Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's aides have reportedly given the couple's neighbors around their new Frogmore Cottage home a list of rules, including not speaking to the couple unless first spoken to, The Sun reports. However, the Palace says that the rules came from a staff member without the duke and duchess's knowledge or consent.
Frogmore Cottage isn't out in the middle of nowhere, like so many English castles and manor homes. It's in the middle of suburban London. What's more, the home is on the grounds of an estate, owned by the Windsor family, with multiple other homes, many of which are occupied by employees of the Royal Family or its agencies, or people connected to the family. Long story short: the couple is going to have neighbors nearby. Maybe not as close as they would if they lived in a flat in the heart of London, or a regular row house in the London suburbs, but neighbors nevertheless -- about 400 of them.
Now Meghan and Harry's aides have reportedly provided those neighbors with a list of rules they must obey.
For example, there's no talking to the couple unless they speak first, and even then, conversation must be limited to such mundane pleasantries as "Good morning." Asking to see Baby Archie is right out. And if the couple's dogs wander over, neighbors must not pet them.
The neighbors are a little perturbed about the whole thing. Most of them are employees of the Royal Family or one of its related agencies, and they're familiar with Royal protocol, so they don't need to be reminded of the rules. One neighbor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Meghan and Harry's demands for deference exceed what even the queen herself gets.
"We aren't told how to behave around the Queen like this. She's very happy for people to greet her," said the neighbor.Royal commentator Ingrid Seward notes that these rules are decidedly un-British. "It's a very normal British thing to say 'Good Morning' and pat a dog," she says.
Kensington Palace, however, says that Harry and Meghan weren't behind the rules, and blames a "well-intentioned" member of their staff.
Meanwhile, Seward notes that the list of rules for Harry and Meghan's neighbors comes at a time when the couple has made headlines in British newspapers for their demands for privacy. "It sounds as if Harry and Meghan's incessant demands for privacy means that palace officials are second-guessing what they might want," she says.