Royal rumble: the six major changes facing ‘unsettled’ Meghan as a monarchical wife
With Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's wedding less than 90 days away, a few jitters are normal for any bride-to-be. But it's been reported Meghan is unsettled, unsure of her duties and more than a little anxious about what she's taken on. So much so, that both Kate and Camilla have been taking her under their wing for reassurance.
Princess Diana famously said "there's no manual" for being a royal wife, but with her diverse background and successful career, the future (probably) Duchess of Sussex has rather more to be nervous about than most people. Her life is, quite simply, about to radically 'change'. Here are the six Cs that will be different...
An actress is adept at changing roles and learning lines, so this training will stand Meghan in good stead as a senior member of the Royal Family whose script will be limited to, "Have you come far?" and "How long have you been waiting?" with sodden crowds stuck behind rope lines. It is a job in doing and saying nothing of consequence unless by pre-approved script. Easy peasy, right? It's harder than it looks, however. Meghan will have to suppress her normally overly-friendly shoot-from-the-hip nature.
So far, Meghan's choices have been gorgeous draped cashmere, cool layers of wool and silk, turtle necks and, horror, slacks. The queen prefers smarter choices from family members representing her, so bouclé jackets, fitted dresses (below the knee) and tailored suits will be the norm. With her slim figure and height, Meghan will still look fab, but will have to favour British labels and run a fine line between designer and high street. Royal ladies must wear tights with dresses, even in summer, and any nail polish apart from nude shades are forbidden. Kate and the Queen both use Essie's 'ballet slippers' shade. They may get a group discount now.
Meghan will have carefully chosen charities to work with. Diana would deliberately court controversy at times with landmines or Aids work, but Meghan will probably stick to the arts, children and animals, at least at the beginning. Not much is expected of her, except lending her name as patron and turning up at functions, however many royals do get hands-on such as Harry with his Invictus Games or Kate's children's hospices and mental health charities. Meghan can forget calling out Donald Trump as a "divisive misogynist" as she did in a 2016 interview or making strong statements on women's equality as she is prone to do. A cause can never become a cause célèbre in the Royal Family.
Some commentators have suggested Meghan's early walkabouts have been too 'huggy-wuggy'. She has displayed a habit of delving into crowds with a gushing, "Hi, I'm Meghan!" (as if there's some confusion over who they've been waiting hours to see). Diana started this trend, but a polite handshake is preferred. Kate and Camilla strategically hold bouquets or bags with one hand, proffering the other at a distance. Anne and the Queen wear white gloves. Selfies are not permitted with members of the Royal Family and Meghan seems to have got this message, already heard to refuse one on the grounds she wasn't "allowed".
Meghan is already 36, and the pitter-patter of tiny feet will be a preoccupation for the press (and her in-laws) from their honeymoon onwards. Without wishing to appear indelicate, Meghan will be expected to get on with it sooner rather than later. Harry has made no secret of desiring fatherhood - so no pressure, then. They will have the choice to style them 'prince' or 'princess' or not. Traditional English, rather than kooky-American, names will be expected, however. Princess Britney or Prince Brad will be frowned upon.
Meghan is open, warm and confident. These are fine characteristics... but in moderation. Royals don't gush, exclaim or assert themselves. They nod, smile and agree. They don't answer questions, they ask them. Meghan will have to practice to nail the art of charisma without controversy.