Big fat royal wedding: How life will change for Meghan

Protocol and unwritten rules will come to define what has hitherto been a relaxed existence for Californian actress

LONDON: When US actress Meghan Markle marries Britain’s Prince Harry at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle today, her career and right to privacy will be just two of the things she will have to give up.

The daughter of a yoga teacher and an award-winning Hollywood lighting director, Californian Markle is about to plunge headfirst into the world of rules and constraints of Britain’s royal family.

No ‘Princess Meghan’

Markle will give up her acting career in order to live out her fairy tale.

However, she will not become “Princess Meghan” because only women born into the royal family can carry the title followed by their name.

Her official title will instead likely be “Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales”. But if Queen Elizabeth II offers Harry a duchy on his wedding day, Meghan will become a duchess.

Among the titles available, the Duke of Sussex or the Duke of Clarence are the favourites.

Markle has also had to dilute her US identity by taking on British citizenship and has been baptised into the Church of England out of respect for Queen Elizabeth II’s role as head of the denomination.

Stiff upper lip

As unelected representatives of the state, members of the royal family are heavily discouraged from expressing political opinions in public.

This will require Markle to curb her vocal advocacy and disengage from social media.

The self-proclaimed feminist had already begun to lay low before the engagement was announced, closing 
her blog “The Tig” and the Instagram account on which she posted photos of herself.

“She’s allowed herself to be completely co-opted by the royal machinery,” said republican campaigner Graham Smith.

She will now have to concentrate on the more mundane charitable activities of the royal family, and will become a patron of the Royal Foundation, alongside her husband, Prince William and his wife Kate.

The foundation is focused mainly on veterans, young people, the environment and mental health.

Despite these constraints, her biographer Andrew Morton believes that Meghan and Harry “are going to be a power couple”.

“You’re going to see them as far more activist than perhaps previous royal couples,” he said.

Markle’s relaxed Californian existence will be replaced by one of protocol and unwritten rules, such as not removing one’s coat in public.

She will also swap her “relatively quiet life” for one of paparazzi intrusion. “Even though I’ve been on my show for… six years and working before that, I’ve never been part of 
tabloid culture,” she said in a television interview aired in November.

All her movements will now have to be approved and she will live under the constant gaze of police protection.

The Queen recently appointed Harry as a youth ambassador for the Commonwealth, meaning Markle will travel widely as she also learns more about her adopted homeland.

To help her navigate life in what the royals privately refer to as ‘The Firm’, however, she will have an army of staff to help her, including a hairdresser, a dresser and a driver.

Expats share thoughts on royal wedding

“It’s good to see Harry finally finding someone to settle down with. We love the opportunity to celebrate another royal wedding. I will be glued to the coverage all day.”

Julie Clarke, British expat

“I’m delighted for Prince Harry and Meghan, and I think they will continue to bring both fresh perspectives as well as fresh blood to our Royal family. I am also reminded of the welcome note provided by Mark Twain of Winston Spencer Churchill during his trip to the US: ‘By his father he is English, by his mother he is American — to my mind the blend which makes the perfect man’.”

Jonathan Howell-Jones, British expat

“Every woman marries a prince on her wedding day; like every man marries a princess. May they continue and grow in their love; may they share that for as long as they live; and may they help improve the world, which is badly in need of improving.”

Orlando Vidal, American expat

“Given the United Kingdom’s new global vocation in light of recent political events, it is fitting that the next Royal Wedding should be a truly international affair. The marriage of HH Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle is a truly historic occasion that not only celebrates the coming together of two wonderful people, but will re-energize the UK’s special relationship with the United States. I wish the happy couple the very best for the future.”

Robert Tasker, British expat

“It’s a shame her [Ms Markle] extended family didn’t stay out of it … I wish them well, it’s good for Harry, he needs to be settled.”

Graeme Doy, British expat

The trans-Atlantic special relationship takes another step forward this week with the royal wedding. We hope Meghan can bring more than just her poise, intellect and wonderful personality to the UK. American traditions, for example. If anyone can bring the 4th of July to the British Royal Family, it will be Meghan Markle.”

Tony B Graham, American expat


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