Mia Gardner | 15 Oct 2018
Thanks to Meghan’s former status as an actress in film and television, it stands to reason that this would appeal to her. But it wasn’t her dress or the function that she was attending that made headlines, it was the fact that she closed her own car door!
While the action had certain commentators praising her for being humble, there were others who, only half-jokingly, wondered whether she had put someone out of a job. William Hanson, an expert on etiquette, however, explained that although it was unusual, it was not a protocol breach. Usually members of staff open and close car doors for security reasons, not to observe some unwritten royal rule.
It cannot be denied that Meghan is a feminist, and the former advocate for the United Nations has done this sort of thing before, too. A week before her visit to the Royal Academy of Arts, she went to the launch of a charity cookbook which she wrote the forward for, Together: Our Community Cookbook, and closed her own car door again.
With this kind of reaction for just a possible breach of protocol, what kind of rules does the Duchess have to look forward to in her new life as a member of the royal family? For example, can she relax at the end of another long day and spend some time at an online casino? Queen Elizabeth II’s 12th great-granduncle, Henry VIII, the King of England, was well-known for his fondness for games of chance, but the current queen’s rulings on games of chance is unknown. There are certain strange strictures that we do know about, however.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, hinted that the Royals were not permitted to play Monopoly, the property trading game. He said that it was out of bounds at home thanks to how vicious it could get around the table at times. The game was thus banned, and no one dares even mention it, as it seems to have caused some major upset in recent years.
The world of royal etiquette is made up of many unwritten rules and vague customs that have simply become a matter of course. One of these rules is that, as a family, once the Queen has taken the last bite of her meal, no one else is allowed to keep eating. This rule made life very difficult for Queen Victoria’s guests, as she was famous for how quickly she ate, working through a 7-course meal in 30 minutes or less. She was, in fact, reprimanded for a tendency to gobble her food, and eat far too much of it, in her youth. The Royals hold knives in their right hands and forks in their left, with the tines facing downward. Instead of impaling food on the edge of the tines, they balance the bite on the back of their forks instead, and then bring it up to the mouth.
Being a royal is filled with a myriad of responsibilities, and observing endless etiquette is just one of them. Meghan has been transplanted in a completely alien world that has several rather old fashioned and some may say sexist rules, and despite having closed her own door recently; she seems to be coping admirably well. No other major faux pas have been reported, and we’re sure she won’t ask to play Monopoly next time she visits the queen!