On Nov. 27, the world woke up to the news that Prince Harry was engaged to American actress Meghan Markle, and just hours after the announcement was made, we got our first glimpse of the future duke and duchess when they appeared at Kensington Palace for a photo call.
The news came after much speculation had been made about a probable engagement when the two made their first public appearance together at the Invictus Games in Toronto in September, and just over a month later, when Markle, 36, was seen moving out of her Toronto home bound for London.
Markle got her first official introduction to royal life on Dec. 1 when she joined Harry, 33, in Nottingham, England, for World AIDS Day and was greeted by many well-wishers who came down to see the couple. Even though Markle performed effortlessly during the walkabout and engagements, there will be much stricter protocols that she must master before her wedding day.
When to curtsy and to whom?
Markle won't need to perform a big curtsy but a simple tucking one leg back, with a slight bend in the knee and nod of the head will need to be mastered.
The Royal Family rarely greets each other in such a formal manner outside official engagements, but Markle (and all members of the Royal Family) must greet the Queen this way no matter where they are.
As she is marrying Harry, who will be sixth-in-line to the throne after the Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to her third child in April, Markle will have to formally greet the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this way. Blood princesses Anne, Beatrice and Eugenie, are also included.
SAS anti-kidnap training
Every member of the Royal Family, public figures, and even some celebrities have undergone some form of kidnap training.
After Prince William and Kate Middleton's 2011 wedding, the duchess reportedly had to take a program taught by a SAS personal protection or MI5 officer, and it was described as "very tough, physically and mentally."
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According to Hello, the "VIP kidnap protection training teaches how to cope both mentally and physically. The mental element involves reacting to unusual situations, such as when there was a stranger in the Queen's bedroom — and she just started talking to him."
Markle will learn lessons from passing coded messages to driving in stressful situations.
Knowledge of the workings of the state
Not soon after their wedding, Markle and Harry will undertake their first Royal Tour. This will be the real test as the couple must represent the United Kingdom on wherever their travels take them. The Duchess of Cambridge was given one-on-one lessons to "ensure she has a thorough knowledge of the Establishment."
Markle too will be prepped in the workings of government, arts, and media all for her position as a working member of the Royal Family.
Always being "on"
The former "Suits" star is used to being in front of a camera, so being "on" when photographers and camera crews are around should not be an issue.
Nevertheless, she will be reminded that a simple frown, slumped shoulders, or a bored look can and will be picked up by the media in a flash and can quickly turn into unflattering attention.
Selecting her charities
Markle, who worked for the UN as a women's advocate and as an ambassador for World Vision Canada, will no longer be working with those groups. As a soon-to-be member of the Royal Family, Markle will have to carve out a path in which she supports causes that are close to her.
Already it has been announced that she will join The Royal Foundation — the organisation set up by Prince Harry, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge — as its fourth patron after she weds Harry. The royal trio mainly puts their energy into mental health, and it would be safe to assume Markle will find her own niche within this.
No selfies allowed
While this is certainly not a written rule, members of the Royal Family typically turn down selfie requests — the time it would take them to appease everyone just wouldn't fit into their schedule. (Although Prince Harry has been known to take a selfie or two with fans.)
This shouldn't be a problem for Markle though; she seemed to have the gentle decline down pat already on her walkabout in Nottingham when multiple well-wishers asked for a snap. According to Elaine Lui of Lainey Gossip, Markle simply said, "We're not allowed."
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