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The One Rule Meghan Markle Broke That Could Upset the Queen

"Meghan's behavior in recent weeks has raised concern in the Palace," an insider said.

Long before Meghan Markle became a member of the British royal family, there has been one guiding principle that Queen Elizabeth II has followed throughout her historic 67-year reign: "Never complain, never explain."

Despite the mountain of scandals that have plagued the House of Windsor in the past several decades—including the headline-making divorces of three of her four children (Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Charles' infamous and ill-fated marriage to Princess Diana)—the 93-year-old Queen has never once uttered a word in public about the treatment any royal has received in the press.

But the Duchess of Sussex seemed to break the all-important rule last Sunday, when she and Prince Harry attended the European premiere of Disney's The Lion King where they chatted with Pharrell Williams on the red carpet. The singer effusively praised the couple for their relationship, telling them their union was "significant for so many of us" before adding, "We cheer you guys on."

Meghan's response was caught on video where she seemingly referred to the recent criticism she's received in the British press saying, "Oh, thank you. They don't make it easy."

In the past few months, Meghan has come under fire in the media for the tradition-bending secrecy surrounding the birth and christening of her first child, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. Meghan and Harry disappointed hundreds of royal watchers who had gathered in Windsor when they decided they would not allow the public to witness the customary arrival at church for Archie's baptism and when they withheld the names of his godparents. Instead, the couple released two photographs on their Instagram @SussexRoyal after the event with no details about the ceremony.


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This morning, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was christened in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle at an intimate service officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are so happy to share the joy of this day with members of the public who have been incredibly supportive since the birth of their son. They thank you for your kindness in welcoming their first born and celebrating this special moment. Their Royal Highnesses feel fortunate to have enjoyed this day with family and the godparents of Archie. Their son, Archie, was baptised wearing the handmade replica of the royal christening gown which has been worn by royal infants for the last 11 years. The original Royal Christening Robe, made of fine Honiton lace lined with white satin, was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1841 and first worn by her eldest daughter. It was subsequently worn for generations of Royal christenings, including The Queen, her children and her grandchildren until 2004, when The Queen commissioned this handmade replica, in order for the fragile historic outfit to be preserved, and for the tradition to continue. Photo credit: Chris Allerton ©️SussexRoyal

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on Jul 6, 2019 at 8:14am PDT

Then, within the past week, Meghan was at the center of plenty of drama surrounding her visit to Wimbledon with college friends Lindsay Roth and Genevieve Hillis. The Duchess was taken to task for dressing too casually—she wore jeans and a white blazer with her favorite Madewell fedora—as well as for sitting apart from the crowds in a large section of the stadium that had been cleared just for her visit. To top it all off, BBC reporter Sally Jones told TMZ that while she was trying to take a photograph of Serena Williams on the court, she was asked by one of Meghan's bodyguards not take photographs of the Duchess because she was at the match "in a private capacity."

"Meghan's behavior in recent weeks has raised concern in the Palace," one royal insider told me. "The Queen likely thought the Duchess had settled into royal life because she did so beautifully in those first months after the wedding, but she has reason for concern given the events of these recent weeks."

It's been far from smooth sailing for the Duchess adjusting to royal life. "Meghan has struggled with the intensity of the spotlight," a source close to the royal household told People. "Although she is a former actress, this is on a different level."

"Her Majesty has been very impressed with the Duchess's work ethic and Prince Charles adores her. But there is a line that one does not cross," my source told me. "Everyone in the family, regardless of what may be happening in their private life, puts on a good face when meeting the public. Certainly, no one ever complains in a casual conversation about the media."

The insider also told me there is something else that is sure to set off alarms in the Palace. "They don't want another Princess Diana-like situation where there's a perception that Meghan is on the verge of breaking down," said the source. "If the Duchess consistently behaves in a way that overshadows the family, that's going to become a serious problem." And for more on the Duchess' post-baby life, check out 8 Things Meghan Markle Will Definitely Do on Her Maternity Leave.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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