Meghan Markle lived out every girl’s dream by becoming a princess when she married Prince Harry. Her life seems like a real-life fairytale. It’s not all tiaras and ball gowns, however. Ever since they started dating, Meghan has been under severe scrutiny by the media.
After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, the duchess was required to follow stringent royal rules as a new member of the royal family. The media keeps track of when she and other royals break these rules, so the pressure from the queen to follow them is extra intense. Meghan was famously known for challenging or breaking the royal rules, which has brought her both praise and criticism. Her trailblazing ways have also shown that royal traditions need to be flexible as times change.
Once Meghan and Harry became parents, there were expected to follow additional rules specific to parenting. But, since the couple has chosen to step down from their senior positions in the royal family, they’ll be free from all of these rules. Continue reading to find out more about them.
Harry and Meghan will no longer have to keep this secret
Gender reveals are a popular way to celebrate your baby during your pregnancy. Pinterest is full of gender reveal party ideas, and YouTube has lots of videos of gender reveals — some that have gone right and others that have gone wrong. The royals don’t get to be a part of the fun — or the mishaps — because they aren’t allowed to reveal their baby’s gender to the public before the baby is born.
However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t find out for themselves. They just have to keep it a secret from the rest of the world. Diana found out Harry’s gender when she was pregnant with him, Reader’s Digest reported. According to Good Housekeeping, William and Kate chose not to find out their babies’ genders during their pregnancies. During Meghan’s pregnancy, Us Weekly reported that she and Harry knew Archie’s gender.
If Meghan and Harry have more kids, they can feel free to disclose the gender to the public as soon as they want. Considering Meghan has a group of girl friends that she traveled to New York City to be with for her baby shower, perhaps they will throw her a gender reveal party sometime in the future.
Harry and Meghan will no longer have to formally announce the births of their children
Commoners (aka non-royals) tend to announce their baby’s birth on social media. Royal parents actually do this as well, but they first put an official framed announcement outside Buckingham Palace for the public to view. It’s typed by the doctor who delivered the baby and it’s sometimes signed by the doctor as well. Kate Middleton’s doctor signed her baby announcements, but that wasn’t the case when Meghan gave birth to Archie. A town crier also loudly proclaims the birth announcement for the public to hear, a tradition dating back to medieval times. Before any of this happens, though, the queen gets to hear the news of the birth first.
Meghan and Harry utilized their Instagram account to announce Archie’s birth as did Prince William and Kate when Louis was born. Though, the couple released a picture of the official framed birth announcement. They’re modern parents balancing royal duties, like a framed birth announcement, with more current practices like social media posts. For future children, Meghan and Harry could be much more private. They won’t be required to announce the birth, and certainly not with an official document.
Harry and Meghan will no longer have to pick royal baby names
British royals famously have long names with multiple (usually three or four) middle names. Members of the royal family customarily pay tribute to their ancestors by naming their children after them. This practice is such a tradition that, once a royal pregnancy is announced, people bet on which traditional royal name will be used. Archie, for example, was predicted to be an Alexander or Spencer.
Instead, Harry and Meghan went with Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. According to BBC News, the name Archie isn’t traditionally a royal name, and neither is his lone middle name, Harrison. The site reports that Archie does have a British ring to it, while Harrison is more of an American name. This blend of American and English names is perfect for the son of a British prince and his American bride. Compared to his dad’s name, Henry Charles Albert David, Archie’s name seems short.
If Meghan and Harry have more children, they won’t have to worry about “breaking” this royal tradition once again. They’ll have way more flexibility when it comes to choosing baby names.
Harry and Meghan will no longer need to choose godparents for their children
Godparents are meant to act as mentors and protectors of your children. Royals usually choose several godparents for their kids (Prince George was given seven of them!), and each child has different godparents. Godparents are not typically aunts or uncles, because they are already in a position to guide the children. Cousins and friends of the family are usually the ones chosen for the position. The godparents are officially given their post at the baptism of the child.
Meghan and Harry have, as usual, been as private as possible regarding who they chose to be godparents for Archie. The Sunday Times, however, reported that Harry’s longtime friend, Charlie van Straubenzee, and Harry’s mentor, Mark Dyer, were appointed as godfathers to Meghan and Harry’s baby. According to the publication, Tiggy Pettifer, Prince Harry’s former nanny, serves as one of Archie’s godmothers. Good Housekeeping suspects there are more unnamed godparents, since multiple godparents is the tradition. As their roles change, though, Harry and Meghan won’t be expected to abide by this custom.
Harry and Meghan no longer have to follow this rule about baby food
Royal parents have the luxury of employing private chefs to prepare their meals. Darren McGrady, one of the queen’s former chefs, told Today that the monarch has some 20 chefs at her beck and call. Those chefs are also responsible for making fresh baby food for the royal children. McGrady described this process as a “major operation” — one that doesn’t call for jarred baby food. “I’ve certainly never seen packaged food with any of the royal babies,” McGrady confirmed.
Meghan is known to have a passion for healthy food and cooking. Her friend and makeup artist, Daniel Martin, suspected that she’d make her own baby food for Archie. He told Gayle King in the CBS special Meghan and Harry Plus One that he’s “sure the baby’s gonna be raised like, definitely clean and green.” The Daily Mail reported that Frogmore Cottage, where the couple lived just before Archie was born, has a garden that could be used to grow fruits and vegetables that would be perfect for homemade baby food. If she does choose to use packaged baby food in the future, it will likely be organic.
Harry and Meghan will no longer have a need to christen their children
After giving birth, both Princess Diana and Kate stood outside the hospital for pictures with their babies, but the little ones were bundled and difficult to see clearly. Inside Windsor Castle, Meghan And Harry introduced their two-day-old son to the media, but he, too, was bundled up and difficult to see. The christening of a royal, however, enables the public to get a good look at the new baby and, later, check out some professional photographs.
Every baby born to the royal family up until Prince George has worn the same exact christening gown. In 2008, the fragile gown was retired and replaced with a replica. Every royal christening has also used the same bowl — an elaborate gold basin that Queen Victoria commissioned — for the holy water.
Archie’s christening details were similar to those of his cousins’, George, Charlotte, and Louis, though his was a more private affair. It’s likely that any future babies Meghan and Harry have won’t have to go through an elaborate christening ceremony, since the couple will no longer be considered senior royalty.
Harry and Meghan no longer have to dress Archie in the royal wardrobe
Royal children have a particular style that’s easy to spot. Prim Mary Jane shoes paired with knee high socks are very popular for royal boys and girls. You will also see them debuting peter pan collars and polished sweaters. The colors they wear are usually neutral. This classic, preppy style is popular with non-royals as well, who want to emulate its elegance.
One royal dress code rule specific to boys is especially notable. Have you ever wondered why Prince George always wears shorts? Surprisingly, royal boys don’t wear pants until about the age of eight. Etiquette expert William Hanson explained to Harper’s Bazaar that pants are considered “quite middle class — quite suburban.” Hopefully, the royal kiddos’ legs don’t get too cold in the winter!
Archie may be wearing pants much sooner than his older cousin. From their official Instagram account’s pictures, it looks like Meghan and Harry dress him in classic styles, which may very well change as they transition out of their royal roles.
Harry and Meghan no longer have to handle Archie's tantrums with grace
Tantrums are one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. When you’re a royal parent, you’re always being watched as you raise your children. You have to be extra careful to deal with tantrums gracefully, or else the tabloids will call you out. Specifically, royal parents are not supposed to yell at their children in public, according to Reader’s Digest.
Princess Diana set a precedent of kneeling down to speak to her children in public — and this tradition continues within the royal family. However, the queen may not like it very much. She reprimanded Prince William for doing it during the Trooping the Colour ceremony in 2016, leading to a funny video. But, no matter her feelings, Queen Elizabeth II won’t have much say in how Harry and Meghan choose to interact with or discipline their children as they step away from their royal positions.
Harry and Meghan no longer need to teach Archie the royal wave
The royal wave is distinct. It’s elegant and controlled. It’s also important to being a royal — they have to do a lot of waving to the public. ABC News said that Queen Elizabeth likely learned her perfect royal wave from her grandmother, Queen Mary. It looks like Queen Elizabeth has passed this skill on to her great-granddaughter.
Princess Charlotte was eager to learn this skill and shows it off as often as she can. Maybe Princess Charlotte can borrow the queen’s prosthetic hand in the future. According to Robert Hardman’s book, Queen of the World (via People), students in Australia gave Queen Elizabeth a machine with a fake hand for waving. So, you know, it’s an option.
The royal wave has evolved over time. Royal expert for ABC News, Victoria Arbiter, said it this way: “Their wave is probably a little less formal, as they’re aware of all the jokes.” However, Meghan and Harry can start waving however they want, and their child and future children are free from this very specific rule of handwaving as well.
Harry and Meghan no longer have to train Archie in royal etiquette
Royal children must learn a lot of etiquette rules. According to etiquette teacher, Myka Meier, manners training begins when royals are very young. She explained to People, “They are raised having formal meals, going to formal events and practicing everything from voice levels to dressing appropriately to even, of course, how to curtsy and bow.” Royal children must sit properly and be still. They are required to be quiet and reserved. Basically, they have to ignore their natural child-like instincts. Meier noted that royal parents have the luxury of aides to help them keep children’s behavior in line.
Most importantly, the royal children learn to bow and curtsy. They are required to do so when they see the queen, even though she is their relative. The children need to learn to do this by the time they’re five. Archie will be more free to act like a kid, since he won’t be attending these official royal events.
Harry and Meghan are no longer required to pick a prestigious school
In the past, royal children were given their education at home by governesses and tutors to keep them separated from the public. Diana broke that tradition by sending her boys to private school with other kids. William and Kate have followed suit. George and Charlotte are enrolled in top-notch private schools. The youngest royals may also break protocol by going to co-ed secondary programs, rather than the all-boys or all-girls boarding schools as has been the norm. Like many royal traditions, the strict rules the royal family has to follow are slowly evolving as modern royals push the boundaries.
As lesser royals, Meghan and Harry could put Archie and their future children in public school if they so desired, or they may choose a private school similar to the ones that their niece and nephew are attending. They could even go with homeschooling, which would work well for their family since they will likely want to continue to travel often.
Harry and Meghan no longer need to find a French tutor for Archie
The queen speaks French and the rest of her family does too, according to Reader’s Digest. It’s required that the royals speak it, since it’s the “traditional language of international diplomacy.” Reader’s Digest points out that knowing multiple languages makes the royal job of diplomacy much easier and boosts relationships with other countries. Royals travel often also receive foreign guests. They and their children are expected to be fluent in multiple languages.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte know some Spanish from school and their nanny. Meghan can speak both French and Spanish, reported People. Prince Harry can speak some Arabic, as he once demonstrated in a speech.
Harry and Meghan will be free to choose which languages to teach Archie as he grows up without worrying about the diplomatic implications. Of course, there are more benefits to being multilingual than just politics. Since Meghan and Harry have chosen to split their time between the UK and Canada, French will be a helpful language to know.
Harry and Meghan will no longer be prevented from babying their babies
Coddling your children is frowned upon by the royals. Dickie Arbiter, who was the press secretary for Queen Elizabeth, said to USA Today, “The children will not be cossetted or mollycoddled in any way.”
A long time ago, royal children only visited their parents at scheduled times throughout the day. Royal children are often separated from their parents when their parents travel, which is frequently. Diana broke that rule sometimes so that she could have more time with her children, and William and Kate have done the same, according to Reader’s Digest. Of course, spending more time with your children doesn’t equate to spoiling them.
It could be that the they’re trying to prevent their privileged children from becoming entitled. The younger generation of royals doesn’t expect everything to be handed to them. Kate’s housekeeper and her gardener even quit because Kate was doing too much of their work for them. As a former actress, Meghan obviously knows how to work long, hard hours. Harry, too, has work experience as he spent time in the military. Although they’ll be free to “mollycoddle” their kiddos, Archie and any future children of Meghan and Harry’s will also grow up seeing the value of hard work.
Harry and Meghan no longer have this travel restriction
Royals travel a lot, so their children sometimes stay home. It’s not practical to bring the children, and it’s not always safe to do so, either. When they’re school-age, they can’t miss school to travel with their parents every few weeks. William and Kate do travel with their children more than royals usually do, however. There is a rule regarding travel that two heirs to the throne cannot travel together, in case of an accident. William and his next-in-line, Prince George, have traveled together, but only with the queen’s permission. They will reportedly stop doing this when George turns 12.
Archie went to South Africa with his parents when he was four months old, becoming the youngest royal baby to ever go on an official tour. He’s starting his world travels young! As non-working royals, Meghan and Harry won’t be permitted to take official royal tours, so they’ll never have to worry about any future royal travel stipulations.
Harry and Meghan no longer have to give Archie's gifts to the queen
Royal children and their parents receive many gifts from the public, both at home and abroad. Young royals also get gifts from international government leaders when their parents are on official tours. However, these gifts aren’t theirs to keep. The queen gets to decide which presents stay, per royal policy. It isn’t possible to keep all of them, since they are given so many. In 2014, Prince George was given 610 presents from his adoring fans, according to People.
Royals reportedly prefer wooden toys, so those may be given preference over modern light-up toys. Parenting expert, Zoe Bonser, told Insider about Meghan and Harry’s view on toys: “Both parents are obviously passionate about the environment and I think this will be reflected in their gifts for Archie — traditional wooden toys made from sustainable wood, such as building blocks or an abacus …” What isn’t kept is donated.
However, thanks to Harry and Meghan stepping down, Archie and any of the couple’s future children will be able to accept any toys they please — and without the queen’s permission.
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