Meghan Markle is learning that there are both pros and cons of being part of the royal family. There are the obvious benefits that include living in amazing homes, traveling the world, a huge wardrobe, and access to gorgeous jewelry, but there are also drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is the fact that the world is watching your every move and critiquing everything about your life. Another, it turns out, is that you can’t keep most of the gifts you are given. That’s right. The new Duchess of Sussex will have to give most of her birthday presents back to the givers, just like she had to do with wedding gifts, because of something in the royal protocol that now guides every decision she makes. The Mirror quotes that protocol as saying this.
“The fundamental principle governing the acceptance of gifts by Members of The Royal Family is that no gifts, including hospitality or services, should be accepted which would, or might appear to, place the Member of The Royal Family under any obligation to the donor.”
The guidelines do, however, allow for considerations of the giver’s feelings and whether or not they would find the return of their gift offensive.
Meghan Markle And Prince Harry Went To A Wedding And You Know You Want To See The Pictures https://t.co/aw6y5nX5k3
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) August 5, 2018
Because the eyes of people everywhere are on Meghan for her fashion choices, it’s reasonable to expect that a designer or a store may have sent her a dress, handbag, or other fashion item. Or a skincare or cosmetic company may have sent her samples. If they did, Markle will likely have to return them unless the cost of doing so is determined to be too high, unless the gift is given as a souvenir associated with an official visit. She is also not allowed to keep monetary gifts unless she is accepting the money on behalf of a charity.
It’s also likely that individuals from anywhere in the world may have wanted to be part of her first birthday as a royal by sending her a gift. The rule regarding acceptance of such gifts is that they must be returned if there are any misgivings about the reason the gift was sent or about the person who sent it.
One exception to this rule is related to gifts given by public bodies like a government entity, charity, or trade association that is located in the United Kingdom. The duchess can keep these gifts.
Many gifts one would expect to be sent to a duchess as a birthday gift have a large price tag, but some do not. If a gift cost less than £150 (about $194), Markle can keep it. She is also allowed to keep flowers, food, and books sent by the author as long as the subject matter isn’t controversial.