Not in Genovia anymore! When Meghan Markle joined the royal family, she quickly realized that learning protocol wasn’t like the movies — specifically one that’s still beloved by audiences around the world.
“Joining this family, I knew that there was a protocol for how things were done,” the former actress, 41, said during the third episode of Harry & Meghan, which debuted on Thursday, December 8. “Do you remember that old movie The Princess Diaries with Anne Hathaway? There’s no class [where] some person goes, ‘Sit like this, cross your legs like this, use this fork, don’t do this, curtsy then, wear this kind of hat.'”
The Suits alum added: “It doesn’t happen. So, I needed to learn a lot, including the national anthem. … It was baptism by fire.”
The Princess Diaries, which hit theaters in July 2001, followed Mia Thermopolis (Hathaway), a teenager who finds out that she’s actually the heir to the throne of the fictional country Genovia. In one memorable scene, her grandmother, Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews), instructed her on the correct ways to wave at crowds, cross her legs and walk in public.
Earlier this year, Meghan said her transition to royal life might have been easier if she’d been given similar instruction. “That would’ve been really helpful,” the Archewell cofounder told The Cut in August. “That would’ve been a very key tutorial to have had in advance of all this.”
When the article’s author cited the movie The Prince & Me as an example of another movie featuring an etiquette instruction scene, Meghan said she hadn’t seen it. The 2004 film starred Julia Stiles as an American woman who falls in love with the crown prince of Denmark (Luke Mably).
Though the Duchess of Sussex said her protocol training was lacking, there was one aspect of royal life that she felt was too overproduced: her 2017 engagement interview with Prince Harry. “It was, you know, rehearsed,” she explained in the second episode of the couple’s docuseries. “We did the thing out with the press, then we went right inside, took the coat off and did the interview.”
The former blogger compared the process to an “orchestrated reality show,” where producers were prepping her on what to do and say. “[They said], ‘There’ll be a moment they want to see the ring, so show the ring,’” she recalled.
Harry, 38, added: “We’ve never been allowed to tell our story.”
The couple, who tied the knot in May 2018, announced their engagement six months before their wedding. Shortly after news broke of their betrothal, the duo participated in a photo call outside Kensington Palace to show off Meghan’s engagement ring.
“It happened a few weeks ago, earlier this month, here at our cottage,” the Duke of Sussex explained in the original November 2017 interview, adding that he incorporated diamonds that belonged to his late mother, Princess Diana, in the jewelry he used to propose.
The first three episodes of Harry & Meghan are now streaming on Netflix. The final three episodes premiere on Thursday, December 15.