With royal babies being born and bachelor princes finally tying the knot with lovely women, all the attention is on England these days, and it is a fascinating real-life drama to watch unfold. We’re literally witnessing history being made in a country known for its long line of dramatic kings and queens, princes and princesses, marriages and divorces, wars and times of peace. In a hundred years people will still be talking about the people and events that we are watching live right now. And if that isn’t an exciting thought, then what is?
Every girl grows up dreaming of being a princess in a castle and, despite the backlash against the princess culture in recent days, this is still a fond dream of many and will likely continue to be one for future generations. The closest we’ll ever come is watching Kate Middleton — and now Meghan Markle — join the ranks of the British royalty from their less glamorous status of hard-working middle-class women. But what exactly did they have to give up to achieve this fairytale ending and how do the perks measure up against their sacrifices? To simplify things, here is a list of ten things the leading ladies gave up and ten perks that come along with their shiny new titles.
20 Say So Long: The Fashion Industry
As many of us know, Kate Middleton went to school with Prince William and had a massive not so secret crush on him for years before finally tying the knot with her real-life prince in 2011. Now that she is a firm member of the royal family and mother of three mini royals, everyone knows that Kate’s job is Duchess of Cambridge and future queen of England. But in the in-between stage when she was newly graduated but unengaged to her prince, Kate had a budding career in the fashion industry and had potential to go far in it.
She bounced between her parents’ established company and a couple of other fashion companies, which included the retailer Jigsaw, before landing firmly back on her parents’ company and opening her own branch of the family tree.
According to Express, “She launched a junior firm to the firm called ‘First Birthdays’ and according to the Duke and Duchess’ website, her roles included catalog design and production, marketing and photography. She continued to work with her family until January 2011, just months before she married Prince William.” Being a member of the royal family is a full-time job and takes up a lot of Kate’s time and energy.
19 Princess Perks: The Private Security Team
Sure, being followed around all the time and constantly watched probably doesn’t sound super fun. But on the flip side, the people following Kate and Meghan around and constantly watching them are most likely their big beefy trusty bodyguards and various security teams. This fact probably gives them some relief in this hectic dangerous world we live in — especially for Kate with her three babies and the natural worries that being a mother comes with.
According to The Richest, “A security team is an obvious necessity for Meghan in the world we live in. Experts feel that the threat to her life and well-being will be increased after the wedding and that she could become the target of terrorists or other threats.” Likely this security team won’t be needed in any dangerous situations, but it’s always nice to know that they are there, lurking in the shadows waiting to defend their royal charges to the death.
But if anything does happen, both Kate and Meghan have undergone intense hostage situation training and preparation, so they know what to do if something like that ever happens. The British have protocols for every scenario imaginable and drill themselves regularly.
18 Say So Long: Private Life Is Publicly Documented
Okay so maybe not everything that happens in their private lives is public knowledge but if the newest royals step outside of the castle walls, it is all over the news in very detailed form from what they wore to what they actually did and if they sneezed while doing whatever it was that they did. Then once they’re safely back inside the castle, the news continues with speculations of what they will do next.
Kate, having been around William for years before getting engaged and having a nice head start as a royal, is likely more used to the constant media coverage that surrounds her life than Meghan is.
But Meghan is an actress, and they are known for frequently appearing in the tabloids and social media news outlets, so she likely has a good idea of what her new life will be like in that regard. As The Richest puts it, “Literally, everything single thing Kate Middleton does is news. If she attends an event, it is news, what she wore is news, who she spoke to is news. It is news that she breastfed her children. When she steps out of the house six weeks after giving birth, looking quite thin, that is news.”
17 Princess Perks: The Wardrobe Of Dreams
One of the undeniable perks of being a princess is the vast amount of closet space we imagine, filled to the brim with gorgeous outfits in every color, fabric and cut that we can dream up and then some. We picture twirling through the palace in a dizzying array of massively expensive and supremely beautiful gowns every day. And to some extent, this part of the dream is very much reality for Kate and Meghan. As Celebuzz puts it, “Kate will be able to borrow from Queen Elizabeth’s $39 million collections of accessories, not to mention she’s getting a dream wardrobe. Like Prince William’s mother Princess Diana, Kate will have a royal dresser who will plan all of her outfits.”
All those glittering jewels carefully polished and locked up safely away from public eyes are available for the new duchesses to borrow for special occasions. If they had any free time at all, we like to picture them exploring the vaults and gazing at all the wonderful shiny treasures encased within. On top of that, they each have a personal stylist who decides their wardrobes and puts their outfits together every day which must be nice, considering that they have to change their clothes several times a day.
16 Say So Long: Personal Privacy
Going hand-in-hand with the media coverage of their daily activities every time they leave home is the constant cameras following Kate and Meghan around. The paparazzi are an evolved species of photographer and specialize in getting the shots that no one else can get which often come at the expense of the victim in the photograph. As if the pressure to look good wasn’t high enough, these two leading ladies likely do a final once-over in the mirror before stepping outside.
This is just to make sure everything is in place, in case their photo appears in tomorrow’s paper and they need to, say, triple-check the mirror and look the best they can
According to The Richest, “Can you possibly imagine having your picture taken every single time you step out of your house? That’s exactly what happens to Kate Middleton. There are photos of her grocery shopping, eating at a restaurant, or getting coffee.” That doesn’t sound as fun as it could be. Just to survive, the ladies likely train themselves to expect cameras everywhere they go and then to studiously ignore them whenever they are spotted. After all, who has time to waste for posing?
15 Princess Perks: Assistants Galore
Another lovely perk to being a royal is the army of assistant available to help coordinate and arrange everything. According to Celebuzz, “Now, she has ladies waiting on her every whim! The princess gets a number of female assistants to assist her in her everyday life. These women can be chosen by Kate, Queen Elizabeth or her husband William.”
In addition to these ladies in waiting, there are also personal outfit stylists to help manage the massive wardrobes these leading ladies own, personal in-palace hair stylists to keep those locks in shape and in place for the various daily activities that require different hairstyles.
There are secretaries to plan vacations and business trips as well as manage the various royal duties and personal duties of being a duchess. And for Kate, there are nannies and private tutors for her children, so the majority of parenting is done for her, leaving her time to actually enjoy her children and not worry about cleaning the house or chasing after them to get dressed and eat their food. There is also an army of household assistants to keep the various royal residences clean and tidy. And we assume a private chef or two is in there somewhere, ready to make delicious snacks for everyone.
14 Say So Long: House Hunting
When most couples get married, they usually look for a house to buy or rent together. In the case of Kate Middleton and Prince William, they live in a country house in Norfolk and at Kensington Palace in London; both are official royal residences. This rule will apply to Harry and Meghan as well, though they did do a bit of house hunting before their marriage.
According to Harper’s Bazaar, “Of course, if Meghan bought a house in England, we’re sure Harry could stay there most of the time of his own volition, but an official house for the couple would require an association with the Queen, as per regulations.”
Harry is a prince and Meghan is now a duchess; both are considered high ranking titles and members of the royal family which require that they live in an official palace residence.
This translates to the fact that they can house hunt all they want but where they end up living will likely be decided by the Queen. Besides, as Harper’s Bazaar hints, “Though the news remains unconfirmed, the Queen ‘has a habit of giving property.’” They might just end up with a house as a wedding gift.
13 Princess Perks: All Expense Paid Trips
At least, the official trips are paid for. We can assume that they get deep discounts for their private trips since they are royal after all. But definitely firmed placed in the perks category is the various trips to other countries being fully paid for, including hotels and fun side things to do when there is a break in the busy schedule.
According to National Post, “Meghan Markle earned about $450,000 a year for her role on the TV series Suits and her hubby-to-be has a $13-million-and-change trust fund. Even so, she will no longer need to shell out for UberX or admission to the Ex or whatever else is on her agenda when she comes back to Canada. Instead, there’s a lot charged to taxpayers when the Royals make an official visit.”
And we all know that Prince William and Kate take ski trips to Switzerland fairly regularly, among other things. Blending business with personal interests like traveling definitely sounds like a dream come true for many people but it does get tiring after a while. Plus, they have to actually meet and talk to tons of important people which is exhausting for even the most outgoing extrovert.
12 Say So Long: Social Media Is A No-No
Some of the things we take for granted are privileges or off-limits to other people, including royal people. We’d think that they could get away with just about anything with their new family status but one thing that Kate and Meghan have to do without is the abundance of social media accounts we all use every day. They have no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat or anything else like that.
Even Meghan’s personal lifestyle blog was deleted prior to her recent marriage to Prince Harry, along with all her other personal social media sites she used to keep in touch with fans.
As The Richest puts it, “Even if she had a form of social media, she wouldn’t be able to use it like us normal people do, you know, sharing updates about life and staying in touch with friends. Nope, she’d have to carefully curate everything to be in line with how the royal family wants to be perceived. She could never be tagged in a photo where she looks a little bit tipsy or gets into a Twitter war with a Kardashian family member.” But they likely don’t miss social media as much as we think they do; they’re too busy for something like that.
11 Princess Perks: Command Of Military Units
So not quite a full-on army at their disposal, but Kate and Meghan do have the ability to command military units. According to National Post, “Members of the royal family are often given honorary command of Canadian military units. Prince Philip, for instance, was Honorary Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Cadets (including the Royal Canadian Air Cadets). At 95, however, he decided it was time to step back from some of his public roles—so he handed this one over to Kate Middleton.”
What girl doesn’t want to have command (even honorary command) of a nice military unit at their disposal? With daydreams of power comes great responsibility, so it is likely that we will never see Kate or Meghan ride gloriously into battle and conquer their foes before them by sheer dominance and force of will. But it is fun to imagine and definitely a nice little perk to being a member of one of the most powerful families in the world. It almost makes up for all the little important etiquette rules they have to follow that leave the rest of us scratching our heads in wonder, like never taking their coats off in public.
10 Say So Long: The Glitz And Glamour Of Showbiz
Just like Kate’s fashion career, Meghan’s acting career is now over. She may have made a name for herself in Hollywood with her successful appearance on the television show Suits but, like Grace Kelly before her, Meghan has opted for true love and left the screen to live a real-life fairy tale.
Hopefully, unlike Grace Kelly, this move will have a happier ending for Meghan, and she will find fulfillment in her new royal duties and charity work with her shining prince.
As News puts it, “Already, the newly-minted Duchess of Sussex’s bio has been added to the royal family’s official website — although, interestingly, it includes barely any mention of the TV show which made her famous... or any of her other acting credits. But burying her high-profile showbiz career is just one of the ways Meghan’s world has irreversibly changed.”
The British royalty has a lengthy history of holding the stage and actors at arm's’ length. Welcoming Meghan into their family and systematically erasing her acting career is a sideways step in the right direction in many ways. And it’s a good thing for Meghan that she already has an interest in humanitarian works as a backup “career.”
9 Princess Perks: Hobbies, Honey
Admittedly there will be precious little time for Kate and Meghan to spend on personal interests like hobbies, but if they do pick up a hobby, they will have the finest materials available to them to work with for their hobby. If they take up knitting, oodles of the finest quality of yarn will be available for purchase along with nice expensive needles and an enthusiastic audience as the projects developed and appeared to the public (likely put up for auctions to raise funds for charities).
Or if Meghan decides to take up cooking as a hobby (which she just might do), she’ll have quality pans, utensils, and ingredients available right at her fingertips and an enthusiastic husband to nibble everything she makes.
As The Richest puts it, “Meghan won’t be making a lot of her own meals, we figure. Between traveling, royal and public functions, and dinners with mom-in-law, it’s not like she’ll be slaving over a hot stove — or waiting impatiently beside her microwave, realistically speaking — every night after work like the rest of us.” With food largely covered, cooking would definitely become a viable hobby option for this self-titled foodie.
8 Say So Long: Princess Politics
Despite being ranking royalty, the members of the royal family can’t actually get involved with local politics. They can support their favorite charities and causes but they can’t vote for parliament or be vocal about campaigns and politicians. As Wales Online puts it, “Whilst the Queen has several formal roles when it comes to political events, all members of the Royal Family are not allowed to vote during elections. They are expected to remain neutral when it comes to political matters and can't speak publicly about such issues.”
This means that Meghan’s days of being outspoken against political issues or politicians are effectively over.
She and Kate have to remain polite and cooly neutral in these regards. It will take some practice and we’re sure that Meghan will mess up once or twice in her early days but pretty soon she’ll be a model royal and political issues will stay behind closed private doors. After all, they run the very strong chance of having to actually work with the politicians that get voted in by the general public, and they have considerable influence to sway the masses in favor of one or the other.
7 Princess Perks: Charity Work
Meghan is a humanitarian and very involved in some of her favorite charities. She and Harry asked for donations to be made to some of their favorite charities instead of wedding presents which is always a nice thought from the people who otherwise have everything. Now that she is a royal with an international platform, we can assume that this will broaden the amount of good that Meghan can try to achieve and enhance her influence to include many more charities that could benefit from the attention of such a high ranking person.
As The Richest put it, “Both of them save some of their time for charitable efforts, and in fact, in lieu of wedding presents from the public, the two have asked people to gift a list of charities that includes the Children's HIV Association, Crisis, an organization that works with homeless people in the UK, and Surfers Against Sewage.”
A shared interest in charity work is a nice hobby for a couple to have and Meghan will likely become a patron of at least one (if not more) particular charities once she settles into her new royal duties. This union spells a lot of good for future charity work.
6 Say So Long: Selfies And Autographs
Meghan Markle is an actress who is accustomed to posing for selfies with fans and signing lots of autographs. It comes with the territory of her former acting career, and she’s likely used to it by now. But now that she is a royal and officially married to Harry, she has to get used to a whole different role. That of a real-life duchess and real-life duchesses don’t pose for selfies or sign autographs.
According to Wales Online, “At the height of her acting stardom in Suits, Meghan Markle would have become accustomed to signing autographs for her adoring fans. However, now she's a member of the Royal Family she will not be allowed to sign her name for the fans because of safety concerns.”
And she can’t pose for selfies mainly because the Queen (who is the undisputed top dog in the British royal family) doesn’t like them.
She reportedly thinks they are tasteless and look odd. Due to the changing times, this ban on selfies will likely change once the throne passes down to Charles or William, but by then Meghan will have become used to not taking selfies and likely won’t resume the old habit.
5 Princess Perks: Famous Husbands
So not necessarily a perk but when the most eligible bachelors in the royal family after finally taken off the market in the early thirties after years of speculation over who they will marry and when we can assume that this has some social benefits. Prince Harry was a confirmed bachelor till he fell in love with Meghan and went on a whirlwind romance with her, finally concluding in an amazing wedding. And after years of waiting, Kate finally landed her true love William, much to fans’ delight everywhere.
At any rate, they have both managed to find true love which is what every woman dreams of and secretly longs for. It’s nice to that dreams do come true sometimes. As Glamour puts it, there are benefits and drawbacks to this fairy tale: “An engagement is a life-changing moment in a person's life, to be sure — but it's especially true for Meghan Markle. Life will never be the same for the Suits actress now that she's agreed to marry Prince Harry. In fact, the engaged couple must go through some major changes to prepare for their big day, and their life together after the wedding will be even more complicated.”
4 Say So Long: Colorful Nails
Nail polish is something many of us take for granted and even delight in. We pick and choose the pretty shiny colors and spend hours matching them up to our outfits and making sure they look absolutely stunning. Most of us have a collection of at least thirty bottles of different nail polish shades with at least six being varying versions of classic red.
But, despite the huge wardrobes available to them and having their own personal stylists, Kate and Meghan wear clear or nude shades of nail polish only.
According to News, “For public duties, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Queen are always pictured with au naturel nails, and there is a strict reason for this.
According to OK! Magazine, colored nail varnish and fake nails are not part of the royal etiquette, and are typically considered to be “vulgar”. On the rare occasion that their nails do have a slick of polish on them, they opt for a nude shade.” And who decided that colorful nails were “vulgar”? Why the Queen of course. Many little fashion notions for the royal family are decided by tradition and the Queen’s own personal tastes which are classic but old school in many ways.
3 Princess Perks: Royal Medical Care
One of the definite perks of being a royal family member is that they get top-notch medical care in case of emergencies, for regular check-ups and operations, and especially for pregnancy and childbirth. They tend to choose private hospitals which is perfectly understandable and likely a choice many of us would make ourselves if we could afford the luxury of a private hospital with a full staff of medical people on hand. As we all know, when we find a medical team or doctor that we like and trust, we stick with them.
As Vanity Fair confirmed, “There had been speculation that Kate might consider a home birth for her third child, but as Vanity Fair reported in March, opted to return to the Lindo Wing: ‘The room is all booked, the team are ready and everyone is just waiting for the baby to come,’ a source said at the time. ‘They have had two very positive experiences at the Lindo Wing, so it’s the No. 1 choice. She knows the team and she feels like she’s in very safe hands.’” For anyone who has had a baby, trusting our doctor is often the key to a great birth experience.
2 Say So Long: Anonymity
Finally, one last thing which Kate and Meghan have to give up to be royals is their anonymity. While it can be argued that Meghan already did that to a certain degree by being an actress, now she has been propelled onto the world stage in an international spotlight, and everyone knows her name.
Previously, only a comparatively few knew who she was; now the whole world knows.
She’ll readjust to the drastic change like Kate did (and Kate had a harder time of it since she didn’t start out as an actress), but she will never escape the public spotlight.
As The Richest puts it, “This last point is basically a summary of all the above points. Despite being a princess and seemingly having it all, Kate does not have the ability to lead a normal life. She will never experience life the same way most normal people do and that is actually really, really sad. While Kate Middleton has all the treats that come with being royalty, you know, like jewelry, privilege, castles, security, money, she doesn’t have the precious anonymity that we common folk have.” Their sense of normal has changed and will stay forever altered now that they are royal family members.
1 Princess Perks: Spoiled Pooches
Finally, one last perk of being a duchess is the ability to spoil the things and people most important to said duchess, and for Meghan, that means spoiling her two dogs. According to The Richest, “Her two dogs were rescue dogs. Bogart, who is a mix of Labrador and Shepherd, was older and it was felt that he wouldn’t be in good enough condition to make the big trip. She left him with local friends in Toronto. Guy, the lucky beagle, made the cut, and crossed the Atlantic with Meghan. He now makes his home in Nottingham Cottage, where we imagine he has his own retainers and lives a life that is better than ours, including eating only organic food.”
While it is terribly sad that she had to leave one precious pooch behind, at least she is comforted by the knowledge that he is in good hands and her younger dog is likely to be spoiled rotten in a matter of mere months or even weeks with the royal treatment. We can assume that he likely has a nice private vet on call for check-ups and any doggy related illnesses or concerns which Meghan might have for him. Humans aren’t the only ones with royal medical treatment in this case.
References: Express, Celebuzz, The Richest, Harper's Bazaar, Harper's Bazaar, News, Wales Online, The Richest, Celebuzz, National Post, Celebuzz, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Fortune, News, The Telegraph, Glamour, Vanity Fair, OK! Magazine