Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Can’t Stop Breaking Royal Rules

Meghan Markle made history many times over when she and Prince Harry announced their engagement. And in the months leading up to their big day, the couple proved time and again that they’re ready to blaze their own trail where their marriage is concerned.

From their wedding day details to how they handle the public, Markle and Harry are forging a new path for themselves. Here are all the ways the royal couple has broken longstanding royal traditions.

1. Their wedding day treat was unique

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Wedding Cake

Check out this gorgeous lemon elderflower cake. | Kensington Royal via Instagram

When it comes to royal weddings, there are centuries of traditions. And that covers everything from the decorum at the ceremony to the decorations at the reception. The cake is no exception. And Markle and Harry definitely broke with royal tradition where their wedding treat is concerned.

In the past, British royals have usually gone along with tradition and served a traditional fruitcake at their wedding receptions. It’s said to be because the cake represents prosperity. But Markle and Harry’s guests got a cake that more closely reflects the mood of the spring season.

The royal couple enlisted the help of London-based pastry chef Claire Ptak for their big day to bake a lemon elderflower cake. To be fair, if any of the other royals are put off, lemons are a fruit.

Next: Markle’s trip down the aisle broke another tradition.

2. A splash of color

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave from the West Door of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England.

The bouquet was simple, with just the tiniest bit of color. | Ben Stansall – WPA Pool/Getty Images

When it comes to her royal wedding day, Markle did follow one tradition. Most royal brides have carried a sprig of myrtle in their bouquets, and the bride did the same.

But she also found a way to put her own unique spin when she walks down the aisle. Royal wedding bouquets are traditionally all white. But she added a few colorful flowers into her bouquet.

Next: Markle broke another big royal wedding tradition — but this time, all on her own.

3. Let’s hear it from the bride

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle plans to speak at her wedding, which is against royal tradition. | Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Weddings are full of speeches. From toasts to heartfelt thank yous, these events give everyone involved a chance to reflect on the gratitude they feel for their loved ones.

So it should come as no surprise that Markle wanted to say a few words at her own wedding. That is, except, until you consider the fact that brides at royal weddings tend to be mostly seen and not heard.

According to The Times, Markle gave a speech at the wedding reception. The bride wanted to take a moment to honor not only her new husband, but also his family.

Next: Even the timing of Markle and Harry’s wedding raised some royal eyebrows.

4. Marry in May, rue the day?

Hands hold invitations just printed at the workshop of Barnard and Westwood for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on March 22, 2018 in London, England. The couple will marry in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19.

The couple is bucking tradition by having their wedding in May. | Victoria Jones/WPA Pool/Getty Images

A lot of consideration goes into choosing a wedding day. For British royals, there’s always been a big tradition that’s kept them from choosing a certain month. At least, until now.

Queen Victoria believed that marrying in the month of May was unlucky. That superstition stuck, even after she passed away, and very few royals have dared test it.

Markle and Harry, however, apparently didn’t let concerns over bad luck sway them. They chose a May wedding, and the lavish event went off without a hitch.

Next: The month isn’t the only thing about Markle and Harry’s wedding day that shook up royal tradition.

5. Weekend warriors

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave Social Bite cafe in Rose Street

While many of us commoners typically attend weddings on the weekend, royalty does not. | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Markle and Harry didn’t just marry in a month that’s less-than-ideal for some royals. They also chosen a weekend wedding date, breaking yet another informal royal tradition.

Nearly all royal weddings in recent memory have taken place on a weekday. But Markle and Harry exchanged their vows on Saturday, May 19, 2018.

For British royal watchers, that came with a bit of bad news. Because, unlike other royal wedding days, Harry and Markle’s wasn’t marked by a bank holiday.

Next: Markle and Harry aren’t afraid to show the world how much they love each other.  

6. Public displays of tradition-breaking

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Attend The 'Endeavour Fund Awards' Ceremony

Harry and Meghan Markle have been known to hold hands in public. | Ben Stansall – WPA Pool/Getty Images

The British royal family is often in the public eye. And, as a unit, they’ve mostly tried to navigate their personal lives without causing too much commotion. That’s led to an informal tradition, wherein royal couples rarely show any affection for one another when out in public. It’s true of Prince William and Kate, who’ve never been photographed holding hands.

But it won’t be true of Markle and Harry. Since going public with their relationship in 2016, the couple hasn’t been shy about PDA. They’re frequently photographed holding hands, an act that is generally frowned upon during royal engagements. But some argue that it makes the couple seem more relatable to modern fans.

Next: The royal family and politics don’t mesh well — at least not until Markle came along.

7. Markle won’t keep quiet

Meghan Markle is wearing a purple shirt and talking at a podium.

Meghan Markle is an outspoken activist, and that likely won’t change when she becomes royalty. | Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Kate Middleton ruffled some feathers when she opted out of wearing all black to honor the Time’s Up movement, at the 2018 BAFTA Awards. But many chalked it up to the long legacy of the royal family remaining largely silent about controversial political matters.

Fans of the royal family probably shouldn’t expect Markle to take a similarly neutral tone, though. Her passion for politics is one of the qualities that Harry loves most about her. She’s a longtime women’s rights activist. She’s already stirred up controversy for discussing the #MeToo movement at a royal forum.

And we shouldn’t expect her to put a lid on her political passion now that she has walked down the aisle.

Next: They won’t let years of tradition get in the way of their festivities.

8. Merry Christmas to all

Left to right: Kate Middleton, Prince William, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry on Christmas Day 2017.

Meghan Markle spending Christmas with Kate Middleton, Prince William, and Prince Harry. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Many of the most storied and time-honored royal traditions are set around the holidays. And while the queen and her kin have always shared parts of their festivities with fans around the world, there are some events they keep to themselves.

But some traditions remain strictly for the family, so much so that even fiancés have been forbidden to attend. That changed in 2017, when Harry asked the Queen to make an exception for Markle.

And it appears that she was in the Christmas spirit, because his then bride-to-be was included in the family’s Christmas morning breakfast.

Next: Even Markle’s style has set her apart from royal tradition.

9. A hair-raising break in tradition

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle’s casual look here isn’t exactly royalty-approved. | Ben Birchall/AFP/Getty Images

Royal protocol doesn’t just extend to how members of the family behave. It also dictates how they look when they step out to greet the public.

But, it seems, Markle may not have much time to follow royal rules where her style is concerned. The actress-activist has been known to throw her hair up in a messy bun, despite the fact that such a casual hairstyle is frowned upon in royal circles.

Next: Hair isn’t the only way Markle’s making her own royal fashion statement.

10. A nude awakening

Meghan Markle without pantyhose

While her ring stole the spotlight, something else was noticeably absent on Meghan Markle’s body at her engagement announcement. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

By most accounts, the queen was happy to welcome Markle into the royal family. But there’s one issue they may never see eye-to-eye on. One of the monarch’s strictest fashion rules dictates that royal women wear nude stockings. But, when Markle stepped out to announce her engagement with Harry, she was apparently not wearing any stockings at all.

Maybe Markle is anti-pantyhose. Or maybe she’s just keen on staying true to her own style, even in the biggest moments of her life.

Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.

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