Are royals even allowed to receive gifts?

By Christopher Luu
Updated: Feb 21, 2019 @ 9:17 am

Here Meghan Markle goes again, breaking royal rules and looking amazing while she does it. Even though royal experts have previously expounded that Meghan's technically not allowed to have a baby shower, she went and had one anyway, hosted by her best pals Serena Williams and Amal Clooney.

Part of why royals don't have baby showers is that they don't actually need presents from their pals, since they're in a position to buy what they need themselves. While nobody knows for sure what happened at the party, there was a peek or two showing that there were gifts involved. (A member of Clooney's entourage was spotted with gift bags in tow.) According to Alexandra Messervy, founder and chief executive of The English Manner, everything — from the shower to the presents — is a-okay.

"Baby showers are an American trend, not usually done in the U.K., but gifts are the norm," Messervy said. "Sometimes, they may be baby-related and other times, friends and guests give something to the mother-to-be, such as aromatherapy oil for a bit of pampering or cashmere socks for being in labor and just being comfy!"

Meghan did face a bit of criticism when Vanity Fair reported that she was gifted a private flight to the States, which was estimated at a cool $100,000. However, Messervy explained that having a flight gifted is pretty normal for royals. Meghan's not the first to take a free flight and she probably won't be the last.

Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

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"No, not a problem at all," Messervy said of the gratis airfare. "The Royal Family have often been offered such things, the Prince and Princess of Wales took advantage of John Latsis's yacht and also the yacht owned by Donald Gosling Leander for instance. I believe the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the family have sailed on that."

British taxpayers don't have to sweat the details, either. Unlike Princess Eugenie's wedding, Brits aren't footing the bill. Instead, Meghan's friends chipped in for what reportedly amounted to a $200,000 soiree.

But the party wasn't the only gift. Social media posts showed that someone was getting Away luggage, but it was unclear of the rolling suitcases were for attendees or for the royal guest of honor. Messervy put any #sponcon rumors to rest, saying that Away's presence at the party may not have had any official connection to the Duchess of Sussex.

"It is not generally suggested that any specific brand recognition is given as that may be seen as rather pushy, although the Royal Warrant system allows for suppliers of goods for a certain length of time to be advertised in that way," Messervy said. "I do not know who Away are, but they may have given a gift to those attending and it may have nothing to do with her royal highness, who may also have received one, so not necessarily an endorsement!"

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Messervy went on to say that the royals are just normal people. They give gifts, they receive them, and in the end, it's not a big deal. Meghan might not be blasting her haul across social media, but she's allowed to take whatever her friends offer. There are no official rules about giving or gifting, so Meghan can carry on.

"Generally, these things are kept a closely guarded secret because of favoritism and values," Messervy said of royal presents and gifts. "But they are regular people, albeit royals, and they give gifts to family, friends, godchildren, etc.!"

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