Royal Design Rules: 7 Things Meghan Markle May (and May Not) Do at Nottingham Cottage

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s love story is nothing short of a fairy tale romance. Since the day they announced their engagement, the world has been obsessed with the royal couple — and for good reason.

Although Markle may have already moved into Prince Harry’s pad at Kensington Palace, she’s not quite royalty yet. So, what rules will she have to follow when it comes to decorating the space post-wedding? Read on to find out what Markle may and may not do at Nottingham Cottage.

1. Meghan Markle may redecorate Nottingham Cottage

Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce the engagement

Meghan Markle may put her own touch on the place. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

  • Royal rule: Personal touches on the home are permitted.

Before Prince Harry lived there, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge called Nottingham Cottage their own. Naturally, the couple had put their own personal touch on it during that time.

When Prince William and Kate Middleton moved out in 2013, Prince Harry swooped in, and it’s been his bachelor pad ever since. But now, it’s high time the Kensington Palace apartment got a face-lift, which is exactly what Markle plans — and is allowed — to do.

Next: There are rules when it comes to the historic building. 

2. Markle may not mess with the structural integrity of the building

Kensington Palace and Nottingham Cottage

Nottingham Cottage has a storied past. | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

  • Royal rule: The home’s structure must remain the same.

As the unofficial starter home for young royals, Nott Cott, as it’s so lovingly called, has a storied past.

“It was designed by Christopher Wren, the architect who built St. Paul’s Cathedral, so structural changes will be likely impossible to make due to the historical significance of the apartment,” Myka Meier, founder of Beaumont Etiquette and expert on all things royal protocol, told Architectural Digest. “Therefore, it’s expected that they will use furniture and interior updates to make the apartment feel like home.”

Furthermore, when it comes to furniture, the royal family loves Zone Creations, along with kitchen design company Stoneham. And if the newlyweds are after an interior designer, the Prince of Wales recommends Robert Kime.

Next: Find out what Markle’s personal decorating style is. 

3. Markle may choose to switch the paint color and wallpaper

Removing wallpaper

If the couple wants to replace wallpaper or change the paint color, they can. | PavelRodimov/iStock/Getty Images

  • Royal rule: Updates to the interior are allowed.

When it’s time for the newlyweds to make the space their own, they’ll have plenty of recommendations from which to choose. For starters, companies with Royal Warrants of Appointment will be available to them — and likely top the list of potential design choices.

A company receives a warrant if it has “supplied exceptional goods or services to the royal family for at least five years,” Architectural Digest says. And considering the many homes located on royal property, there are plenty of companies with Royal Warrants within the interior design and home decor arena.

Albert E. Chapman Limited, for instance, is one of the queen’s favorites for stretched-fabric wall coverings. If Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are more into paint, however, they may choose a shade from Sanderson, a paint brand that has held a Royal Warrant since 1923.

Next: What will she choose? 

4. Markle may incorporate modern design elements

Meghan Markle House Toronto kitchen

Meghan Markle’s home in Toronto featured clean lines and simple colors. | Freeman Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

  • Royal rule: Design choices can suit the residents’ taste.

Will Markle’s signature style make its way into Nott Cott? Perhaps.

According to Hello Magazine, the Suits star certainly has her own taste. In the past, Markle has stuck to a minimalist, monochromatic color scheme. And she likes to throw in pops of color with picture frames, coffee table books, and flowers.

Next: Some things, however, will be rooted in tradition.  

5. Markle may use tea sets provided by the palace

Queen wearing a tiara

Queen Elizabeth is happy to share her china collection with Meghan Markle. | Toby Melville/Pool/Getty Images

  • Royal rule: Royals must undergo training on tea time.

Tea time is a staple in British culture, so it’s no surprise Markle had to undergo specific training to learn about tea time tradition. In fact, Markle has mastered the art of holding a teacup properly as part of her princess prep,

As for the china on which she serves her tea time fare, Markle will be lucky enough to have access to the royal supply. “Kensington Palace will have many beautiful afternoon tea sets for her to use, should she wish, and there are royal aides to help her with training,” Meier told Architectural Digest.

Next: Let’s see what happens when company drops by.

6. Markle may not have surprise guests

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge (L) and his wife Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge in 2012

Kate Middleton probably won’t be dropping by unannounced. | Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

  • Royal rule: Stick to the schedule, and don’t drop by unannounced.

What happens if fellow royals unexpectedly drop by? Trick question!

Turns out, this kind of scenario will never be more than a “what if.” Even though they may live within walking distance, members of the royal family abide by well-planned schedules due to strict security regulations.

Next: Markle prefers this kind of art.

7. Markle may have some artistic freedom

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce the engagement

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a modern style. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

  • Royal rule: Most artists and styles are fair game.

The structural integrity of Nott Cott may need to stay the same, but the newlyweds will have some freedom to deck their digs with artwork of their choosing. According to Meier, “It is highly unlikely that there are restrictions for Meghan and Prince Harry as to artists or styles that would be off-limits.”

And it’s a good thing because from what we can tell, the couple prefers a modern aesthetic over an old-fashioned one. Case in point: the contemporary piece of art Prince Harry bought for Markle. With the words “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” the piece featured a boy and girl hand-in-hand.

To borrow a line from The Beatles, love is all you need — at least if you’re part of the royal family and never, ever have to worry about money, that is.

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