It's easy to look at the British royal family with a little bit of envy. The extravagant homes, the stunning gala dresses, and the adoration from royal fans can seem too good to be true on the surface. But despite what critics may say, there is more to it than that.
Meghan Markle's learning so firsthand. The American actress is set to join the royal family this May when she marries Prince Harry, but her fairytale wedding won't come without a price. Of course, there are plenty of perks as well. But being a royal comes with—lots of them. The fashion rules alone could fill a book.
Scroll through the six most major things Markle will have to give up when she walks down the aisle and says "I do."
Her acting career
Markle is an accomplished actress who worked her way up to stardom of her own. As a regular on Suits, her character Rachel Zane has been an anchor of the series, finishing off Markle's final season with—what do you know?—a grand wedding.
Even so, members of the royal family almost never have jobs outside of their philanthropic royal duties—and Markle is not an exception. USA Network announced that she is leaving Suits permanently after 7 years, and with no formal plans to act in any future projects, she has all but retired from her craft.
While this will allow her to focus more on philanthropic efforts more closely aligned with the royal family, it will likely prevent her from having time to take the act.
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With few exceptions, royal family members do not have personal social media accounts, and there's a good reason why. Markle voluntarily chose to delete her Instagram and previously ended her blog, The Tig, but had she kept them, they could have become an issue.
“With regards to the social media, it was causing, I think, a bit of apprehension back at Palace HQ. When you write a blog such as The Tig, you do end up giving quite a lot of yourself away. You do end up inviting the cameras into your private life," royal expert Katie Nicholl, author of Harry: Life, Loss, and Love, tells InStyle. "Things such as Meghan posting pictures of her dogs in her bedroom lying on her bed, showing off the inside of her house, showing off her shoe collection, showing off her jewelry collection—all of those things would be things that would just, I think, send alarm bells ringing at the Palace.”
The attention that royal family members get makes it nearly impossible to walk around in public unnoticed. Princess Diana had a habit of sneaking out of Kensington Palace in order to preserve some free time for herself, and despite not even being in the family yet, Markle's already starting to copy her.
"There are six exits and entrances," a source revealed earlier this year. "She's been able to get in and out when she needs to, and she's doing very well with managing to go incognito."
The idea of not being able to move freely in public might seem like a simple sacrifice, but once you become a public figure of that magnitude, it's not something you can ever really change.
Choosing what she wears every day
Fashion rules for royals are no joke. Avoiding black, sticking to bright colors, leaving pants by the wayside, and favoring specific designers over others (more royal fashion rules here) are all required.
Apparently, Markle hasn't come around to these guidelines. "I think Ms. Markle may tone down her heels a little bit when she does endless walkabouts!" The English Manner Chief Executive Alexandra Messervy tells InStyle.
Privacy—of her past and present
Nothing about the royals is off limits to the press, past or present. Personal reports of Markle's split from her first husband, Trevor Engelson, are in the spotlight. Home videos of Markle as an 8-year-old pretending to be a queen are surfacing. Her own extended family members are making TV appearances to discuss the wedding they aren't invited to.
Markle already had a public image as an actress, but the constant attention on royals in much more intense.
Freedom from comparison (to Kate Middleton, Princess Diana, etc.)
Before she was engaged to Prince Harry, nobody was comparing Markle to Princess Diana or Kate Middleton. But now that she's joining the family, paralleling them seems like a routine pastime.
Everything from the clothes they wear to their wedding cakes to the way they dress gets a side-by-side photo collage. Imagine being measured against your sister-in-law every day!