On Saturday, August 4th, the new Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, celebrated her 37th birthday. One would think that a member of the royal family would get, well, the royal treatment on their special day. But according to the “royal family guidelines,” per The Mirror, Markle won’t be able to keep most of her birthday gifts. Darn!
The U.K.’s Mirror reports that the royal family guidelines state, “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.”
This means any samples or gifts from U.K. businesses must be declined. The only exception is if these gifts are given as “a souvenir of an official visit,” The Mirror notes.
Gifts from fans and strangers are also supposed to be refused. Although, Markle and other royal family members are allowed to keep flowers and/or food, books presented by the author themselves, or gifts that cost less than £150 (or about $194).
And if someone is to send a member of the royal family money, keeping the sum for themselves is absolutely frowned upon. However, the money can be accepted on behalf of a charity.
But don’t worry — the duchess probably didn’t spend her birthday empty-handed. The Mirror added that members of the royal family are also allowed to keep gifts from U.K. public bodies, such as government organizations, trade associations, guilds, civic bodies, the armed services, and charities.
These rules apply to birthdays, christenings, and weddings. In fact, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had to refuse $9.3 million worth of wedding gifts after their May 19th nuptials. That’s a lot of bath towels and dinner plates.
Gifts aside, Markle seemingly enjoyed her day, which she spent alongside Harry at a family friend’s wedding. Now that we know the royal rules, we have to start planning Markle’s guideline-abiding gift for next year.