Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are engaged to be married, and have already become one of the most relatable royal couples to date. While the pair have stuck to plenty of traditions (for example, allowing Kensington Palace announce their engagement and doing a formal photo shoot), their relationship has also broken royal protocol plenty of times, such as:
She chatted about her love for Harry in a major magazine
In a move that is completely unprecedented for royals, Meghan covered Vanity Fair and spoke at length about her relationship with Harry—before they were engaged. “I can tell you that at the end of the day I think it’s really simple,” she said. “We’re two people who are really happy and in love. We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news. And I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people’s perception. Nothing about me changed. I’m still the same person that I am, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship.”
It’s not altogether foreign territory for a royal to agree to a magazine cover (the Duchess of Cambridge starred on the cover of British Vogue), but to open up about her private life with Harry pre-engagement and in such an official manner was unprecedented.
She and Harry wouldn’t stop holding hands at their first official engagement
As we know from William and Kate, holding hands in public is not allowed when you’re a royal:
But Prince Harry and Meghan Markle broke this unspoken rule during their joint appearance at Toronto’s Invictus Games, where they were spotted holding hands/being each other’s lobsters. FYI, the reason royals aren’t allowed to hold hands is because they are (per royal etiquette Myka Meier), “working representatives of British Monarchy.”
She’s been married before
Before dating Harry, Meghan was in a relationship with producer Trevor Engelson. They got divorced in August 2013, and now he’s making a show about a man who has to share custody of his child after his ex marries a British royal. Per Deadline, this is the questionable-sounding plot: “Divorce is hard. Sharing custody is harder. Sharing custody with the British Royal family when your wife marries a prince, in the unforgiving spotlight of London’s tabloid media, is next level.”
Marrying someone who’s been divorced is no longer a problem for the British monarchy, but it’s definitely unusual—lest you forget, Princess Margaret had to break off her relationship with Peter Townsend because he was divorced, and Edward VIII had to abdicate in order to marry Wallis Simpson.
She doesn’t belong to the Church of England
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Obviously, British royals are tolerant of all religions, but being a member of The Church of England is definitely the norm—and per People, “in order to remain in the line of succession, members of the royal family cannot be Catholic.” This won’t effect Meghan thanks to laws changing in 2013, which allow people in the line of succession to marry whoever they want regardless of religious affiliation. Even still, it should be noted that Meghan reportedly went to Catholic school.
She’s wearing an all-diamond ring
While diamonds certainly aren’t unusual when it comes to engagement rings, the royals tend to favour gem stones. Princess Diana’s ring (and now the Duchess of Cambridge’s) features a sapphire, as does the engagement ring of The Queen Mother, and that of Princess Anne. Meanwhile Sarah Ferguson was given a ruby ring, as was Princess Margaret.
She’s an actress and very much in the public eye
In case you hadn’t noticed, Meghan isn’t a royal. She’s an actress in the public eye, most famous for Suits. She also isn’t a member of an affluent British family like Kate is. Basically, she’s a completely normal woman, and in this way—more than anything else—she’s breaking the royal mould.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.