Britain’s Prince Harry has always been somewhat of a rebel when it comes to Royal protocol. From as young as age eight he was already a handful, according to the letter his mother, the late Princess Diana, wrote to a close friend. “The boys are well and enjoying boarding school a lot, although Harry is constantly in trouble!”, her note read.
Now it looks like he’s found the perfect partner to help him break all the rules in Meghan Markle. Ever since the couple announced their engagement, the world had been entranced by the pair’s commitment to the unconventional. Frank Sinatra would be proud because they are definitely doing it their way.
16. All the times they’ve packed on the PDA
Brits are well known for their stiff upper lip and aren’t usually prone to excessive displays of emotion. The Royals are particularly restrained during official duties and try not to mix business with pleasure. But Prince Harry and Markle are head over heels in love and can’t keep their hands to themselves. The two shared a kiss after a charity polo match, have been photographed holding hands at every turn, and have appeared positively giddy ever since they announced their engagement. We’re not mad about it – but it’s sure a divergence from the precedence set by past Royal couples.
15. When she gushed about the relationship before the engagement
In a move that left Royal watchers clutching their fascinators, a pre-engagement Markle graced the cover of Vanity Fair with the text “She’s just Wild about Harry” emblazoned on it. In these pages, she gave us a candid peek into their relationship. “We’re two people who are really happy and in love,” she said. “We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people’s perception. Nothing about me changed. I’m still the same person that I am, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship.”
14. She’s American
Since King Edward VIII famously gave up his throne before marrying American socialite Wallis Simpson, California-bred Markle is set to become the first American to possibly have the title Her Royal Highness (HRH) bestowed upon her.
13. Meghan’s been married before
This is not Meghan’s first rodeo. Back in 2011, Markle married her longtime boyfriend, producer Trevor Engelson. They divorced two years later. In a weird twist, Engelson is creating a show surrounding a man navigating the pitfalls of having to share custody of a child with his ex-wife, who just happens to have married into British Monarchy. Um… okayyyy. It’s not as taboo nowadays for Royals to marry divorcées. Look no further than Prince Harry’s own dad, Prince Charles who married his eternal flame Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005. But it was a major no-no back when Edward VIII had to abdicate the throne to marry Wallis.
12. She’s an actress
When Harry met Markle, she was in the midst of a successful run on the USA Network legal drama Suits. The future Royal played Rachel Zane, a paralegal turned star associate. That chapter of her life appears to be closed as she is expected to leave the show to devote her time to philanthropic pursuits. But her experience in the fishbowl that can be Hollywood should serve her well under the glare of the international spotlight.
11. She’s Not Anglican – and possibly catholic
We don’t have official confirmation on Markle’s religious affiliation, but reports claim her father is Jewish and she attended Catholic School. What we do know is that she is not Anglican. Why is this important? The Royal family is the head of the Church of England, which is a Protestant Anglican church. The monarchy was previously forbidden from marrying Roman Catholics until the ban was lifted just three years ago. Prior to cementing their union, Markle will be baptized and confirmed in the family faith.
10. Their modern engagement photos
If you look at the engagement photos from Prince William and Catherine Middleton, or any generation that came before, the pictures are significantly more traditional. However, Prince Harry and Meghan’s are much more intimate than the ones that have been released previously.
9. When Kensington Palace came to her defense
When news of the relationship between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle broke, many rejoiced, excited at the idea that the actress could possibly one day become an actual princess. Not everyone was thrilled, however. In fact, some salty souls went into overdrive on social media and in the comments sections of tabloid mags spewing vile comments about Markle being biracial. This prompted the unprecedented step of a press release from Kensington Palace denouncing the hateful rhetoric and expressing the Prince’s concern for his lady’s safety. Come through Harry!
8. She’s a Woman of Color
Speaking of the racist comments that the Royal family received after announcing Harry’s engagement to Meghan, Markle will be the first British Royal from a mixed-race background. Her father, Thomas Markle, a lighting director, is Caucasian and her psychotherapist mom, Doria Radlan is African American. Supposedly only one woman of African-American descent has ever married into European royalty at all – Princess Angela of Liechtenstein. Yay for diversity!
7. When Meghan didn’t wear stockings
It’s not a hard and fast rule that the Royal family pledges their devotion to pantyhose, but you usually won’t catch them without it. That is until Markle dared to go bare at their official engagement photo call outside Kensington Palace. Eagle-eyed Royal watchers questioned the aberration, but you know what they say, “if you got it, flaunt it.” We agree!
6. When Meghan spent Christmas with the royals
This was a huge departure from protocol. Traditionally only Royal spouses are allowed to hold court with the Queen at Christmas. To put this into context, not even Kate Middleton could score an invite while she was engaged to Prince William. And these two had been together the better part of a decade! But Prince Harry reportedly went to bat for his love and Markle became the first fiancée to attend the Christmas festivities at Sandringham. She joined the family for a Church service before heading to lunch and even took part in a gift exchange. Hmmm. What does one get the Queen of England?
5. When she stepped out with “messy hair”
As far as Royal coifs go, they’re normally a sleek, controlled affair. But during a visit with Prince Harry to a British radio station, Markle opted for a more effortless, loosely assembled bun to complement her easy-going demeanor. While some were wholeheartedly offended by her casual approach to being seen in public, others thought it was a seriously cool move from the to-be Royal.
4. When she slayed in a sheer dress
Let’s be honest, Markle has absolutely been killing the style game both in her official appearances and long before she was going to be a part of the British Royal Family. She’s also been pushing boundaries. Exhibit A: the gorgeous $75,000 Ralph & Russo gown she donned for her contemporary candid engagement shoot at Frogmore House in Windsor. With its ornate tulle skirt and sheer illusion bodice, the haute couture piece is a departure from the usually staid fashion choices of the Royal family.
3. When she wore wide-leg pants
At her second official appearance with Prince Harry, Markle proved to be a fashion maverick by wearing pants. Royal ladies have rarely shown love for trousers, instead favoring skirts and dresses. Then Meghan broke the mold in a pair of wide-leg Burberry slacks, showing she intends on blazing her own trail one pant-leg at a time.
2. When they decided to get married on a Saturday
Did you know that Royal weddings usually take place on a weekday? The Queen married on a Thursday while Will and Kate opted for a Friday ceremony. Naturally, Harry and Meghan have decided that Saturday is the day for them. The May 19th date also happens to be the day of the 2018 FA Cup Final. This, of course, throws a wrench into Prince William’s plans. The presumptive best man is also the President of the Football Association and usually presents the trophy.
1. When she signed an autograph
During an official visit to Cardiff Castle in Wales with Prince Harry, Markle obliged the wishes of several well-wishers by posing for selfies. That’s generally frowned upon. But it was the moment she signed an autograph for a young fan that really raised eyebrows. You see, for security purposes like potential forgery, Royals aren’t allowed to sign autographs. Ten-year-old Caitlin Clarke, the lucky recipient, just became a part of history, complete with a heart and smiley face.