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The One Thing Meghan Markle Will Miss Most When She Becomes a Royal

The former actress is adapting to life in the unrelenting spotlight

To hear the tabloids tell it, Meghan Markle is living a modern day fairytale. But the truth is, the 36 year-old biracial American actress is no Cinderella, even if she is marrying her prince.

"I've never wanted to be a lady who lunches—I've always wanted to be a woman who works," she once said.

And so she has. Having given up her career in Hollywood for a life of duty in another country to marry Prince Harry, Meghan will officially join "The Firm" in just over a week from now. But she has already proven to be one of its most valuable assets as the monarchy strives to prove its relevancy in the modern Internet age in its all-out, 24/7 PR campaign.

With her whirlwind "let's get acquainted" tour of the UK with her fiancé by her side, Meghan handled every meet and greet masterfully. Understandably a tad nervous at first, she proved to a quick study at the royal walkabout. She's always smiling, offering hugs to starstruck children, and graciously dodging the now-forbidden autograph requests.

While Meghan's acting skills and supreme comfort level with the limelight has proven to be an undeniable asset, the freedom she has always had as a globetrotting actress and humanitarian is already a thing of the past.

Her worldwide fame and emerging role as a cultural influencer that landed her on the Time 100 list comes at a high price—she can kiss her privacy goodbye.

Earlier this week, the royal bride to be stepped out of her home with Prince Harry on the grounds of Kensington Palace accompanied by her now ever-present bodyguard to attend a fitness class. She wore all black workout wear and a cap, her eyes hidden behind dark glasses. She wasn't officially on duty, but the press doesn't care. She, like Princess Diana before her, is news no matter what she does.

That is her new reality. And that's quite an adjustment.

"Meghan has always lived her own life and traveled at a moment's notice to take a last minute trip with friends or just go to the flower market to get her favorite lilies and peonies for her house," said a royal source. "She is getting used to having her own security follow her everywhere. She can't walk her dog alone. She knows it's what's necessary, but it's a big change."

Another source who has known Meghan since her days as a struggling actress says, "She wanted the fame and recognition that comes with being a successful actress. But this is a whole different level of worldwide attention. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for."

Ever since Harry admonished the press to back off of Meghan (pre-engagement), accusing some outlets of mean-spirited coverage, the British tabloids have been behaving themselves and the world's press is clearly enjoying a honeymoon period with the royal lovebirds. The wedding will be the zenith of that coverage and then, as the newlyweds settle into married life, everyone will be watching to see how the next chapter unfolds.

"Meghan is a very smart woman," said the source. "She knows how to play the game. If she gets frustrated about too many intrusions into her privacy, Harry will certainly be made to do something about it."

As they say in Hollywood, stay tuned. And for more up-to-the-minute coverage of the royal nuptials, here are 15 Signs Harry and Meghan Won't Have a Traditional Royal Marriage. 

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

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