From mastering the dress code to her over-enthusiastic wave, etiquette expert William Hanson reveals what Meghan got right (and wrong) during her first public appearances with Prince Harry

  • William Hanson says Meghan should not cross legs, as she did at Invictus Games
  • She should also adopt the more restrained and less tiring 'Windsor wave'
  • But her outfit on Friday was 'on point' and she has learned selfies aren't allowed

Meghan Markle will officially become royal in May 2018, and with great power comes great responsibility to follow court protocol.?

But while Prince Harry's new fiancee has already mastered some of the rules, she still has some way to go in order to truly be a member of 'the firm'.

Her first official engagement on Friday saw her perfect the dress code, but she was seen striding out in front of her future husband - in a significant breach of royal protocol.?

It should be Harry who walks ahead, as a 'blood member' of the royal family, with Meghan walking a few steps behind.?

The Suits actress also needs to work on her royal wave, which is currently rather over-enthusiastic.

And after joining the royal family, Meghan will need to ditch her love of ripped jeans - as well as remembering to never cross her legs when in public...

Meghan Markle will officially become a member of the Royal Family in May, but she still has some way to go when it comes to court protocol?

Meghan Markle will officially become a member of the Royal Family in May, but she still has some way to go when it comes to court protocol?

Deportment and posture

Meghan has previously been seen crossing her legs in public, ankles splayed apart - such as when seated next to her now fiancé at the Invictus Games earlier this year.

Royalty should not cross their legs: something that the Duchess of Cambridge has mastered.?

Catherine is usually seen with her legs at one angle with a slight slant, keeping her knees and ankles together.?

The Queen and Duchess of Cornwall usually tuck one ankle behind the other, keeping their knees together when seated.

Walking

Meghan breached royal protocol by walking in front of Harry during her first official engagement on Friday?

Meghan breached royal protocol by walking in front of Harry during her first official engagement on Friday?

Although the Nottingham excursion last week was a big success, with Meghan handling excitable crowds with aplomb and ease, she did rather get ahead of herself. Literally.

Once she marries into the Royal Family she will need to remember it is her future husband who walks ahead. Non-blood royalty should always be one or two steps (or more) behind blood royalty when on official engagements.?

Dress codes

The pre-(second)-marriage Meghan will need to tweak her royal wardrobe.?

Although her outfit choice during Friday’s walkabout in Nottingham was on point, her penchant for ripped and distressed jeans will need to be abandoned… unless she wishes to distress the royal household.

However, the Suits star appears to already be mastering the dress code, William Hanson says

However, the Suits star appears to already be mastering the dress code, William Hanson says

Make like Meghan in a midi skirt by Joseph

Meghan Markle was a natural star as she met the crowds in Nottingham, England on her first official royal engagement. And she certainly looked the part! This ensemble ticked the royal boxes keeping things sophisticated, but we were loving her wintry look in a midi skirt and a cosy looking coat.

The skirt is by Joseph and we love the utilitarian vibe it exudes and how its volume and heavy cotton finish is the perfect fit for winter weather.

You can buy this skirt, so why not steal a slice of Meghan's style by clicking through to MyTheresa.com (right)?

Alternatively, choose a similar midi skirt for less below. Pair with boots to keep you warm and stylish this season.

* PRICES MAY NOT BE AS ADVERTISED

No selfies

Meghan will undoubtedly have given fans the chance for a quick selfie in her previous life, but thankfully she has already realised that royalty do not do selfies.?

She very politely rebuffed a few of the crowd who asked on Friday, stating the more recent addition to royal protocol.

Waving

Meghan needs to tweak her waving, too.

When she greeted press photographers on the day the engagement was announced Meghan’s wave was somewhat clam-like, with her fingers rapidly opening and closing against her palm.

William says Meghan needs to learn the more restrained 'Windsor wave', which is less tiring?

William says Meghan needs to learn the more restrained 'Windsor wave', which is less tiring?

She will need to learn the more restrained (and easier on the hand) ‘Windsor wave’, which is much more subtle and less tiring.?

Her arm should extend upwards at a right angle and the hand then moves from side to side in gentle right-left motions.?

How to greet The Queen

Meghan will probably have already learned that The Queen is addressed as ‘Your Majesty’ when you first see her and then, afterwards, as ‘Ma’am’.?

Etiquette expert William Hanson also offers his 'cheat sheet' for Meghan as she prepares to join the royal family?

Etiquette expert William Hanson also offers his 'cheat sheet' for Meghan as she prepares to join the royal family?

It’s entry-level stuff for any student of royal protocol to know that Ma’am should rhyme with jam not farm.

Prince Harry refers to his grandmother as ‘Granny’ but I would suggest to Meghan that she sticks to the more formal ‘Your Majesty’ and ‘Ma’am’. Familiarity does breed contempt, as they say.

As for all other members of the Royal Family, including the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are called ‘Your Royal Highness’ and then ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’ (to rhyme with jam), accordingly.

For older members of the family she will probably stick to protocol and call them Your Royal Highness, but for people such as William and Catherine, Beatrice and Eugenie, I suspect she will use their Christian names.

Currently, Meghan is an American citizen and so when she meets any member of the royal family she will not need to curtsey.?

When she becomes a UK citizen she will, however, need to start curtseying when she greets The Queen and other senior members of the royal family.

Harry refers to the Queen as 'Granny', but Meghan should stick to the more formal 'Your Majesty' and 'Ma'am'?

Harry refers to the Queen as 'Granny', but Meghan should stick to the more formal 'Your Majesty' and 'Ma'am'?

In essence, Meghan will only take her future husband’s position on the pecking order (formerly called ‘order of precedence’) when with him.

Although technically she would have to curtsey to Prince George and Princess Charlotte I suspect she won’t… not until they come of age, anyway.

To curtsey or not to curtsey

Just as when the now Duchess of Cambridge married Prince William, there is a protocol that Meghan will need to learn and remember when it comes to remembering who curtsies to whom once she marries Prince Harry.

When she is walking down a corridor at Kensington Palace on her own, she will need to curtsey to all ‘blood’ members of the Royal Family.?

The Duchess of Cambridge was seen curtseying to the Queen ahead of the Easter service

The Duchess of Cambridge was seen curtseying to the Queen ahead of the Easter service

When she is walking down a corridor at KP with Prince Harry (once married) she will only have to curtsey to more senior members of the British royal family. (In ascending order: New Royal baby, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Duchess of Cambridge, Duke of Cambridge, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince of Wales, Duke of Edinburgh, The Queen).

Dining etiquette rules

When dining with The Queen, either at state banquets or more intimate family meals, Meghan will need to remember that she should not start eating before Her Majesty.

She should also keep watching the speed of The Queen’s eating (usually very quick) as she should stop eating when The Queen stops eating… even if she still has food left on her plate.

No one should start eating before the Monarch and no one should carry on eating after the Monarch has finished.

The royal bride-to-be will be?dining with The Queen, either at state banquets or more intimate family meals. Pictured is the Duchess of Cambridge attending a banquet with the Chinese president and the Queen in 2015?

The royal bride-to-be will be?dining with The Queen, either at state banquets or more intimate family meals. Pictured is the Duchess of Cambridge attending a banquet with the Chinese president and the Queen in 2015?

Tiara time

Although royalty are associated with glittering tiaras and jewels, Meghan will not be able to be seen in a tiara until she marries Harry, as only married women wear tiaras.

It is ancient etiquette that the first time a woman wears a tiara is on her wedding day to symbolise the loss of innocence and crowning of love.

Women were not allowed to wear tiaras before they married and it was seen as very gauche for a women to go and buy her own - a woman was instead expected to have tiaras passed down to her by a relative.

Accordingly, the now Duchess of Cambridge was given a 1936 Cartier tiara by The Queen to wear for her wedding to Prince William in 2011 as the Middleton family did not have any tiaras in the family… and I suspect there’s a tiara shortage in LA, too, so a similar arrangement may be made.

Pronunciation

Although it won’t be royal protocol, I would advise Meghan to swat up on the correct British pronunciation of key venues and places.

For example, it is ‘Bucking-um’ Palace NOT ‘Bucking-HAM’ Palace. It she will be getting married in ‘SINT George’s Chapel’ not ‘SAINT George’s Chapel’.?

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