as a proud mother of two children, having welcomed her daughter, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, on June 4, 2021.
The relationship between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle began in 2016, making headlines in the royal world ever since, and in May 2018, the couple tied the knot.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle depart after their wedding ceremony at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 | Source: Getty Images
PROTOCOLS, MEGXIT, AND MORE
However, it appears that her time as a royal ended when the British media and the royal family allegedly began to mistreat her.
As a result, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped down from their monarchic ways; it left experts wondering if this drove her to seek revenge.
They recently sat down with Oprah Winfrey to tell it like it is. Markle talked about her experience, including the numerous rules and protocols she had to follow. Despite being cautious, she broke a few rules as well.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 on March 09, 2020 in London | Source: Getty Images
MEGXIT AND LIFE AFTER
In January 2020, the couple decided to step back from senior roles, become financially independent, and spend more time in North America.
This decision was immediately termed Megxit on social media and in the papers. Even though they have stepped down as royals, the couple will continually support charitable causes and organizations.
Meghan Markle attends a roundtable discussion on gender equality with The Queens Commonwealth Trust (QCT) and One Young World at Windsor Castle on October 25, 2019 | Source: Getty Images
These causes reflect the issues with which they both have long been associated. These include the arts, access to education, support for women, and animal welfare. In a statement, they said:
"We can all live a life of service. Service is universal."
By March, the couple moved to California, and in September of 2020, Netflix announced that the couple had signed a multi-year deal to produce films and series ranging from children's shows to scripted content.
Shortly after celebrating their third wedding anniversary and their tell-all interview with Winfrey, the couple welcomed their second child, a daughter named Lilibet 'Lili' Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.
Way before Megxit, Markle and Harry have always garnered interest from the press. Years back, news of their wedding broke like wildfire as everyone wanted to see a real-life fairytale unfold.
Before the wedding could take place, certain traditions had to be respected, and the media honed in on the rules to be followed and how Markle broke them.
Even back then, before she became the Duchess of Sussex, Markle was found to have broken some aspects of royal protocol. Here's a look at all those times Markle stood out from the rest of the royal family.
ETHICAL GUIDELINES FOR SITTING
Prince Harry, Meghan, and Archie at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation on September 25, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. | Photo: Getty Images
As for royal women, they should sit at all times, especially in front of the Queen, with their legs and knees together while having their ankles crossed. Markle, however, crossed her legs at a function.
KISSING IN PUBLIC
After a polo match at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club in Windsor, Markle dared to kiss Prince Harry in public, going against protocol.
Fortunately, they were already married. A reporter captured the scene as "Markle gives Prince Harry a Congratulatory kiss." This was seen as a gesture far too intimate for the crown of England and its protocol.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry kiss after the Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo on July 26, 2018 in Windsor | Source: Getty Images
Generally, subjects see little royal kisses at weddings only, as the queen reportedly doesn't really like an outpouring of love in public.
WEARING A FRENCH DESIGNER
People across the world eagerly anticipated Archie's christening since he was the couple's first child. As with every other christening, people expected that the outfits would be from British designers.
While Kate Middleton chose Stella McCartney at her children's ceremonies, the Duchess of Sussex opted to go the French route and don Christian Dior.
ATTENDING A ROYALS-ONLY EVENT
Markle attended the Commonwealth Youth Forum with Prince Harry in April 2018. Only members of the Royal Family were permitted to attend, and at the time, Prince Harry's then-fiancée, Markle, attended.
ANNOUNCING ARCHIE'S BIRTH ON SOCIAL MEDIA
A ceremonial easel outside Buckingham Palace has traditionally been used to announce the birth of a royal baby. Markle and Prince Harry instead announced the news of their son's birth on Instagram.
PANTYHOSE WAS NOT WORN
When Markle announced her engagement to Prince Harry, she decided to do things differently. During their official photos, Markle chose not to wear pantyhose.
Generally, this isn't a major deal for most women under 85—but it's highly unusual for a royal. The Queen wears them, Kate Middleton wears them, and Princess Diana also wore them.
CLOSING HER OWN CAR DOOR
During her first solo appearance as the Duchess of Sussex, Markle closed her car door herself. Members of the royal family usually have someone open and close their car doors for them.
ENTERING CAR BEFORE HER MAJESTY
While attending her first official event with the Queen in June 2018, Markle could not decide whether to get in the car before or after the Queen. Then, she asked her what she preferred.
The monarch motioned for Markle to get into the vehicle first so that she could take a regular seat behind the driver. It was a nail-biter, but everything turned out alright.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on October 2, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. | Photo: Getty Images
HAVING HER OWN COAT OF ARMS
A woman's father traditionally receives a royal coat of arms before a woman exchanges her wedding vows in the royal family. That coat of arms then passes on to her entire family.
Due to Markle's distant relationship with her father, Thomas Markle, who was not present at the wedding, the palace announced that her coat of arms was designed just for her.
CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS AT SANDRINGHAM
Usually, only spouses of the Queen's invitees are permitted to attend the Sandringham Christmas. As a result, Prince Harry had to request that an exception be made for Markle in 2018, and his grandmother agreed.
HOLDING HANDS IN PUBLIC
Generally, royals keep PDA to a minimum because they represent the monarchy while at work. But Markle and Prince Harry hold hands a lot, whether the paparazzi or the public sees them.
They first broke this tradition by appearing hand in hand at the Invictus Games. If members of the royal family are not allowed to hold hands, it is because they are representatives of the British monarchy.
Markle is now one of the most well-known names in the world. She inspires the fashion crowd with her fashion sense. Her style knows no bounds, and fans are always on the lookout for her stylish yet affordable outfits.
While some people have referred to her as a rebel, many think she is a strong woman and applaud her for standing up for herself.