Here's how to handle the firm, Meghan: From flirty Philip to gossipy Camilla, QUENTIN LETTS reveals what courtiers won't tell Ms Markle about her new relatives
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement on Monday
- The happy couple also revealed that they will be married in Windsor next May
- Here, the Mail offers the bride-to-be a cut-out guide to her new royal in-laws?
Getting to know them will take time and patience.?
Ever keen to help, the Mail offers the new royal bride-to-be a cut-out-and-keep guide to the in-laws. Meghan, meet The Firm!?
Ever keen to help, QUENTIN LETTS and the Mail offer bride-to-be Meghan Markle a cut-out-and-keep guide to her new royal in-laws before she walks down the aisle with Prince Harry
How to spot him: He'll be the centre of attention, cracking risque jokes. Don't be fooled by the watery eyes. They can still twinkle. One of the great Adonises of the Forties and Fifties, the Duke of Edinburgh is actually more Greek than Scottish, despite his moniker.
Likes: carriage driving and battleships. Less keen on: wet sons and ineffectual politicians.
How to greet him: Shake his hand and call him 'Your Royal Highness' or 'Sir' until he says: 'It's Pa to you'.
What to say: Flirt with him, and remember that he hates small-talk with a loathing. It is sheer frustration with boring convention and overbearing officialdom that brings out his politically incorrect streak. If he makes some gag about your forebears having been Red Indians, it's a sign he approves of you.
What not to say: 'Oh my Gaad, so how old are you?'
The Queen And Prince Philip Arriving For The Chogm (commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting) Opening Ceremony At The International Convention Centre, Durban, South Africa on November 12
How to spot her: Look for the corgis and listen for a blast of bagpipes played by her loyal piper. She's not as stuffy as you'd think — 'The Boss' frowns at extravagance and dislikes having to switch on the second bar of her electric fire before at least mid-December, so try not to shiver.
How to greet her: Curtsey and call her 'Your Majesty' or 'Ma'am' until directed otherwise. Her husband calls her 'Cabbage'.
What to say: Talk about horses, tartans and the merits of a strong gin and Dubonnet (she loves them).
What not to say: 'So how long before I can move into Buckingham Palace?'
How to spot him: He's the now rather red-faced chap talking to plants in his Highgrove garden, or striding out across the Scottish moors with a shepherd's crook and an air of poetic destiny.
Unlike his thrifty mother, the Queen, Charles is not one to watch the pennies — he has around 150 staff, including three chauffeurs, four chefs, valets, gardeners and stable staff.
How to greet him: A quick drop of the head and 'Your Royal Highness', although all his chums call him 'Sir'. Known as the Prince of Wales, but he spends little time in the principality.
What to say: 'Oh don't you think Harry Secombe was just a riot.' You see, an unpredictable, sometimes anguished soul, Charles has a weird British sense of humour centred on a Fifties radio comedy programme called The Goons (starring Secombe among others), and he may still start doing funny voices from that programme. Try to laugh in the right places.
It is unlikely he will ever have seen any of your television work. Otherwise try him on Palladian architecture, Greek monasteries and government policy — he sends endless letters in spidery writing to ministers. Oh, and you might find common Green ground — he's big on climate change and organic oatcakes.
What not to say: 'You know, I idolised Diana — she was so much more glamorous than Camilla.'
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall present the winning syndicate of Fortunate George after the horse won the Waitrose Handicap Steeple chase at Ascot Racourse on November 24
THE DUCHESS OF CORNWALL?
How to spot her: She'll be the one in the thick of the crowd, identified by a ginny laugh — and casting an envious glance at smokers outside the room (she gave up a few years ago but still hankers after a ciggy).?
She is particularly good value when the drinks trolley appears and loves a good gossip. Stirs herself into royal duty with aplomb nowadays, though was once named by a member of her own family as 'the laziest woman to have been born in England in the 20th century'.?
Could be a useful ally, not least because she knows how to keep Charles sweet. She's known him, as she would say, for yonks. Yes, yonks. Not yanks.
How to greet her: First a handshake, but soon it will be 'Mwah, Mwah!'.
What to say: 'Isn't this royal game a hoot? Don't you just love it?' — while kicking off your heels and settling into the sofa for a girly chat. Knows the decent shops in Tetbury, Cirencester, Malmesbury and who's divorced whom in the Cotswolds.
What not to say: Don't mention Diana — ever, especially to say 'she's with us today'.
How to spot him: Looking slightly pained and most likely wearing a cosy pullover. Your prospective brother-in-law will one day be King, and this looming duty seems to weigh heavily on his slender shoulders. He was probably happiest working as a search and rescue pilot in Anglesey (an island at the top left of Wales, which is attached to England). Wills may seem a little po-faced, but get him discodad-dancing on the ski slopes and you will see a different side to him. A devoted father to George and Charlotte, but he lives somewhat in the shadow of his strong-minded wife.
How to greet him: A kiss on each cheek should do it — but not on the top of his bald head.
What to say: 'Another helicopter pilot! You brothers are so brave and talented.'
What not to say: 'Wow, three kids — that'll be exhausting, won't it? I hope Kate doesn't look too shattered for my wedding.'
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, greets pupils while visiting Lauttasaari primary school in Helsinki, Finland on Tuesday. Right, the Duchess of Cambridge visits Robin Hood Primary School to celebrate their work with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Campaign for School Gardening in London on Mo nday
How to spot her: She's the one with all the children. Courtiers and those rotten, rotten journalists will try to create tension between you and pretty Kate, claiming you will be rivals in the fashion stakes. Tsk!?
How could anyone suspect lovely Kate of being competitive? Don't try to match her for total perfection in all things.
One, it will send you mad. Two, the British people would like a princess with a slightly more earthy approach to life.
If you happen to run into her parents, you'll find they are stalwart members of the provincial bourgeoisie. But they may try to turn you into a doll for sale through their Party Pieces company.
How to greet her: You should probably curtsey if William is present, but she'll only think you're being ironic and resent you for it.
What to say: 'I can't wait to meet your mum — she was an air hostess just like mine.'
What not to say: 'People in trade are just so tacky, aren't they?'
How to spot her: You'll find her mucking out the stables in a quilted Barbour jacket covered in horsehair. Or on one of her 500-plus official engagements as the hardest-working royal. You may need to watch this one, Meghan. She can be brittle and short-tempered. Quite blokeish, though she was a pretty red-blooded blue-blood in her day.
How to greet her: Handshake. Crrrrunch.
What to say: 'Which horse do you fancy for the Badminton Trials this year?'
Prince Philip once said of Anne: 'If it doesn't fart or eat hay, she isn't interested.'
She'll shoot you a suspicious eyebrow if there's too much of a California-Valley-girl uplift at the end of your sentences, and will yawn loudly if you talk about therapists and detox clinics. Happiest talking about horse blankets and how to repair Land Rovers with a hairpin. Fashion interest does not extend much beyond gumboots.
What not to say: 'I know a great hairdresser who could really do something a bit more, erm, modern with your look.'
Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall are pictured above at their Gloucestershire home, after they announced their engagement in 2010
Zara and Mike Tindall
How to spot them: The rowdy pair down the pub. Zara is the earthy, Olympic-medallist horse-riding daughter of Anne and her first husband, Mark 'Foggy' Phillips (so-called because he was considered 'wet and thick' — but he is no longer on the premises).
Mike used to play rugby for England which explains his battered schnozzle. Rugby is a bit like American football but without the helmets and timeouts.
How to greet them: High-fives and bear hugs. They call themselves Mr and Mrs Tindall, though they've pulled royal strings (and their sporting prowess) to rake in millions in sponsorship deals.
What to say: 'Is the sun over the yardarm? I'm gasping for a snort (N.B. Don't be alarmed, it's an innocent English expression for a drink).' These are two party animals. They love drinking games and practical jokes.
Mike ran up a ￡12,000 bar bill on his two-day stag-night in Miami and ended up wearing a waitress's tutu. They have a cheeky little daughter called Mia, are close to Harry and are the best of fun.
What not to say: 'If only you'd flogged your Land Rovers and yachtie jackets on Instagram you could have made even more loot!'
PRINCE EDWARD AND SOPHIE WESSEX?
How to spot them:?Sitting at the side of the room staring into space. Your fiance's Uncle Edward is the Earl of Wessex, even though Wessex is an Anglo-Saxon kingdom which no longer exists.?
Titles are confusing — get used to it. Edward likes to wear medals but do NOT ask about his military service or he might start blubbing. He dropped out of the Marines and it's a touchy subject.?
He later worked in the theatre and the film business, but not quite in your league. He might keep pestering you for Hollywood contacts.?
His son is Viscount Severn (with an 'r'), named after the longest river in the United Kingdom.
Edward's wife is Sophie, who is a Countess. More usefully, she is a clued-up former PR girl who understands modern life reasonably well and can be a decent laugh.?
The Boss and Philip like her, and her daughter Lady Louise is a sweetheart who has valiantly overcome problems with her eyesight.
How to greet them: A jolly-hockey-sticks handshake.
What to say: 'Sophie, I'd just love you to show me round the gym at Buck House.'
What not to say: 'So, Ed, how did you get your war medals?'
Prince Edward and Sophie Countess of Wessex are pictured above in October of this year
How to spot him: Randy Andy, as he used to be called, was a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War and is therefore one of the few royals, besides your Harry, actually to have earned his medals. He is now the Duke of York and likes to throw his weight about in the Household. One of life's 'do you know who I am?' brigade. Not the lightest of conversationalists.
V. keen on foreign trips, he is a useful authority on the best duty-free shops in the Middle East, and has encyclopaedic knowledge of Air Miles perks.
How to greet him: A firm Navy officers' mess handshake. Watch out for the double-cheek kiss in case his hand on your back slips down a little too far.
What to say: 'I'm planning to use your dear ex-wife [aka Fergie, see below] as a role model for how to behave when you're married to a prince.' If you get stuck next to him at dinner and are searching desperately for a topic, ask him about golf and sit back — he'll talk about it for the next half-hour.
What not to say: 'Are you still in touch with my fellow Yank, your old chum the billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein?'
Prince Andrew, Duke of York watches play on day one of the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy at the Prince's Golf Club in 2015. Right,?Sarah Ferguson attends?Day 4 at Royal Ascot earlier this year
How to spot her: Ginger. Loud. Shameless. Lock up the fishknives... Randy Andy's ex-wife Sarah 'Fergie' Ferguson is officially divorced from Andrew, but is still known as the Duchess of York, or sometimes (meanly) as the Duchess of Pork.
Poor Sarah has a running battle with her love handles — and the love handles usually win.
She and Andrew are still on friendly terms, despite her past record of having her toes sucked by an American boyfriend. When it comes to going-home times, Fergie may try to 'borrow' a few quid off you for a taxi.
How to greet her: Perhaps join her in leotards in a downward-facing dog yoga pose as she cleanses her toxic energy.
What to say: 'I've always loved redheads'; 'I hear you're a great author' (she's written children's books starring an excitable helicopter called Budgie); or 'I'd love to meet Andrew; could you fix it for cash?'
What not to say: 'How's your WeightWatchers profile now?'
Princess Eugenie (left) and Princess Beatrice meet patrons along the Mall at the Queen's 90th Birthday celebrations
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie
How to spot them: Look for the weird hats they'll be wearing. Daughters of Fergie and Andrew, these good-time girls are sweet-natured souls, if a bit lumpen-hoofed. They will pump you for fashion tips and, quite possibly, for any cast-offs from your wardrobe. Love holidays and gossiping about hot guys.
They're likely to get quite physical when you throw your bouquet on the big day. You'll also find them in the sponsors' tents at Ascot, Henley, Wimbledon etc.
How to greet them: With a screechy hug on the dance floor at Mahiki nightclub in London's Kensington — it's right next-door to your new cottage!
What to say: 'Money isn't everything.'
What not to say: 'Don't worry about me, the public will still love you.'
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent arriving royal enclosure at the first day of Royal Ascot in 2014
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent
How to spot them: Grandstanding at social occasions, but looking slightly lost — they live at Kensington Palace, but their rent shot up in 2010 after they'd been paying a peppercorn for decades.
Prince Michael is a gamey character who is grandson of King George V". He looks like a Russian Tsar and wears garish suits.
If he tries to interest you in investing money in one of his business ventures, run a mile. The poor old Michaels are desperately short of readies.
His wife, who is called Marie Christine rather than Michael, is of German stock. The Queen thinks her a hoot, though not necessarily in a good way.
Be kind to Marie Christine — too few of the family are, finding her haughty. But you might want to think twice before having her to stay.
How to greet them: Handshakes all round, though I'm sure Princess Pushy would appreciate a dip of the knees.
What to say: 'You look more royal than the Queen.'
What not to say: 'So... which one of you is it whose father was a member of the SS?'?
Most watched News videos
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle carry out first royal engagement together
- Newly engaged Harry and Meghan greet crowds in Nottingham
- Meghan politely picks up a glove and returns it to a crowd member
- Touching moment Prince Harry straightens young fan's hat
- Prince Harry asked how it feels to be with Meghan 'as a ginger'
- Meghan shows off her caring side as she meets shy boy
- William: 'Hopefully Harry will stay out my fridge now he's engaged'
- Meghan chats to a Suits fan about the show on first engagement
- Fan gives Meghan Markle a bag of Haribo on her first royal event
- Bosnian Croat wartime suspect drinks poison during sentencing
- Kate says she is passing on gardening passion to William and Charlotte
- Meghan stuns in roll neck and midi skirt on first royal engagement
The comments below have not been moderated.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
By posting your comment you agree to our house rules.