The Duchess of Sussex is 37 today. It’s her first birthday being celebrated as a member of the Royal Family.
Since becoming a Princess there have been some major lifestyle changes. She’s been attending royal engagements, become an even more relevant role model to women and young adults, and has now got to live by some strict guidelines.
For example, she won’t be able to post a birthday selfie on Instagram tomorrow, because she has had to come off all social media since marrying into the most popular Royal Family in the world.
Other royal rules the new princess is expected to follow mean that she must avoid certain foods - even on her birthday. It’s known that the Duchess eats a vegan diet during the weekdays and enjoys meats and fish on a weekend as part of her healthy balanced diet. But even though her birthday falls on a weekend, shellfish is forbidden. Royals are not allowed to eat shellfish when eating out as it poses a risk to food poisoning, which is not ideal when attending royal engagements and travelling overseas.
Eating cake before the Queen is also a no-no. So when she blows out her candles she won’t be able to have a slice of cake until the Queen gets a sweet tooth. And if a long day of birthday celebrations has tired out by 8pm, she will have to wait until the Queen goes to be before she hits the sack herself. This is because it is considered bad form to go to bed before the Queen.
Although royal family members are usually expected to accept gifts, no matter how weird and wonderful, there are some strict guidelines that they must follow. On her birthday the Duchess will most likely have to turn away some presents from businesses and royal fans “where there are concerns about the propriety or motives of the donor or the gift itself”. In fact, there’s a whole 7 pages of details on gift acceptance you might want to read in case you were planning on purchasing the princess a birthday present…
So what can she expect?
Members of the Royal Family generally spend their birthdays privately and surrounded by family.
For instance, the Duchess of Cambridge has traditionally spent her birthdays at her home with her family, or with friends in private eateries.
As the Queen celebrates two birthdays, the arrangements differ. Her majesty’s official birthday on the 21st April is usually spent privately with her family. There is a public celebration which takes place in June, known as the Trooping the Colour ceremony, which is performed by regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies. It is heavily covered by the media.
So you’d probably expect that it would be a private gathering of close friends and family to mark the day. But the newly-weds will actually be attending a close friend of Prince Harry’s wedding this weekend, meaning they will be enjoying the beautiful scenes of Surrey, where it is being held.
One thing she can do which is different to last year, is wear a correctly-angled tiara. As only married women in the Royal Family are permitted to wear tiaras, this means that this year Mrs Markle can take advantage of one of the perks of being a royal and be a true birthday princess, now she is allowed to wear a stunning set of sparkles on her head.
Not only is it a special day for the Duchess of Sussex, celebrating her first birthday as a royal, the 4th of August has a lot of meaning for the Queen too. Meghan Markle shares her birthday with the late Queen mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon who passed away in 2002.
So it’s to be a special weekend of celebrations and remembrance for the Royals.
Happy birthday, Meghan!
by Katie Haseldine