From American to U.K. Citizen: Cultural Differences Meghan Markle Will Have to Overcome
With her marriage to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle will have to become a U.K. citizen sooner rather than later. Born in Los Angeles, Markle will have a lot to learn about the British way of life. Here are the biggest cultural differences Markle will have to take on when she transitions into a U.K. citizen.
1. Rules of the road
Though we’re not sure just how much driving Markle will be doing as royalty, some of the biggest cultural differences between America and the U.K. are the rules of the road. For one, unlike Los Angeles, horns are used sparingly. On motorways (their version of freeways), there is no such thing as a fast lane. According to Visit Britain, “You should remain in the left-hand lane (Lane 1) at all times.” And then of course there’s the whole driving on the opposite side of the road thing.
Next: Pumpkin spice what?
2. No fall craze
Americans go crazy about the fall. From September through November, you can’t walk into a store or cafe without being bombarded with pumpkin spice smells and treats. The U.K. isn’t so into the season.
According to the Huffington Post, “The British do not embrace the fall and completely by-pass the pumpkin spice craze like Americans.” So if Markle’s craving pumpkin treats, she’ll have to whip up something herself.
Next: Chips and trousers and jumpers, oh my!
3. British vocabulary
Then, of course, there’s all the British vocabulary Markle will have to grow accustomed to.
For starters: bandages are plasters, Q-tips are cotton buds, drunk is pissed, bathroom is toilet or loo, take out is takeaway, fries are chips, chips are crisps, pants are trousers, underwear are pants, and sweaters are jumpers. Perhaps Prince Harry will make some flash cards for his fiancee.
Next: We hope Meghan Markle isn’t a night owl.
4. Shops close early
As with the driving, we’re not sure how much day-to-day errand shopping Markle will be doing once royalty, but there is a big difference to note between American shops and stores in the U.K.
In big American cities, such as Los Angeles and New York, you can run almost an errand at any time of day or night — something will be open. In the U.K., though, shops tend to close much earlier. Markle will have to do her shopping in the middle of the day now, just like the rest of Britain.
Next: Don’t forget the X.
Markle appreciates a sweet handwritten note. “I think handwritten notes are a lost art form. The idea of someone taking the time to put pen to paper is really special,” Markle told Good Housekeeping.
Well, she’ll have to start adding a little something extra to her hand-written notes to Prince Harry: xxx. Adding “xxx” to your notes and texts is just about mandatory in Britain. It signifies a kiss and lets the person you’re speaking to know that you like him, you love him, or generally all is well between the two of you. No “x” means somebody’s in trouble.
Next: She’s probably OK with this British custom.
6. It’s taboo not to take a holiday
Anyone who looks at Markle’s Instagram can see that she loves to travel. Thankfully, the British love to travel, as well. It’s actually taboo to not use your holidays there. With five weeks vacation and great maternity leave policies, traveling is celebrated in the U.K. When Markle and Prince Harry pop over to Paris or Scotland for the weekend, they’ll be in good company.
Next: Meghan Markle must put her foodie skills to use.
7. Tea time!
It’s common knowledge that Markle is quite the foodie, so we’re sure she’ll absolutely love indulging in a royal tea time every afternoon. Delicious scones, petite sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and, of course, the best tea Britain has to offer are all things Markle has to look forward to.
Now, she just has to learn the difference between “afternoon tea” and “high tea.”
Next: No ice
While a good amount of ice in American drinks is common, you’ll rarely receive much ice — if any — in the U.K. Ice was once a luxury item sold in British department stores. And even once technology advanced and brought prices down, it never really caught on as a necessity in drinks. Brits also enjoy more mild summers than Americans, so they don’t feel the need for ice.
Next: The gun culture is totally different.
9. A lack of guns
America is the home of guns. In fact, it has more than 300 million guns — and the highest number of guns per capita in the world. However, across the pond, they do things a bit differently.
The majority of U.K. residents don’t own guns, and even most police officers don’t carry guns. Instead, they typically carry mace, handcuffs, batons, and sometimes stun guns. They prefer to not project a police state mentality.
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